Alumni Services

Edinburgh Overgraduate iGEM team seeking insights

Are you interested in producing sustainable textiles as a step towards a circular economy or breaking down toxic dye waste?

A message from the University of Edinburgh Overgraduate iGEM team:

About iGEM

The iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition) is a global competition which allows students to push the boundaries of synthetic biology by tackling everyday issues facing the world.

iGEM website

Our team

Colourful bundles of thread
Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans on Unsplash

Our team is focusing our efforts on improving dye-degrading enzymes to remediate azo dyes. Several industries, particularly fast fashion companies, rely heavily on the use of dyes. These dyes produce brilliant colours, but some are very hazardous to health and the environment. According to UNESCO, 70% of the water in major textile producing regions has been polluted by toxic dyes. For this reason, we have chosen to focus on azo dyes, the most common pollutant. We are working on a number of improvements to the currently available ways of breaking down toxic dye waste, and as well, in producing sustainable textiles as a step towards a circular economy.

Our project is focused on four key areas:

  • Directed evolution of laccase enzymes for greater biodegradation efficiency
  • Efficient sensing of dye-contaminated waste using biosensors
  • Immobilisation of enzymes for dye waste treatment on biochar
  • The production of valuable products from dye waste (i.e. silk) to promote a circular economy

Edinburgh team page on the iGEM website

Can you share your insight?

Our team is very committed to engage with stakeholders who can provide insight into how our work can be successfully integrated to solve azo dye pollution.

These stakeholders include:

  • those impacted by our project
  • academics¬†
  • industry workers who can provide any valuable insight.

We aspire to integrate input from a wide range of perspectives. We believe that doing so will give us information to improve our solution and understand the problem we are facing with dye pollution.

Stakeholders can be from anywhere, locally and globally, from any field. Feedback would include suggestions on potential improvements or how the project would be seen by the public.

If you, or someone you know would be willing to help please contact us at


Thank you for your time,

The University of Edinburgh Overgraduate iGEM team