Degrading and Detecting PCBs with Synthetic Biology

Our Project

Our proposed solution uses synthetic biology to address PCB contamination. If a synthetic biology solution becomes available, other harmful solutions will not be employed, resulting in smaller nonprofits having open access to a secure technique to help underprivileged communities affected by PCB contamination. Clearly, out of all the possible solutions, synthetic biology is the safest as it involves neither the transportation nor the creation of toxic chemicals and, if administered properly, will not harm any ecosystems.

Due to the need for a sustainable, safe, and cheap solution for the detection and degradation of PCBs, our project is a relevant application of synthetic biology.

The two main goals of this project are:

  1. To develop a biological sensor to detect PCBs, and
  2. To degrade PCBs into less harmful chemicals.

We plan to achieve our goals by adding to the accomplishments of other projects by consolidating their best ideas and mechanisms into a functioning organism. As we pursue these goals, we understand that we may not be able to achieve them, but we hope that we can advance these goals further than previous groups have been able to.

Our Team

members of the East Coast BioCrew at a meetup at Genspace
The East Coast BioCrew at Genspace
The East Coast BioCrew at BUGSS wearing PCBuster t-shirts
The East Coast BioCrew at BUGSS

Our team is built by a collaboration between BUGSS and Genspace, two community labs based in Baltimore, Maryland and New York City. There are thirty-four members on our highschool team, all passionate about helping the world with synthetic biology.

Watch Our Video


Many thanks to the Baltimore Underground Science Space (https://bugssonline.org/) community and supporters and the Genspace (https://www.genspace.org) community and supporters. We also thank our corporate sponsors.

Emergent Biosolutions logo
Genesee Scientific logo
Integrated DNA Technologies logo