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Imagine a light bulb that uses no electricity and converts greenhouse gases into oxygen.
Researchers at UBCO call it the 'Life Bulb' and the world is taking notice.
Their bright idea has earned them a gold medal at the International Genetically engineered Machine Competition in Paris.
Students are working on genetically modified organism which combines fungal bioluminescence and photosynthetic bacteria.
Their hope is to create a sustainable alternative to LEDs that is not just carbon neutral, but carbon negative.
The Life Bulb project is a student-led initiative with participants with backgrounds in biology, chemistry, engineering, computer science and management.
Researcher Trevor Fox said the work could lead in all kinds of directions.
"We could make it brighter, we could change the colour, we could change the form it comes in, we could put it as infrastructure, we could use it as home decor," said Fox.
"There's lots of possibilities."
“These brilliant undergraduate students proved that when there is potential, passion, perseverance and teamwork, no goal is unachievable," said Dr. Mitra Tabatabaee, the Principal Investigator for Life Bulb.
“Our iGEM team raised its own funds, shaped its own international community and negotiated for lab space throughout the competition season."
Team co-lead Gustavo Muro Marchani said the group is passionate about where the research goes from here.
“Everything can be grown,” he said.
“That’s the new mindset with the wonder of synthetic biology. Instead of mining or getting it from different places that might harm the environment, you can grow it anywhere.”