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The Bacterium and the Blog – New Life on MATLAB Central

Posted by Ned Gulley,

Do you have aphid problems? Aphids are perfectly nice little insects with one unfortunate habit: they have a mighty appetite for the crops we grow. But how to get rid of them? Insecticides work, but they cause other problems. Better to use naturally occurring pheromones that can repel aphids. Now we have another problem. Where you do you get your naturally occurring anti-aphid pheromones? If you’re a student at KU Leuven in Belgium, you engineer a bacterium to make it for you. With the help of MATLAB, naturally. The KU Leuven team did this work as part of the annual iGEM competition, in which students try to solve real-world challenges by building genetically engineered biological systems.  Watch this video to meet some members of the team.

And if you want to make your own β-farnesene aphid alarm hormone, here you go. Should be everything you need. Don’t say I never put anything useful on this blog.

The real point I want to make here is that MathWorks supports student competitions. A lot of them. This page shows 37 different competitions that we sponsor and support in various ways… biology competitions, robot competitions, finance competitions. And one of the most active areas for student competitions is automotive engineering.

This brings me to Christoph.

Christoph Hahn just started a new blog called the Racing Lounge. Check it out! The blog is new, but Christoph has been supporting student automotive competitions (like Formula Student Germany) for a long time. He’s a wizard at creating automotive models with Simulink, Simscape, and other tools, and he’s also a wizard at explaining how you can do it too. I don’t know how much you’ve been paying attention to these competitions lately, but undergraduates are building projects that are astonishingly sophisticated. Christoph’s blog will give you a window into that world.


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