A Pakistani team of 12 undergraduate students on Tuesday won a bronze medal in the iGEM World Championship Jamboree held in Boston.

The team, consisting of five girls and seven boys was the first from Pakistan to attend the international genetically engineered machines competition, which started in MIT and has been taking place for 15 years.

The students from across the country gathered in Peshawar this summer to use the cutting-edge discipline of synthetic biology to solve one of the most pressing environmental challenges we face in Pakistan.

Over 300 teams participated in the competition this year, including teams from top education institutions such as Harvard and Oxford.

“We have been waiting for this moment to introduce synthetic biology in Pakistan and what better way then giving students the opportunity to do cutting edge biotechnology research,” said Dr. Faisal, principal investigator and team supervisor who is also the director of the Institute of Integrative Biosciences at CECOS University.

“We cannot be playing with ‘Windows95’ in an age of ‘Android’ and ‘iOS’ and we desperately needed this upgrade in life sciences in the country,” he added.

Last year 285 teams from across the globe participated in the flagship competition.