Genetically Engineered Detection of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme Disease

The USAFA iGEM 2023 team is improving rapid, on-the-spot, detection technology for Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. The ultimate goal is to develop a Band-Aid-like biosensor patch that can be placed on a tick bite to indicate infection. The Lyme-AID biosensor will consist of a two-phase approach: Attract/Inhibit and Detect (AID). (1) Attract/Inhibit B. burgdorferi at the biosensor patch by limiting its diffusion into the new host through expression of Salp12, an Ioxodes scapularis salivary protein that acts as a chemoattractant for B. burgdorferi. (2) Detect B. burgdorferi through an aptamer-mediated biosensor designed to bind to outer surface proteins A and C, found on the surface of B. burgdorferi. Binding will lead to conformational changes in the aptamer/gold nanoparticle resulting in a visual color change caused by the dissociation of gold nanoparticles. This color change will indicate presence of the bacteria to the user.

Salp12 attracts and retains pathogens


Salp12 coating the patch attracts and retains pathogens to the initial site, inhibiting the spread of Borrelia burgdorferi.

Detection of B. burgdorferi


Our process for detection of Borrelia burgdorferi utilizes a visual color change through the use of aptamer-bound gold nanoparticles that dissociate in the presence of OspA and OspC found on the surface of the bacteria. Therefore, when our patch comes into contact with B. burgdorferi, it changes color to indicate presence of the bacteria.


Our Mission Statement:

The USAFA iGEM team is dedicated to advancing synthetic biology by providing new parts and tools for future iGEM teams. Our commitment to innovation, collaboration, and responsibility extends beyond the lab, shaping the future of synthetic biology across generations.


Explore why we chose to center our project on Lyme Disease and our solution!


Learn about who comprises our diverse and amazing team!

Engineering Success

Learn more about our genetic engineering process and implementation!


Learn about the people who made this project possible!


Explore the impact our team has made in the community!


Learn about how we managed risks and kept our project safe!

Human Practices

Learn about our approach to human practices and the integration of our project!


Learn about how our team educated the public on synthetic biology and Lyme Disease prevention!