Integrated Human Practices
Considering the fact that not every iGEM Team has the same laboratory and the same appliances, we wanted to find a way to detect desired proteins in a way that would be cost efficient, simple, and accessible to people all around the globe. What better way than to use a pregnancy test? Pregnancy tests are readily available all around the world at little to no cost, for some, and require no extra care. They are simple to use and depending on the brand and its sensitivity, they can detect minute amounts of hCG. Table 1 below shows how remarkably cheap it is to purchase a pregnancy test in different countries. Teams iGEM IIT Madras and iGEM DTU Denmark provided us with the cost of the pregnancy test in their countries.
Education and Public Engagement
Accessibility is a big part of our project, both in the lab and in our community. Our project aims to make protein detection more accessible worldwide, by providing an affordable, readily available detector system utilizing pregnancy test strips. In keeping with our theme of accessibility, we participated in multiple events in the Atlanta area, promoting science education and lab accessibility to all students.
First, we participated in Discovery Day at GSU and the Atlanta Science Festival. These two events are education focused and cater primarily to children, and our activities there reflected that. Our focus was to introduce children to science, showing them the techniques and equipment we use every day in an effort to get them excited about science.
The next part of our community outreach was STEM camp at iGEM. This STEM camp was catered to deaf and hard of hearing high school students from around the state of Georgia. Our team was determined to not only teach the students but also to learn about how to make our lab more inclusive.
Finally, we moved our educational outreach to a more general audience by participating in Dragon Con. This event gave us an opportunity to interact with people outside of the lab, and without a science background.
These opportunities all helped shape our communication and education abilities, giving us perspective on including everyone in our lab. Our most influential activity this summer was hosting the STEM camp. We gained valuable perspective on how to open our lab up to everyone, especially the deaf and hard of hearing students. We hope that our efforts, as well as the efforts of all iGEM teams, will help open labs up to everyone.