Team:Baltimore BioCrew/Public Engagement

Education and Engagement


Our lab thought it was important to understand what the community, specifically the youth, thought about our project and synthetic biology in general. We decided to focus on students’ insights because they were able to provide us with direct recommendations and concerns. That spoke to us without having a preliminary bias or knowing the nuances of synthetic biology. We concluded from our video and conversations, that the youth need more education on the developing and innovative world of synthetic biology. We found that students did not know what synthetic biology was, and most importantly they associated synthetic biology with something negative. It was refreshing to hear some students have positive opinions on our project, and encouraged our team to continue our work. In all, we noticed that every student felt that a solution to the major health issues that plague our city needed to be developed.

“Synthetic means fake… so fake biology?”
Trinitee Oliver

“I am pretty sure if the gun violence doesn’t kill you a preventable illness will”
Jacob Lamason

“I mean it would be nice if we could change that”
Jacob Lamason



Additionally, our lab had the opportunity to meet with Doctor with the “Stop the Bleed Campaign”. Doctor Scalea introduced us with this campaign that is trying to achieve many of the same goals as us. During our time together, our lab had the opportunity to be trained to address a real-life emergency trauma situation in the case of major bleeding out. Besides the amazing training, we also gained some useful insight into our project. Talking with Dr. Habeeba Park, our lab was able to discuss what would be included in our kits. She told us that it would be a great idea to include a tourniquet in our kit because it can be used to aid the clotting process. Also, we were in the process of deciding whether to use a gauze-like material to be embedded with venom or a gel foam. She told us that a gauze-like material would be better because our product could be used to pack the wound and it would be easier for a person to provide necessary pressure with gauze. We also wanted to know more about the finances of our product in terms of what price would be cost effective but also be financially accessible for everyone. We asked Dr. Park how much each of the kits — which include a tourniquet, gloves, and gauze — cost. She told us that it costs roughly $60 per kit. She added that the kits could be sold at a lower price with the same quality and we could develop a more economical and accessible product.

“The issue of gun violence within Baltimore is serious, and it needs to be fixed”

“The most important thing to do is save a life”

Habeeba Park, M.D.