Team:Lambert GA/Public Engagement



Georgia State Capitol | February 20, 2018

Summary Points
  • Spoke with Georiga Representative Todd Jones about iGEM and the importance of Synthetic Biology
  • Resolution announced on the floor of the Georgia State House of Representatives recognizing Lambert iGEM team

The Lambert iGEM team was formally recognized and congratulated by the House of Representatives of the state of Georgia during a general session on February 20, 2018. David Ralston, speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, introduced the team and commended them for their work last year at the iGEM Jamboree. The team was then presented with a certificate of achievement from the Georgia legislature.

iGEM members and alumni at the State Capitol

Dominican Republic Trip | March 30, - April 6, 2018

Summary Points
  • Would our project be relevant in real-life situations?
  • How can we improve our project to address critical needs in developing nations?
  • How dire is the water crisis?
  • Is there a detection mechanism already available? Is it specific? Is it inexpensive?
  • Impact of drinking water from contaminated sources.
  • Prevalence of Helminth infections and cholera cases.

Several Lambert iGEM alumni and current members traveled to the Dominican Republic, specifically the city of Hato Mayor, to work on a water filtration project.

We met with Dr. Rainyer from the Ministry of Health; Dr. Rainyer emphasized the lack of practical mechanisms available to detect waterborne diseases in contaminated water sources. According to Dr. Rainyer, there is no proactive treatment mechanism available for waterborne diseases in the city of Hato Mayor. After informing him about our project, Dr. Rainyer stated that having an efficient, inexpensive detection tool would be extremely useful for field testing.

A majority of the residents living in Hato Mayor did not have access to clean, drinking water and buying bottled water was a financial burden. While installing water filters, iGEM members had the opportunity to speak to the residents living in Hato Mayor. In the city, trash invaded the resident’s homes, gardens, and water sources.

We asked the residents how and where they retrieved their water. They said that the only way to get clean water was to drive down to the markets to buy bottled water; however, they emphasized how much of a financial burden this was. Since many of the residents did not have access to transportation, they would have to pay for the costly trip.

Megan Hong, Lambert iGEM member describes her experience: When we traveled to the village by Hato Mayor, we were instantly surprised by the amount of trash filling the streets, homes, and water sources. Without direct access to clean drinking water, the residents of the village had to travel about 20 miles out of their way to the city in order to obtain bottled water. We installed 12 water filters throughout the area, which would help to serve over 50 people. While we implemented these systems and taught the locals how to use and clean the filter, the residents talked about how much the clean water would impact their lives in a positive way.

Photo of Dominican Republic 1 Photo of Dominican Republic 2 Photo of Dominican Republic 3

Team members installed water filters and interacted with the community to gain a greater understanding of the severity of waterborne diseases.

Doll Kit | April 14, 2018

Summary Points
  • Exposure of young girls to science as a fun and accessible field
  • Improvement of communication skills through the explanation of complex concepts to younger children

Lambert iGEM recognizes the significance of disproportionate demographics in the biotechnology and the scientific community as a whole, especially with women. This problem is largely due to lack of exposure to STEM as young girls. Lambert iGEM discovered that most lab kits or chemistry sets for children were marketed towards boys rather than girls. As a result, the team created a doll kit specifically designed for elementary-aged girls to increase exposure and interest in biotechnology. These kits include basic laboratory materials such as pipettes and beakers as well as Lambert iGEM’s very own 3DFuge. This kit allows girls to explore biotechnology as fun and accessible rather than something strictly for boys, significantly increasing interest in the science field. Placing the possibility of a successful career as a scientist in the minds of young girls has immeasurable value to the confidence of the girls themselves as well as the scientific community as a whole.

The girl scouts played with mini science equipment such as colorful plates and were introduced to the idea that science is fun.

Summer Camp | July 18-20, 2018

Summary Points
  • Introduction of synthetic biology to interested science students
  • Expand knowledge of biotechnology in the community
  • Practice presentation skills with a patient and constructive audience

Information Data
  • Gathered survey data
  • How did Lambert iGEM address the survey data

Lambert iGEM created a 3 day camp for rising 8th and 9th graders from the local middle schools, where the team taught them about biotechnology. The team gave lectures over basic content in biology and labs based on biotechnology principles. The participants began the camp not knowing much about science, but by the end, they understood the importance of biotechnology and the different aspects in it. The Lambert iGEM team ran this camp to expand the knowledge of the students in our community about biotechnology in hope that they will consider it a career option.

Photo of Summer Camp 1 Photo of Summer Camp 2

Picture of the students at our summer camp and the activites they did.