March For Science in Munich
The March for Science is a demonstration taking place internationally since 2017. Together, scientists and interested laypeople are aiming at communicating the values that are the basis of a sound science. It takes place in over 600 cities with its main event in Washington, D.C.
We believe that the value of science for our society is still too frequently neglected. Independent of political orientation, we think it is important to campaign for strong and independent research. This motivated us to take part in the march as a group and show presence, as every additional person means more attention for this topic. It was not only fun taking part and meeting so many interested people, but it also reassured us that many believe in the positive effects science can have on society.
Since our project will only find its way to the public if the creativity and progressiveness of the idea finds acceptance, we felt directly concerned. We had a lot of fun thinking of good slogans and crafting them together.
The big surprise for us came the next day - CNN picked our signs as one of the wittiest around the world.
Open Day at Biology Center of LMU
The Open Day at the biology faculty is an annual event that provides the opportunity for everyone to get a look at what the biologically sciences have to offer.
There are interesting things to discover for school children, students and all interested citizens. Besides the program, the faculty displays different research activities of the biocenter and allowed the iGEM Munich team to take part as well.
We got in touch with interested students, scientists and pupils. It was a great experience of switching from explaining pipettes to DNA to details of our Phactory project. We did some pixel-pipetting-art with some very young natural talents and performed DNA extraction from the salvia. That even got some senior citizens excited.
At our booth we also got international support from Feodore, of the iGEM Team Washington. What better way to engage people of the public for science and attract iGEM Members for the future teams? [missing: gallery]
Introduction to new students at TUM and LMU
The interest in synthetic biology expressed by the general public is primarily driven by the outcome. Science students however are more enthusiastic about the mechanistic details and may even gather inspiration for their own projects. We raised awareness for the variety of impressive iGEM projects by presenting at the welcoming events of the new biology, biochemistry, biotechnology and chemistry students at both our host universities. Through adding information about the mechanistic details of Phactory, we created interest for cell-free expression systems. Hopefully we inspired some students to join next year’s iGEM team or apply the ideas presented at the Giant Jamboree into their future research projects.
The iGEM competition promotes strong values among teams. By the time we went to Marburg for the German Meetup, we had already decided on the outline of our project and were not really sure how to include achievements of other teams in Phactory - yet!
Through professional scientific lectures we got insight in research opportunities in synthetic biology. We really started to feel the spirit of community when we engaged in poster sessions with other teams. The exchange of ideas and experience in open discussions helped the development of all projects in an early stage of the iGEM cycle.
Not only did we start collaborations, but we also made friends and celebrated each other and our achievements as a community. Adding the final touch, we enjoyed BBQ followed by an iGEM-Party.
We’ll come back to Marburg for the After-iGEM Meetup in 2019!
Our personal highlight of the summer was the organization of the European Meetup. Find the European Meetup page here.
Synthetic Biology III conference
To learn about new discoveries in synthetic biology and exchange ideas with leading scientists in the field, we joined the Synthetic Biology III conference in Landshut. The pleasant atmosphere allowed us to gather relevant input regarding relevance and significance for our project design. We were glad to find out that former iGEM Teams (Goettingen 2017 and Munich 2017) had been invited to present their work and discuss the scientific impact it had. This again demonstrated the impact of iGEM in the field of synthetic biology.