Integrated Human Practices
Help High School IGEM Team

In order to better understand the problems faced by the high school iGEM team and to verify the feasibility of our high school iGEM guide (You can find it on our Human Practices - Silver page), we have maintained close contact with the two high school iGEM teams (GDSYZX & GZHS-United).

Offer Basic Experimental Training Courses
  • Considering that the iGEM teams in high school has little experimental basis, it is very difficult to participate in an academic competition such as iGEM. We offered a two-day basic experimental skills training course for the 2018 high school iGEM team GDSYZX to help them better complete wet experiment tasks in the competition.

This course includes:

1.Explain basic synthetic biology concepts

2.Teaching basic molecular experiment skills

·Explain the principle of experiment

·Experimental operation guidance and practice

·Extracting red fluorescent protein particles

·Prepare agarose gel & agarose gel electrophoresis

·Heat-shock transform

·Flat line

·Result observation and analysis

3.Exchange experience of project and team building

In addition to conducting basic experimental training, we closely follow up the progress of the follow-up experiments of the two teams’ projects(GDSYZX & GZHS-United),held a project meeting to share the progress of our project. We put forward some follow-up suggestions for GZHS-United.

(We also offer a similar course for Guangdong Country Garden School, prompting an iGEM team. Detailed information are avaliable at Public Engagement & Education page)

Help High School Team Complete Interlab

We learned that the high school team GZHS-United encountered equipment and laboratory problems when completing the interlab task. Thus, we offer aid as much as we can to help them with these problems

These help include:

·Lending out our lab and some equipment to them(such as a microplate reader)

·Teached some related operations and methods of using the equipment

·Help GZHS-United with analyzing their data

Offer Art Design Courses
  • We started a seven-day art design course to help GDSYZX & GZHS-United teams better complete their wiki, poster, banner, logo, team flag, team uniform and other aspects of design work. In this course, we explained the iGEM official requirements, and taught taughtthem use the design software, and duideed the two high school teams to make their prototypes of posters, logos, and wikis.

This course specifically includes:

·Introduce the requirements of the iGEM competition for poster, banner (...)

·Note on poster design, excellent poster appreciation in previous years

·Presentation powerpoint design considerations

·Wiki design, trend analysis

·Logo design considerations

·Basic photography training course

·Basic use of Photoshop

·Basic use of Illustrator

·Experimental result graph, data graph processing

Perhaps other teams also need information about this course, please feel free to contact us by email, we will be happy to offer help. (official mailbox) (communication member mailbox)


Part I

The meanings of CUPID project

“How your work affects the world and the world affects your work?”

Through Human Practices, iGEM teams consider whether their projects are responsible and good for the world. This concept runs through our project obviously.

This year, we focus on desertification control by seeking alternative solutions. In the process of designing project and carrying out practices, we learned about how to solve practical problems on combating desertification, and constantly adjusted and optimized our project.

In September 2017, we got in touch with the key laboratory of desert and desertification, Chinese Academy of Sciences.They provided us the desert sand samples which we need badly for our experiment.

We kept a long-term and friendly connections with the them and received many insightful suggestions and disacssions to better improve our project.

“CUPID” means “Cyanobacterial cellulose prevent increasing desert”. We hold the strong belief that our work will contribute to the desertification control in the world.

Fig1. Different scene in Minqin(Site: Hongyashan Reservoir; Qingtu lake; Suwu town)


The key laboratory of desert and desertification, Chinese Academy of Sciences, was founded in 1959. It has been well developed through the efforts of many generations, and plays important roles in the international desert and desertification research and control. In addition,the Lanzhou desert research institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with the former turkmen desert institute of Soviet Academy of Sciences, the Egyptian desert institute and the Indian desert institute, are regarded as the world's four largest desert research institutions.

Their laboratory discovered that the evolution of biological soil crusts including various succession stages have different ecological and hydrological functions. It puts forward that the development and evolution of biological soil crusts are essential driving force for the desert artificial vegetation system.

In October 2018, we consulted a series of questions to learn about the current situation of desertification, methods to control desertification, and problems encountered in the practical application of different methods. We also collected the opinions and advice from professional researchers on our project.


We learned that in Minqin, a small city in Gansu Province, the ecological environments in different areas are different. There are different types of ecological environment problems, which need to be solved with in various ways. The current problem of desert control is that desertification and salinization occur at the same time.We aim to apply synthetic biology together with system biology to optimize the current desertification control methods. Our project offers a new possible approach may be combined together with local practical ecological problems and other professional approaches to control the desertification.

Part II

Desertification is a serious problem and caused by complicated reasons. It not simply causes many critical environmental problems but also close relates with economy, agriculture, public policy and so on.

Environmental degradation in arid and semi-arid regions is often resulted from trade-offs between immediate and long-term needs. Immediate economic needs are often conflict, and excessive exploitation of resources may be necessary to the survival of subsistences. Useful and long-term exploitation should be more attractive to the local producers in their daily lives.[1] Our CuPID project applies a combination of genetic engineering with system biology to provide a brand new aspect for desertification control. Our porject has the advantages of low cost and sustainability(See our project page for details). We hope to take advantage of our projects to integrate with current approaches to provide a more efficient and low-cost way to not only for desertification control but also help improving the living conditions of people in the arid regions as well as the local economy. Additionally, we hope to resolve the conflicts between environmental management approaches and economic development in desertification areas to a certain extent.

To better understand some of the social or political issues behind desertification, and the potential social impact may caused by our projects. We are going to interview Dr. David Tyfield of the Lancaster Environmental Center via Skype on October 30, 2018. Here below is the main content of our interview:

Coming soon ...

Our appointment with Dr. David Tyfield is October 30, 2018, after the Giant Jamboree, and we will to update the interview information after the wiki is unfrozen.

    Dr. David Tyfield
  • Dr. David Tyfield graduated from Oxford University and London School of Economics and Political Science. His current research focus on critical analysis of the emergence of a globalised knowledge-based economy, including carbon innovations, climate change and the rise of China. David works as principal investigator for research projects funded by NERC, EU, British Council and NSFC.

Interview Draft

Environment & Economy & Policy

Environmental problems such as global warming and desertification threaten global ecological security,sustainable economic and social development. How do you think of the economic impact of these environmental issues?

The knowledge economy emphasizes on the sustainable development of the environment, then what is the significance of the sustainable development of the environment to the development of the knowledge economy.

 Our society is a complex self-organizing system including social welfare and human rights organizations, government organizations and so on. These complex organizations and social components such as the physical (material) economy generate different economic forms like the environmental economy and the knowledge economy. Do you think it is contradicting to develop and protect these different economic forms at the same time (for example, for the infrastructure construction of society, it will sacrifice environmental resources). What actions should be taken by the various organizations in our society to protect and develop these economic forms? I learned that you studied biology at Oxford University and studied social science philosophy at LSE. What prompted you to shift your interests to the relationship between environmental change and the knowledge economy, or why these issues matter to you?


 What is the moment that you deeply feel the word of “climate change” or “deserfication”? May you talk about your own experiences?

 Sometimes, desertification even may affect areas which located thousands kilometers away from the desertified areas. The biophysical impacts include dust storms, downstream flooding and regional and global climate change. What is your opinion about the impact of desertification on other aspects such as climate?

 whats do you think about the impact of desertification control on economic benefits, could you give some advice or views from your professional perspective?

 China is one of the most badly affected developing countries in the world. What do you think about the impact of desertification on China? Would you think that The Belt and Road project in China will be a good choice to raise the attentions to desertification control of the silk road area for ecological civilization

CuPID Project

We have tried to use new methods coming from synthetic biology to solve the problem of systhetic biology in desertification control. We have developed a new, efficient and low-cost method.

 What do you think about trying to use emerging technologies to manage ecological issues?

 Do you think there is a trend of using biological technique to combat desertification?

 The release of GMOs into the environment often raises some puboic security concerns. How do you think about this problem?

 Please talk about your views and suggestions for our project.

[1]Economic Policy and Desertification in Arid and Semi-arid Developing Countries, The Pakistan Development Review 36 : 2 (Summer 1997) pp.191-201

School's name:SCAU

Member's name:SCAU

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