Synthetic biology and the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM) is not familiar to the public in China. Therefore, we took this opportunity to promote synthetic biology and our CUPID projects. In the last two years since the team was founded (established in 2016), we have hosted and participated in many exciting events such as university open day, general science festivals and booth display to engage with the public about our project, iGEM and synthetic biology.
Next we divided into two parts: Public Engagement and Education to demonstrate the dialogues of the public with our project and related social activities.
- The Lab Open Day is a traditional activity of our school. In the lab open days of 2017 and 2018, we opened our iGEM. There we talked with high school students, college students, teachers, parents (...) who explained what iGEM is and what is synthetic biology. In addition, we also show what our project is trying to achieve, and its practical application and show our work in the lab.
Many of the people we have contacted are very interested in our projects, iGEM, and synthetic biology. We have also left our contact information and some of them have a deeper discussion. We like to raise and answer questions with the public. Sharing our projects in this way is a very rewarding experience.
- In order to promote our project, we have prepared the graffiti wall on the campus for non-biology major students to know more about iGEM and the project. Dedicated to our vision of our project, this art work creates an oasis in the desert with the words "Painting the Desert". In order to make our project known by more audiences, we also attached with the most popular social media in China - the QR code of Wechat which contains more detailed introduction of the project and iGEM. Our advisor Prof. Wang also participated in drawing activities. Although it took two days to adjust the patterns and colors, we all liked it a lot.
- We were invited to Sun Yat-Sen University (SYSU)to attend the Biology Festival . We caught this wonderful opportunity to promote the knowledge about synthetic biology and our iGEM project. When we arrived at the place, our poster and scientific games about synthetic biology attracted many students come to learn about our project. In this event, we also communicated with SYSU iGEM teams.
- The Bauhinia Festival of Science, and Technology is one of the biggest festival in our university, which attracts over 10,000 citizens in Guangzhou city gather together in SCAU to enjoy the beautiful flowers of bauhinia and new research in our university. We took advantage of this opportunity to introduce to the visitors about our CUPID projecta and synthetic biology. We showed the bacteria and cyanobacteria under microscope, had pleasant discussions with the public about transgnic food and genetic modification, gave out beautiful postcards desiged by our ream about iGEM and our project and made a survey to the public to investigate their attitudes towards desertification and genetic modification. Through this promotion, more and more people of different ages have learned about iGEM and have a deeper understanding of synthetic biology.
In 2017 we promoted iGEM and explained synthetic biology at our booth. We have designed some small games, such as building blocks to symbolize biobrick, to help ordinary people understand iGEM.
In 2018, we designed posters to illustrate our projects, iGEM and synthetic biology. At our booth, we also designed a desert puzzle game to explain the status quo of desertification. In addition, we also distributed over 300 questionnaires on “Public Cognition Survey on Desertification and Our Projects” to the public.
(The results and analysis of these questionnaires can be found on our Human Practices-Silver page)
- The affiliated primary school of South China Agricultural University hold a annuallyscience festival , and we also took this opportunity to contact and communicate with primary school students. We came to the playground and set up our booth to introduce our project. After the opening ceremony, the students began to visit the booth. This time we have prepared some games for them to better explain synthetic biology to primary school students in a easier understanding way. (For example, we have prepared a game of building blocks to explain the concept of biobrick)
In this activity, it is a wonderful opportunity to let primary students to get a basic understanding of life sciences and iGEM.
Our team updated 29 articles (total pageviews are over 5700+) on the WeChat public account (one of the most popular social media used in China). The content of these articles includes our current situation, project introduction, introduction of iGEM and introduction of synthetic biology. Ken has launched a column about mathematical modeling, and his articles have also been updated on the WeChat public account and his personal account.
Our WeChat public number: 华农iGEM
Together with SYSU-Software (2017), we held a seminar on synthetic biology. In this talk, we explained the basis of synthetic biology to the students at South China Agricultural University and tried to introduce our projects work. In addition, we and members from SYSU-Software also demonstrated the project and answered some related questions.
(We also have some other exchanges with SYSU-Software 2017, details can be found on our Collaborations page)
- Due to the lack of laboratory equipment, the affiliated primary school to South China Agricultural University do not have the opportunity to conduct any biological experiments. With this in mind, we have prepared some simple and interesting experiments such as "The changing color of anthocyanin with the change of pH".
- Guangdong Country Garden School is the first IBC international school in China, and the school encourage sthents to participate international competition such as iGEM.Last year ,some studennt in it took part in the 2017 Guangdong iGEM High School United and achieve sucess.This year our team communicate closely with the class majored in economic and biology.We introduce the theoretical knowledge about synthetic biology to them, and help them to conduct the simple basic molecular manipulation.We wish to stimulate their interest in Synthetic biology and instill new life for the next iGEM competition.And after this,they also do the public education and investigation according what they have learned from this activity to give the public a deeper impression on transgene.
This course includes:
1.Explain basic concepts of synthetic biology
2.Teaching basic molecular experimental skills
·Explain the principle of experiments
·Experimental operation guidance and practice
·Extracting red fluorescent protein
·Prepare agarose gel & DNA electrophoresis
·Heat-shock transform of DNAs
·Result observation and analysis
3.Exchange experiences of project and team building