Team:SMS Shenzhen/Public Engagement



1.WeChat Official Account

1) What’s WeChat official account?

WeChat is now the most popular app in China with 1.04 Billion monthly active WeChat users globally (Source: Tencent Biznext, 2018). We registered a WeChat official account: when we send messages, people who follow our accounts will see the update information in the subscription area.

We are the only team in China that use our WeChat official account to introduce our Synthetic Biology project in detail (Other teams always only introduce their projects briefly). Our articles are also the best in quality and quantity.

2) What can we do with subscription account?

We send our articles regularly. Articles include introductions to Synthetic Biology, iGEM Competition, our team, and our project.

3) How does it relate to the public?

People can know more about our team and the scientific knowledge in our articles. It is easy to follow us on WeChat, just scanning a QR Code or searching for our team’s name. People can glance over our articles in their spare time and share our articles on the “moments,” a function in WeChat that would allow all of their friends to see our work. If people appreciate our work, they can click the "like" button or discuss on the discussion board under our article. We would reply and answer their questions dedicatedly in the discussion board.

4) What do we achieve?

For all the articles we sent, hundreds of people read them and click the “like” button. When a new article comes out, our friends and classmates are pleased to share these articles on their “moment.” Since we use a lively and interesting tone to share our knowledge of Synthetic Biology, most people appreciate our works and are willing to share these articles.

Most importantly, our official account recently became a Verified Original Official Account in Science, an honorary title which is hard to get, indicating that our account provides high-quality-original popular science articles.

2.Establishing the Biology Club in Shenzhen Middle School (SMS)

1) Why did we establish the Biology Club?

Being one of the most successful high schools on iGEM competition, we have always been trying to add more element of synthetic biology in our school. From managing to set a synthetic biology lab at school to giving lecture to all the freshmen about iGEM annually, we have increased the influence of both synthetic biology and iGEM in our school continuously. This year, we succeeded in applying a biology club at school, which majorly focuses on synthetic biology. Also, we believe that this activity would let more students know about Synthetic Biology and iGEM competition. We hope that they will grow an interest in life science and become passionate about it.

2) What did we do?

We organize various activities such as giving lectures frequently, holding the iGEM forum, organizing synthetic biology lab tour, and provoking individual projects. All the members of the Biology Club visited our lab and listened to our introduction to our project. We also taught them about some of the knowledge in synthetic biology which they would understand. Additionally, we taught them some basic experimental skills like how to use pipettes.

3) How does it relate to the public?

By establishing the Biology Club, we successfully built a bridge between all the students in Shenzhen Middle School and interesting biology world beyond the textbook. We believe that the Biology Club will inspire more students to involve in biology research and biology study in the future.

3.The Synthetic Biology Forum

1)Why did we hold the Synthetic Biology Forum in SMS?

During the process of our project’s productization, we found that we should better investigate the need of our market, especially teenagers. Therefore, in order to both collect opinions from teenagers and publicize our project, we held a forum on iGEM projects and introduction to synthetic biology in our school which attracted as many as hundreds of students to take part in. We also invited the iGEM team from Shenzhen College Of International Education to share their project and thus let the students in Shenzhen Middle School have a better and more comprehensive understanding of iGEM and synthetic biology.

2)How does it related to the public?

After the forum, many students showed their willingness to join in iGEM competition in the future. We are very glad that our forum inspired many young high-schoolers to be interested in synthetic biology.

4.The Community Activities Publicizing Dental Health Knowledge

1)Why did we hold the community activities?

Based on the experiment, survey, interview and activity we have conducted we knew that most Chinese people are poor in dental knowledge. Then, we spread the information we have learned to the public.

2)What did we do?

We taught dental tips in primary schools and neighborhoods. We held simple games in order to let kids learn while playing. We found out that many people still don’t know how to correctly take care of their dental health. During our community activities, we successfully taught over 30 kids to correctly brush their teeth. We taught over 10 adults to use dental floss.

3)How does it relate to the public?

We took our effort to publicize the dental health knowledge to all ages of people, trying to reverse the situation that most people in Chinese society do not know the proper treatment to their teeth. Beyond the synthetic biology, we want to help people in our community have a better understanding of their teeth’s needs which will benefit them a lot.

5.Making Videos Introducing Our Project and Dental Health Knowledge

1)Why did we make the video?

To make our project and the useful information about dental health that we like to share to be easily understood by the public, we made several introduction videos for the public. Since it’s important for teenagers to have good habits to protect their teeth, while videos are more attractive to them, we decided to focus on using videos to teach teenagers about how to properly treat their teeth.

2)How do our videos relate to the public?

The reflection from the audience was great. People who have seen our videos, especially teenagers, showed interest and approval in our project after watching the video. More importantly, most of them believed that they learned many useful daily tips to protect their teeth after watching and we hope that our publicity can benefit more people and their dental health beyond the genetic engineering project itself.