Team:SUSTech Shenzhen/Public Engagement

Education &
Public Engagement


Cells and genes @ SEEG NO.1 primary school.

On June 7th, members on the team went to SEEG NO.1 primary school to give a conversation about cells, genes and how they work together in our body to construct us, cause disease and get modified for finding of cures applying modern medical and synthetic biology techniques. We first informed them of cell types, cell images and the basic knowledge of genes. Concerning the possible knowledge of cells or genes these students had, we went no further to dreary cliché about lab skills. Instead, we discussed the history of penicillin, the formation of red tide and other daily problems with them and proposed possible biological treatments together. Besides the lecture, we asked the students to draw their imaginary cells before and after we show them the pictures of cells. We think we have obtained valuable experiences from the time spent as well as the drawings we collected, which proved to be powerful tools for us to see and analyze a child’s understanding of biological concepts.

Animated Brochure

Being aware of the fact that our own iGEM project maybe extremely difficult for the primary school students’ to understand, we have designed our own comic figures and drawn fascinating stories. Through fierce discussions, we figured out that it was for the best to illustrate what our project is about and how things work without talking too much about the details about the pathways and complex names of inner structures of cells.

This comic has been used not only during the tour to the primary school, but on the school’s open day and several other meet-ups we attended as well. Surprisingly, the comic worked perfectly fine especially for those who wanted to have a quick glance at what we are doing.

Inspiring the next generation of young scientists.

Our school welcomes high school students from each corner of the city for a visit each term. Earlier in March and April, we gave inspiring lectures to these students and the college students who were willing to join the next year’s iGEM team of the school. It has proved to be consequential and meaningful.

Please click here to visualize our details about these events:

Each year, we use a strict set of rules to select the iGEMers for the next year’s iGEM project. We are not making this a very difficult time for the freshmen, but rather, we have applied a series of challenging and knowledge-spreading methods for the selection to make it both fun and educational.

We simulated the presentations the way they are done at iGEM and students are randomly divided and given several past years’ iGEM projects to summarize and introduce to us, through which we are able to see not those that had already known much about synthetic biology but the most dedicated and diligent students to participate the next year’s project. Teamwork is also an important concern during the selection.

Public Engagement

Open day

Although synthetic biology is rising at a tremendous speed within its own field, people have little knowledge of what it actually stands for. Our team took the open day of our school as a chance to talk to people visiting the campus about our project and the general concepts of synthetic biology.

On the school’s open day, April 14th, we met different people coming to visit the campus. We discussed with them the general concepts of synthetic biology such as genes, cells and mostly, cancers which has a strong connection with our own project.

Street Interviewy

We have initiated an excellent project—CCC—that connects sociology and cognitive in synthetic biology concepts. Thanks to Dr.Yuan from our university’s Art & Humanity department, we have investigated, designed, analyzed and extended this big picture.

Street Interview is one of the major modules involved in our CCC project this year, which covers over 70 face-to-face detailed conversations in four cities including Shanghai, Shenzhen, Taipei and Taichung based on the three concerns (GMO, Embryotic modification and diabetes) involved in our CCC project. Click here to view our fantastic CCC project!

Click Here to listen to our Genecast episodes


This is our special HP activity that only occurred to us in mid-July of this year. As our HP activities continue to grow and move forward, we realized that things were becoming increasingly impossible to handle simply via talks and paperwork. Since the visit to SEEG NO.1 Primary School, members of the team had started a small workshop to interview participants from the team, professors from different universities and other iGEM teams during conferences. We made episodes about important Human Practices activities to organize our thoughts, inspire possible contents and directions for the next HP activity. However, we did this not only to help ourselves, but to spread, hopefully, our experiences to a wider society about the nature of synthetic biology. We hope this method may also be used by future iGEM teams as well for it is very clear and thorough to align and spread a team’s thoughts.

Right now, we have published in total of 3 episodes of Genecasts. And we have received great feedbacks form peers on the campus.