Team:TU-Eindhoven/Edu n Public Engagement

Education and Outreach

Netherlands Biotechnology Congress


Our first conference! With the other Dutch iGEM teams, we were invited to present a poster at the Netherlands Biotechnology Congress. During the several talks we learned about new developments in biotechnology and public acceptance of GMOs. The highlight of the day was an intriguing talk by Marc Lynas, a British environmental activist and journalist who explained how he moved from violently opposing GMO crops to supporting them. The conference also offered a platform to discuss our project with biotechnologists and with the overgrad winning team of iGEM 2017, TU Delft. After a few drinks and a good meal, we returned home with a lot of new insights.

From left to right: Mick Verhagen, Simone Twisk, Laura van Hazendonk. 22/05/2018, Ede

TU/e contest


We were recruited for the TU/e contest in February. At first there was a selection round. We had the chance to propose the problem and solution that we have been working on. We were also brought in contact with coaches from several companies to see if they could help us with this project. This could be advice on any field of your project, from the specific details to how to approach the market. We talked to for example companies like Deloitte, Thermo Fischer, Medtronic and much more. Afterwards there was the moment of truth, the selection! We had a couple of days to collect as many votes as possible and to convince the coaches, friends and family that our project was worth sending to the next round… and we convinced them all! iGEM made the cut to the final 40 participants!

After that came the business related part of the contest. We had the opportunities to go on speeddates with representatives from Medtronic, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Deloitte and BON. We also received a Golden Egg Check. This document helped us to design our project based around persons of interest and the market that you might want to end up in. We also received some very useful workshops, which varied from designing a business model to a pitch training. With help from the coaches, the feedback from the speeddates and the information from the workshops, we were able to finalize our Golden Egg Check and we made it to the final 20 participants for the final event!

During the final event, we had to give a 1 minute pitch to convince everyone that our idea was the best. We put a lot of effort into turning our difficult idea into something easy to understand to a general public because most of the people present in the audience did not have biological knowledge or backgrounds. We did this so well, that we were able to collect the audience price of €1000!

In the end, we are very happy that we participated in the TU/e Contest! The value that this contest added to how we look at our project has been very great and we can look back on a fun and useful contest!

From left to right: Tim van der Hek, Pim Joostens, Sander Keij, Maxime van den Oetelaar, Guido Oerlemans, Weizhou Xing. iGEM Eindhoven receiving their checque as a reward for winning the Audience Prize. 22/05/2018, Eindhoven

Dutch Technology Week

08/06/18 and 09/06/18

The Dutch Technology Week (DTW) is all about promoting Dutch high-tech to the public. During this week, many high-tech companies opened their doors. This was a good opportunity to raise awareness about synthetic biology! We arranged a stand during the High-Tech Discovery Route. In order to make it more approachable to the general public, we had a stand to make hair gel and slime with kids. While some of us entertained the children, others got the opportunity to discuss our applications with the parents. Finally, we were allowed to give a pitch in order to promote iGEM during the business event.

Tim van der Hek (left) and Pim Joostens (right) promoting iGEM Eindhoven at the Dutch Technology Week. 08/06/2018 and 09/06/2018, Eindhoven

Design of a course on synthetic biology for high school students

To spread our love for synthetic biology, we collaborated with the Eindhoven School of Education (ESoE) to develop a course module for high school students consisting of four lessons and an experimental part. The actual design of the module was performed by three aspiring teachers from the ESoE. The module consists of several online modules based on the flip the classroom concept combined with a lesson at their school to prepare students for an experiment at our university. During the experiment they will modify E. coli to express GFP. Back at school, they will reflect on ethical issues raised by synthetic biology. We already made an appointment with a school in the region to execute the module when we return from Boston.

After several feedback sessions, Marc, Lotte and Milan presented their work in front of teachers, students and our team. We are looking forward to the execution of the module and want to thank Marc, Lotte and Milan for the great work and the pleasant collaboration!

From left to right: Marc, Lotte and Milan. iGEM Eindhoven has worked with them regarding a synthetic biology course for high school students. We would like to thank them for the collaboration!

European Meet-up Munich

20/07/18 – 22/07/18

In July, we traveled to Munich for a meet-up organized by iGEM Munich. We had a great time meeting other iGEM teams, exchanging ideas and we received a lot of feedback on our design and potential problems. For instance, iGEM Düsseldorf warned us for the risk of overcrowding of the hydrogel upon long-term use. This resulted in a potential collaboration with them; we may be able to use their quorum sensing Biobrick to prevent overcrowding, or perhaps even to prevent infiltration of the material by foreign bacteria. We also received useful feedback from Julia Müller, a PhD candidate at TU München who is attempting to print hydrogels.

We also came in contact with iGEM Hamburg. They were working on a project that involves a stable platform to seed their bacteria on. After talking about it, we concluded that our gel could help the project of Hamburg and they could help us with some degradation experiments of our gel. We decided that collaboration would be very useful and thus we are now working with Hamburg. We would like to thank iGEM Munich for the perfect organization and all the participants for their feedback and ideas.

From left to right: Sander Keij, Tim van der Hek, Laura van Hazendonk, Mick Verhagen. Representing iGEM Eindhoven at the European Meetup in Munich to discuss our project to design a living biomaterial. 20/07/2018 - 22/07/2018, Munich, Germany

Freshers’ week

21/08/18 Freshers’ week @ TU/e

During the introduction week for new students, we got the opportunity to promote iGEM at a fair. We talked to new students from all kinds of disciplines about synthetic biology and the iGEM competition. The students were very curious to hear why we decided to spend our summer in the lab! We also introduced the new generation of scientists to our iGEM project and asked them whether they would wear a patch with bacteria on their skin. Interestingly, after sharing some information on the role of the bacteria in our design, they seemed to agree that they would wear the patch if we could ensure the safety of the patch.

Interview Bionieuws


We were approached by Bionieuws, which is a newspaper for biologists that provides interviews, scientific news and articles. We had the pleasure of providing a short summary about our project and together with the other five Dutch iGEM teams we were present in the 28th edition of Bionieuws that was released on the 8th of September. We were very happy that we had the opportunity to spread awareness of the iGEM competition and about our team and project amongst biologists and scientists.

Article about all Dutch iGEM teams, displayed on the online version of Bionieuws. 08/09/2018

SensUs Event


On Saturday the 8th of September we were present at the SensUs event. This is a competition regarding molecular biosensors in which 13 international teams from all over the world participated. We had the opportunity to talk about our project to teams and public and discuss biological alternatives for antibiotics and the potential of biological biosensors. Also we were spreading awareness about synthetic biology.

From left to right: bruno Eijkens, Pim Joostens (facing backwards), Weizhou Xing. 08/09/2018, Eindhoven

Interview Nederlandse Biotechnologie Vereniging


The Nederlandse Biotechnologie Vereniging (or Dutch Association for Biotechnology) was interested in an article about all of the Dutch iGEM teams. We submitted a 300 word summary of our project and team and what it is that we are working on. On the 17th of September we were published online, and the articles of all the teams are published in the C2W newspaper that was due on the 12th of October.

Article about iGEM Eindhoven on the page of Nederlandse Biotechnologie Vereniging (Dutch Association for Biotechnology). 17/09/2018

Interview NRC Handelsblad

19/09/18 in Utrecht

On Wednesday, the 19th of September we went to Utrecht for an interview with the NRC newspaper. NRC was interested in writing an article about all six of the Dutch iGEM teams and a meeting was scheduled for this. Groningen, Utrecht, Leiden and Eindhoven were present and we talked about several topics of the iGEM process. What is it exactly that you team is working on, how does a biobrick influence synthetic biology, do you interact with the public about your project, what happens with the research that you do, these were all questions that we discussed that day. It was a very informative afternoon and it was nice to see such a variety in teams since everyone is working on something different. We are very glad that NRC showed interest in iGEM and this can increase awareness for the iGEM competition, since it is a relatively unknown subject in Eindhoven.

Utrecht (left), Eindhoven (middle), Leiden (second on the right) and Groningen (first on the right) being interviewed by the NRC. 19/09/2018, Utrecht

Interview Cursor

November 2018

We scheduled an interview with the Cursor, the official newspaper of our University. This was about our team, what we did, our project, what we achieved and how Boston went for us. We aimed to attract more attention from our university to our team and the iGEM competition. There are several student teams on our university, and the iGEM team is not very well known outside the Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry Faculties. This is because we do not have something concrete toshow, like for instance a racing car. However via Cursor we hope that we can show everyone that synthetic biology is not just spending every day in the lab and only doing science, but that it is also socially very relevant and dealing with relevant problems and that synthetic biology might very well be the future of society.

Presentation event


In addition to spreading awareness through the newspaper of our university, we also scheduled a presentation event. During this event, we did the presentation about Gelcatraz for students, the other student teams and the researchers that were interested or were wondering what it was exactly that we did in the months that we occupied some of the benches in the lab. We aimed to generate public interest into synthetic biology by showing what we did and how we can implement that to solving real world problems.

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