Team:TUST China/Human Practices



Human  Practice


In the 1980s and 1990s, tetracycline as a cheap antibiotic became very popular and caused many problems, such as tetracycline teeth. Long-term use of tetracycline drugs has caused irreversible dental enamel damage. What's more, due to the abuse of tetracycline in animal husbandry, the concentration of tetracycline and its isomers in water has been increased rapidly, which is seriously affecting the healthy survival of human beings and ecological sustainable development. Therefore, this year's Human Practice focuses on the public's understanding and the use of tetracycline, and through our human practices to be able to publicize the relevant biological knowledge as far as possible, while increasing attention to the use of tetracycline and other antibiotics. Second, through human practice, we can improve our project to a certain extent.

Silver Human Practice

Our team believes that good human practice and public participation are the two most important factors that motivate us to continue the experiment, And not just the iGEM requirements. From the very beginning, we were determined to make our project mean something and we hope it will have an impact that extends beyond the scope of the iGEM competition,even the range of people who study biology. Before and during the design of our project, we have consulted our stakeholders in order to identify, investigate and address several Human Practice issues to the best of our abilities. Our stakeholders come from various walks of life and include academia, industrial and regulatory bodies and the general public. We have visited several large-scale events,such as the 4th Synthetic Biology Young Scholar Forum and the Nine-School Association conducted interviews with experts from the biologic field and the staff most directly applicable to our project in future life, and visited north the largest antibiotic production base in China------North China pharmaceutical co. LTD, to determine the actual use degree and significance of the project. The incredible contributions from all our stakeholders, makes us feel that, no matter the outcome, our project has been an immensely rewarding experience.

Interviews With Experts

At the very beginning, we interviewed an expert, Prof. ZongZheng Yang, who specializes in sewage addressing and processing. From a more professional standpoint, he provided us with lots of suggestions, which enlightened us on how to carry out our project in a more comprehensive and meaningful way.
A better understanding about Tetracycline detection and degradation.

The following text comes from our interview:

Q:  How do you think about tetracycline abusive in China?

A:  In the early years, there was a shortage of drugs in China. Penicillin was effective for curing diseases caused by gram-positive bacteria and streptomycin was responsible for gram-negative bacteria. Many doctors used penicillin with streptomycin. However, these two types of bacteria was subject to tetracycline. At that time, tetracycline was a heat over the country, they were used in agriculture and animal husbandry without a regulated dosage and a tight supervision. Therefore, a huge amount tetracycline was wasted and the residues remain in soil and water.

Q:  In order to curb antibiotic contamination in the environment, what should we do to achieve this goal?

A: In my perspective, one of the most radical changes is to raise emission standards in our country. Maybe the we can ease the current pollution issue and alleviate the trend of environmental footprints in the future by this way.


To make more ordinary engaged in our human practice activities, it is helpful for us to know the common viewpoint about tetracycline, so we made a questionnaire about according to our project .

The data we obtained in the questionnaire are showing below:

The proportion of respondent men and women are roughly same. The number of group aging from 18 to 25 is our target.

Question 3:When you have a fever, will you take any antibiotic drugs by yourself?

Analysis: the data shows that four out of five people will take antibiotic drug, and only one out of five will reject to have drugs of antibiotics, indicating that there is a high level of acceptance and popularity of antibiotics to a great extent.

Question 5:Do you think you have antibiotics residue in your body or in your child's body? Question 6: Do you think you have the water you drink? Are there antibiotics in the dishes?

Analysis: More than half them agreed that it is sustainable and possible that there is antibiotic residue in their body, and only 8 percent of them disagree with that, suggesting that antibiotics have been utilized in people's daily lives widespread, it is hard for us to avoid problems caused by antibiotic residues.

Question 9: How do you think of the use of modern genetic technology to solve environmental bottlenecks?

Analysis: More than half of respondents accept to use synthetic biology for addressing current environmental problems in the genetic level and they are curious about these technologies. We are full of motivation and confidence, since our project is considered as highly receptive and greatly promising.

Academic conference

This summer, we were of great honor to be invited to attend the 4th Synthetic Biology Young Scholar Forum in Shenzhen which attracted lots of domestic and overseas experts specialized in synthetic biology field. Through this forum, our teammates understood that there are still many urgent problems needed to be solved and synthetic biology is an effective and efficient way that can be exploited and developed. Meanwhile, we had the opportunity to introduce our projects to the expert for their professional viewpoints and deep understanding about antibiotics, we are really appreciate that they gave us enlightening suggestions to improve and perfect our project. More importantly, experts and professors emphasized safety issue for us, pointed out that safe rules are overwhelmingly significant and we must obey from basic lab regulations to our project as a whole, after that, we did more work about safety and bear in mind the teacher’s instructions from beginning to end. Besides, we communicated with other IGEM-teams, talked about our projects and also gave suggestions to each other. It is really a fantastic process in which we gathered more information in medical sector and picked up intriguing ideas for a better solution. They thought our work was very meaningful to decrease the pollution and provide a more healthy environment for creatures. This forum has affected and improved our project and we indeed had a lot of gains.

iGEM Community

After the project was established, the experiment was carried out step by step, and some problems encountered were not as smooth as expected. So on July 7, 2018, we participated in the Nine-School Association sponsored by iGEMer of NKU-China. We exchanged suggestions with more iGEM partners, listened to their ideas about our project. Meanwhile, we also consulted experts and scholars to seek some help in improving our experimental design and solving the problems encountered. As you can see, we have received a lot of meaningful suggestions which be integrated into our project, we have compared the effect of more degradation pathways, such as traditional methods, and choose the best to make our project more efficient and convenient.

The countdown to the finals is coming. In order to better improve the late events and advance the simulation finals, we participated in the 5th CCIC held by Shanghai University of Science and Technology. As the first demonstration team, we introduced our experimental program and project progress to other teams, which not only attracted attention, but also been discussed. Meanwhile we received many suggestions from other iGEMers. We communicated with each other, shared ideas and literature, and reached a lot of collaboration and HP cooperation. Members of other teams suggested that we should verify the efficiency of enzymes many times, improve detection sensitivity and consider practical applications. At the same time, after seeing our poster, other iGEMers put forward many suggestions for aesthetics and typesetting. Our team also improved on the issues raised by the CCIC, adding a number of experiments to verify the feasibility of our project, and the unceasing progress of the project gives us confidence in its success.

Consulting the Antibiotic Company

Foundational science can be difficult for non-specialists to understand and engage with. Therefore, in order to get the views of the practical application professionals on the project, and to obtain the relevant hadoop support, we went to China's largest antibiotic production—North China Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (NCPC). Under their leadership, we visited factories dealing with antibiotic wastewater, studied the mechanism of waste residue treatment, learned that the discharge standards of all antibiotic wastewater in the world are getting higher and higher, and even China is about to introduce a more stringent discharge management mechanism. In this regard, as a pharmaceutical enterprise, North China Pharmaceutical Group hopes that our project can achieve practical application level, truly help small and medium-sized enterprises and the people.

Social Engagement

We are willing to introduce the advanced science to the public. Therefore, we went to a community near our campus, Shangdeyuan Housing Estate, and organized a workshop. People aged ranging 4 to 65 engaged our events and workshops to know more about synthetic biology.

The residents showed their curiosity about what synthetic biology is. Therefore, we introduce biosynthetic products and some commonly used antibiotic drugs around us. Although they are new to synthetic biology, they also have a preliminary understanding of it after our interesting introduction.

To evoke enthusiasm for science in children, we prepared several interesting experiments that were easy to carry out. To our surprise, children were quite into them. We also played games while educated them about knowledge of biology like making the cell model with the eraser, teaching them the structure of the cell, drawing DNA on a blackboard etc. Even though our activities had finished for a long time, people were reluctant to leave.

Gold Human Practice


As communicators of biology, we believe the ultimate goal of the project is to serve humanity and improve people's living standards. For this reason, we went to the center for disease prevention in Tianjin city to learn about the harm to people caused by the abuse of antibiotics at present, as the beginning of our colorful HP activities. At the same time, in order to further promote the propagation of the synthetic biology knowledge and attract more people's interest in learning biology, UCAS - China and we founded the Beijing - Tianjin alliance and absorbed six universities in the Beijing-Tianjin region became the first formal member. We prepare to apply for Chinese Popular Science Promotion Day by alliance next year. Of course, we hope to inherit and strengthen the alliance with the promotion of iGEM in China. This year's HP activities of TUST-China do not want to be limited to the dissemination of knowledge, but rather to convey warmth and the humanistic spirit of iGEM. We participated in the college entrance examination volunteer service, providing physical and psychological help to candidates, and welcomed them into the new stage of life as biology seniors. As is well known, interest in biology should be nurtured from a young age, so we went into communities and community welfare homes and entertained children in a biologically specific way, such as showing interesting little experiments. We hope that through our tiny power, we can start to change the world a little bit by changing the people around us.

Spreading Biology

Responsibility comes with the ability. As main iGEM teams in Tianjin, we are entrusted with the duty of spreading our concept and advanced knowledge for education.

We held several meetups with other universities in Tianjin, and discuss the appropriate approach to advocating rational analysis and creative thoughts during the CCiC. Eventually, we took the first step in high schools.

We listened to experts and contacted several high school in Tianjin. Teachers warmly welcome us to do and explain experiments for students. We went and met other teams there, we cooperated tightly for presenting a wonderful schedule containing: the concept of synthetic biology and its influence in reality, introduction of classic iGEM projects and example of our programs, non-toxic yeasts which showed different colors.

To our great surprise, we received countless fans of synthetic biology and they showed great passion about the amazing field. They listened carefully and asked questions actively. Afterwards, we introduced to them how to build a team and what is essential for team-building, they were really excited and couldnt help to join in the IGEM club. The energetic and creative thoughts provided us valuable inspiration about our program. It was our pleasure to expose them to shallow biology research.

Beijing-Tianjin Alliance Building

In early September, TUST-China met with UCAS-China, helped UCAS-China successfully hold the first iGEM Six-School Exchange Forum and established the Beijing-Tianjin iGEM Alliance (TUST-China is the co-founder of the alliance). The forum attracted six iGEM teams from Beijing and Tianjin, including UCAS-China, Tsinghua, BNU-China, TJU-China, NKU-China and TUST-China. At this forum, we participated in a round table to exchange our projects between the teams of the Beijing Tianjin IGEM Alliance. At the meeting, each group put forward the assessment plan which is expected to be completed at present, hoping to better share and assess the iGEM resources of universities in Beijing and Tianjin by forming an alliance, and to host next year's National Popular Science Day on this platform. In the process of project communication, we are very grateful to Tsinghua University and UCAS-China for their many suggestions.

CDC in Tianjin

This summer holiday, we went to the Tianjin Center for Disease and Prevention for visiting and learning. They introduced their laboratories and main devices for us, telling us the basic rules and regulations about the experiments. We learned a lot from their introduction, after visiting, we shared our projects to them. Surprisingly, them highly appreciate it and said “Exactly, tetracycline residue in water and soil is serious and acute, it is not easy for us to test and measure it in samples, this project is very promising and it will definitely advance the science and technology in this sector”. Meanwhile, they made some instructive suggestions to our project so that it could be more closer to the public. Coming back to school, We discussed these proposals in depth, had a better understand of the prospect of our project. We feel more encouraging to complete our tasks with great confidence!

Humanistic care

College Entrance Examination is a fateful moment for Chinese students, which will affect their future life to a certain extent. Our team participated in the college entrance examination volunteer activities and went to Tianjin Tanggu District High School for psychological counseling and stationery help services. We watched children nervously enter and relax out with a sense of helpful joy. At the same time, we hope that our love can pass on to them the spirit of biological people, the purpose of igem, can affect their future interest in learning biology, to add talent to the world of biology.

Our HP activities do not want to be just a scientific porter, but also want to be a warm communicator. Our team has been volunteering in the Sunshine Garden after school. Recently, we carried our designed dolls around to the Sunshine Garden with us. We took these “older children” to play games, paint, build blocks and other intellectual development games with us. It can bring them joy. Of course, we're going to stick with it and not stop making friends with them at the end of the iGEM game.

TUST's iGEMer paid close attention to the health of these freshmen , so we followed them into the physical examination center and closely followed their health reports. In chatting with stomatologists, we found that people's oral problems are very serious nowadays: people in their 40s and 50s have tetracycline teeth problems, young people have oral problems caused by smoking, betel nut chewing, and teenagers have insect teeth problems. Doctors say tetracycline teeth are decreasing, but they are still very grim. Therefore, we also hope that through our HP activities we can call attention to oral health, attention to antibiotic use, from the root cause of the formation of tetracycline teeth.