Team:Tartu TUIT/Public Engagement

First months of 2018

This year we decided to start public engagement early, so in the beginning of January we presented synthetic biology, Science & Technology programme and iGEM on the TV show of Estonian National Channel. During the show we taught the host how to extract DNA from saliva, showed the DNA samples on gel, introduced a robot which was programmed to recognize different bacteria on plates. Through this example we explained, that synthetic biology is combination of robotics, information technology and biology.

Watch the show in Estonian

First months of 2018 our team members and Primary PI have been busy travelling the world with educational fairs.

Study in Tartu info session in Tallinn - presenting Science & Technology, synthetic biology, iGEM and UT’s iGEM team. We met many excited young people, who want to learn biotechnology!

International science fairs

Our team has been busy travelling with educational, science fairs to such countries as Russia, Turkey, Germany, Georgia. During science fairs and lectures we have introduced innovative Science & Technology programme, held discussions concerning synthetic biology concepts, ethics, global problems, which can be solved with synthetic biology.

First education fair was in Hamburg - Altona, Germany.

International science fairs

Education fair in Pskov, Russia.

International science fairs

Education fair in Kyiv, Ukraine.

International science fairs

Info session in Istanbul, Turkey.

International science fairs

Info session in Ankara, Turkey.

International science fairs

Info session in Izmir, Turkey

In the end of February our iGEM team participated in the University of Tartu’s Open Doors Day info session, where we presented iGEM and our team, synthetic biology and its significance in the modern world. Also we introduced Science & Technology programme to foreign high school and university students, who are interested in continuing their academic path in UT. We talked with potential students and discussed their opportunities of becoming synthetic biology students.

After the UT Open Doors Day event several Latvian pupils got interested in synthetic biology and visited Institute of Technology’s labs.

Also, we hosted a meeting with International Olympiad participants during what we introduced iGEM and had an interactive discussion concerning synthetic biology concepts, ethics, global problems, which can be solved with synthetic biology.

In March one of our iGEM team members was taking over our university’s official Instagram page @unitartu stories in order to show what it means to be a synthetic biology student. During the take-over project we introduced the Institute of Technology, science student life, synthetic biology and iGEM, including our iGEM labs and team.

In the beginning of April our team leader and primary PI visited Engineering - Linguistic Gymnasium in Pskov, Russia, in order to host a lecture about the innovative science fields. Students were really motivated and actively participated in discussion.

In the end of April our team was happy to educate Finnish career advisors on iGEM, synthetic biology and UT’s Science & Technology programme. The workshop we organized consisted of pipetting, PCR and analyzing DNA products on the gel!

Video for Estonian TV

In May we had an honour of being on a show of the local TV channel and represent our iGEM team, spill a sneak peek of our project’s idea, discuss science, its importance, development and our student life challenges.

Watch the show in Russian

In the beginning of May high school students from Tallinn visited our Instutute of Technology. We talked about study opportunities in English, how future scientists will look like, what skills they will possess! During meeting we introduced iGEM in general and discussed the idea of our team. After fruitful discussion pupils had a guided tour in the Institute building and got familiar with modern lab equipment!

In the middle of May our team gave a synthetic biology workshop to finnish journalists and young bloggers. We showed how to pipette, do the PCR mix, and analyse the results. We talked about modern world problems which synthetic biology is able to solve, introduced innovative Science & Technology programme and talked about how Tartu_TUIT team is trying to make the Earth a better place! It was very fun and encouraging!

The Wisdom Week

On the first day of September we organized an open-air workshop during which we introduced synthetic biology in play form! Participants got familiar with synthetic biology principles, methods of working with DNA and our iGEM team’s this year project: Production of eco-friendly sunscreen components; toxicity of modern sunscreens - marine life damage. We offered various activities for kids, teenagers as well as adults!

Filming iGEM Safety video

To expand the limits of reaching out to general public we have created a humorous safety music video on YouTube, featuring safety rules and mistakes during the laboratory work! As the way of presenting laboratory work routine and synthetic biology, we were especially excited to receive a positive feedback from people, who have not heard of synthetic biology field before!

Workshop at Heureka Science Centre, Finland

After contacting Aalto-Helsinki iGEM team we came up with an idea to organize a workshop at event of Heureka’s Science Centre! We enjoyed interacting with the centre’s visitors, teaching them synthetic biology principles and explaining the project idea through our board games. We were happy to meet Aalto-Helsinki team members, exchange experience and work progress!

Researchers’ Night Festival at Ahhaa Science Centre in Tartu, Estonia

In the end of September our team participated in the Researchers’ Night Festival held in Ahhaa Science Centre! As a part of the collaboration Aalto-Helsinki iGEM team travelled all the way to Tartu to join us at the event. We were glad to welcome them in Estonia and help them with translation and explanation of their experiments to local visitors, including kids, teenagers and adults! During the workshop in addition to our board games we carried out a DIY edible gel electrophoresis experiment in order to simulate the real gel electrophoresis.