Team:UESTC-Software/Public Engagement



  For the public, the biggest problem of promoting iGEM and synthetic biology is that they never heard of it before and it’s not an easily-understandable field for the public. To promote us in a more interesting and efficient way, we divided the public into 3 groups—Public, Children and Pre-iGEMers (High school students and Undergraduates). We have different positions for each of the groups and adapted different methods to let people all engage in synthetic biology and iGEM.

Public—Engage while playing (Bio-Chess)

Children—Stimulating interests (iGEM Day)

Pre-iGEMers—Propaganda (1st iGEM Festival in UESTC)



  People spend more and more leisure time on the game, including physical games and online games. We believe that if we can implant scientific knowledge and ideas in the game, people can learn the knowledge of the fields that they may not access in daily life while playing the game. This is more effective than letting people read those boring professional books.

  To promote synthetic biology, we designed a board game named Bio-Chess, and produced it both in physical and PC version. It is inspired by the well-known game Monopoly and flying chess. We integrate the idea of genetic engineering into the game, combining this game with synthetic biology knowledge, making players familiar with the process of genetic engineering while experiencing the game.Let us have fun in Bio-Chess!

Game rules

  The process of Bio-Chess is actually a simple genetic modification process. First, player moves to the appropriate position according to the points of the dice they rolled, collecting endonuclease and DNA Ligase and Learning PCR technology. After owning the corresponding materials and techniques, player sequentially goes to the laboratory to extract the target gene, the Research Institute to construct the expression vector, the Processing Plant to introduce the target gene into the recipient cell and the Inspection Station to detect whether the target gene was successfully introduced into the recipient cell. The player who first completes this process wins!

  Throughout the process, we also designed a lot of interesting parts. For example, if player stepping on "Obstruction" will make the opponent to retreat to the latest process, while stepping on "Lazy" will make the opponent to move to the next process. And if player stepping on "Study", he can move on to the next process. Stepping on "Too Acid or Alkaline" will make you back one process. In addition, position "Check", “Grocery Store”, “High Temperature”, “Ultraviolet”, "Exchange", “Port” and “Science Park” on the board, making Bio-Chess more funny and exciting!

PC version:

  In order to better promoting our game, making people who may not be able to experience physical chess can experience the fun of Bio-Chess, we also made a PC version of Bio-Chess. In the PC version of Bio-Chess, we made some minor adjustments to the rules, but this did not affect the synthetic biology thoughts and fun contained in it. The Bio-Chess PC version has been released to the online platform so that the public can easily download to play. Click to Download Bio-Chess for PC.


  Bio-Chess debuted at CCiC (Conference of Chinese iGEM Community). We introduced the Bio-Chess to the audience and judges at the Panel Session and received wide acclaim. At the first iGEM Festival in University of Electronic Science and Technology, we combine Bio-Chess with our carefully designed synbio quiz game. Participants need to complete two consecutive sessions where they have a deeper understanding of iGEM and synthetic biology.


  We will continue to promote our Bio-Chess through social media, whether online or offline. And improve it based on feedback from players. In addition, we also hope to cooperate with educational institutions to use our chess as a tool to assist in teaching and to show its greater value. We believe that our work can really affect the people around us and make them pay more attention to synthetic biology.

iGEM Day ‘Gene Go’

  Of course, it’s hard to let children understand synthetic biology but cultivating their interest is important. We teamed up with Sichuan Science and Technology Museum and UESTC-China and organized a ‘Gene Go’ iGEM Day to provide a good opportunity for children to know iGEM. This iGEM Day was so welcomed by children that after the event was released on the online platform of the Sichuan Science and Technology Museum, we received applications from more than 350 families from the registration channel on the first day. At the show case, the number of parents and children who came to the event exceeded 1,000, and everyone was very enthusiastic.

A series of activities

  We designed a series of activities such as leaf bookmark making, cell structure fabrication, gene card playing and microscope observation to allow children to participated on their own. During bookmark period, the children showed great enthusiasm and had a great time. Parents were attracted by this fun activity and made leaf bookmarks with their children. After the explanation, the iGEM team members took out the plasticine of various colors and patiently taught the children to make "organelles". In the process, the children have a clear understanding of the structure of the cells. After the children made the cells with plasticine, we took the children to observe the real cells with a microscope. The children observed a variety of sliced cells and adjusted the microscope with their own hands. After having fun with real instruments, children’s interest in biology is even stronger. The children understood the tools and approximate processes required for synthetic biology in the gene card game and expressed their strong interest in synthetic biology.

“Cellulose Go”

  We organized a vivid children stage show “Cellulose Go”. The story is based on the project of UESTC-China and introduces the relationship between cellulose and lignin and the purpose of their project. After the performance, the host asked the children different questions bases on the drama. The children raised their hands and answered, and a little girl could even accurately tell our lines. Through the wonderful performances and simple explanations of the actors, the children not only gained happiness, but also increased their biological knowledge.

1st iGEM Festival in UESTC

  For the pre-iGEMers which is high school students and undergraduates, they’ve already acquired some knowledge of synthetic biology and have heard of iGEM. What we should do is to introduce more details to them and invite them to join us. So we decided to held the 1st iGEM Festival in UESTC and designed two parts, one is game stage and the other is iGEM introduction.

Game stage

  We designed 2 games with the combination of iGEM and synthetic biology. We used our board game Bio-Chess and iGEM Q&A to make students get to know us in a more fun and comprehensive way. Only those who wins the Bio-Chess will have a chance to join in the Q&A part. And the quiz part is also based on the chess procedure. Through these games, students know more about iGEM and synthetic biology. They said that it was of great fun and the designing of Bio-Chess is unexpected and brilliant.

iGEM Introduction

  On the introduction, we told the pre-iGEMers what is synthetic biology and iGEM. Through introduction, they got to know iGEM in a more specific way. Different from what they searched on the internet, we told them what we would do for the competition and what we would gain in joining this. After the introduction, high school students and undergraduates showed their great interests in it and asked many questions about what they should do and prepare for iGEM. And we also did a live show on the hottest platform in China with over 1300 people watching.