Keeping track of all the things we have done, summarizing the things we have learnt, reflecting on our action and sharing our knowledge with the public make our project much more meaningful. We established an IGEM column within the official account of Shenzhen BGI-college on the Wechat platform in March. Since then, we have documented many of our stories.
More than half of the members of our team have participated in writing articles and publishing them after being revised by our instructor and advisors. Now we have 8 articles published, covering the status quo of lung cancer molecular diagnostics, iGEMers meet-ups, synthetic biology, iGEM competition judging and discussion on our project’s future prospective.
To promote and gain support for our project, we initiated crowdfunding at different platforms.
At the beginning, we started small. We participated in the High School Crowdfunding Festival on the WeChat (Chinese Social Network) Platform and raised more than ￥9,360+additional rewards for popularity ￥316=￥9,676（approximately $1,500） within three days under the project name “A new lung cancer diagnosis method." Then we stated our mission and how we would accomplish them: "We want to create a bio-sensor used with test paper to provide a harmless, efficient and precise lung cancer gene detection method, increasing the survival rate of the patients."
We appreciated the help we received and designed a set of postcards to thank our supporters as well.
Besides this event, we also started crowdfunding on indiegogo （IGG）and received $210.
These are all photos taken in our lab or hand-drawn lab-related pictures. Our logo is printed on all postcards as well.
Then we went to the largest crowdfunding website in China, zhongchou.com, and more detailedly documented our project. The goal has been set at ¥30,000 (approximately )
$4，500). So far we have raised more than ¥8,000.
When presenting our project, we started with the introduction of synthetic biology first. Next, we moved to discuss EML4-ALK and the improved paired-dCas9 system. Then we touched a little bit on the design of the test paper. Finally, we introduced the team members and clearly listed how we would use the money we get. More than 110 people have supported us, many leaving encouraging short comments for us.
Describing our project in a vivid and understandable way to those unfamiliar with synthetic biology is not an easy task. When trying to do this, we realized we did not understand the whole project as well as we thought. So here comes the question, by how much can high school students get involved in this competition themselves, especially the design part? How much can they really absorb and how far can they reach? How much help should they receive from the advisors? Do the time they spend on learning really match what they receive? These are all good questions to be considered, and we asked them on Zhihu (China’s quora).
We luckily got a chance to attend pop science carnival in ICG-12 (The 12th International Conference on Genomics) held in Shenzhen, China. One of our team members gave a presentation on “omics for all" section which introduced what is iGEM to the public. The presentation also discussed what was our project, what we had done and what we were doing at that time. In the end, we advised teenagers to try to know what their dream career actually are and be prepared for the future.
Many of us wouldn't be able to enjoy iGEM if not for the enthusiastic lectures on synbio and iGEM given by former iGEM-ers. To thank them, we collaborated with the Shenzhen Foreign Language School team to give small science lectures to enrich STEM education in primary school and middle school.
To our surprise, the kids in primary school knew more about genes and gene detection than we thought! It turned out that they had done researches beforehand. We told them the story of the discovery of DNA’s structure and gave them a small test afterwards. Almost all of the children got all the questions correct, and we gave them postcards and badges as presents. One interesting moment was after we mentioned Rosalind Franklin’s study and how she was unable to justify her place in the discovery because of her identity as a female scientist, all the students chosen by their teams to participate in the bio quiz round were girls!
Here are some photos we took with one of the sixth grade class:
In the middle school, we gave a talk on cancer’s cause on the genetic level (oncogenes) and how gene detection could be used to aid prognosis. We managed to let them know the CRISPR/Cas9 system in terms of where it was from, how would the Cas9/dCas9 proteins work and where this system could be applied. (and then gave our project as an example.)
It was a hard task especially when it was the last class of the week! But look how focused they were!
Team members in Shenzhen were actively preparing for another presentation of iGEM and our project after Giant Jamboree, hoping to establish a new team in the Shenzhen Senior High School, one of the largest high school in the city. We had discussed the content with the biology teacher and hoped for a good result at GJ can help us attract new iGEMers~
Filming video on biosafety
Considering there is no existing video introducing biosafety in laboratory for educating new iGEMers and the public, we decided to film our own THIS IS BIOSAFETY video. A five minutes video shows a story between the boss and two novices, reveals more than15 common mistakes that can be made in laboratory and demonstrates the correct approach in laboratory. This video has been uploaded on Chinese and foreign social media where every people can watch