This summer, we participated in the CCiC (Conference of China IGEMer Community) which was held by a non-profit committee in China. It brought together many new and old IGEMers, professionals, scholars, students etc and provides a precious platform for academic exchanges in terms of synthetic biology. With sufficient preparation and confidence, we set foot in Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University where the forth CCIC was situated. With excitement, the knowledge feast started.
At the beginning of the meeting, Dr Ling and Dr Zhang Haoqian from blue SPAR made the opening speech. Then they discussed over the concern that how our students of biology major adapt themselves in such a rapidly developing society in which knowledge changes everyday and find their own future. During the three-day-meeting with a tight timetable, teams from around the national gave a speech with PPT in showing of their IGEM projects. After that, it came to the defense part where particular professional scholars would judge and evaluate our projects. In presentation, we began to get nervous at first, but it faded quickly. In the defense of King l.c., our project was confirmed, which also ensure our confidence in success. At the same time, each team brought posters and promote their projects to visitors. We were inspired by the superb ideas of other teams which widened our scope of knowledge and horizons.
Delighted and honored, professor Kenneth A.O from IGEM HP and professor King L.C. was invited to participate in the meeting. They told apart the classification of HP and answered the confusion about bio-safety. Researchers like Lou Chunbo and Fu Xiongfei also shared many valuable experiences with us. These let us stand on the shoulders of giants and see the wonderful world of science.
Together with our team members, we believe that the success isn’t far away!
Meeting with SCUT-CHINA_B team
On 29th July, SCUT-CHINA_B team invited us to the South China University of Technology for a meeting. Both teams introduced their project to each other and questions and opinions had been raised during discussions. After meeting, SCUT-CHINA_B team kindly gave us a tour around the school campus. This was our pleasure to meeting them and have a chance to communicate with undergraduates team.
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. (Screenshot from the live)