Education and Public Engagement
After the 2016 Giant Jamboree, team members of BIT-China couldn’t wait to share their experience of participating in iGEM. With the coming of the cold winter, we came up with an idea to start the winter camp and light the fire. Students of different faculties such as Life Science, Electronic Engineering, Software, Art Design came to our winter camp.
We invited our instructor Prof. Chun Li to give a general introduction about synthetic biology and iGEM competition, which inspired many students’ interest in synthetic biology and they wanted to know more about the logic design and skills required to start a project.
Many of them wished to take systematic courses to have better understanding of the core concept about synthetic biology including “design, build and test”. They would like to not only gain more biological knowledge, but also know how to give a good presentation and integrate the mathematical equations into the iGEM project. Based on their needs, we prepared several lectures for everyone who may be interested in the skills required for iGEM competition and the speakers were our instructors and team members. Here are the topics:
Our GPCR model based on three presuppositions:
- (1) The history and development of synthetic biology (Chun Li)
- (2) Literature searching and reading (Hongyu Yang)
- (3) Photoshop training (Zeyan Li)
- (4) Academic writing and English presentation training (Zeyan Li)
- (5) System biology and mathematical model (Pengcheng Zhang)
In the late September, in order to promote synthetic biology and iGEM, we held a preaching meeting about synthetic biology and iGEM for all the students came from all faculties in BIT. At the meeting, we had a total of three links, the first link was to introduce iGEM and synthetic biology to the students. The second link was brainstorm， which let students think about our project's innovative points and flash points with based on our project's background. The third link was a free exchange session. Students can communicate with us about things related to our project and team. After this meeting, the innovation of our project is sublimated further.
At the 85th anniversary of Beijing Institute of Technology, we were invited to show iGEM and our project to alumni. In our display case, we played some interesting biology games and we told students what synthetic biology is. Then we introduced our former projects to audiences and they can had a good understanding about iGEM through our past competition experiences. Meanwhile, we improved our project through the suggestions given by students. In this open-ended activity, we communicated with more than 3000 people and got more than 500 suggestions. In the open-ended activity, we select sweet substances as our better inducers.
TEAM UP WITH YAN’AN UNIVERSITY
This year，we invited four students from Yan'an University to be our team members to design and implement our project together. In this process, they not only expanded their knowledge of synthetic biology and improved their experimental skills, but also learned how to build an iGEM team. All those will help them to establish an iGEM team next year on their own. More importantly, we were getting closer to the idea of iGEM and spread synthetic biology to more people.
In September, we were interviewed by the Propaganda Department of Beijing Institute of Technology, and we had launched a website campaign on the BIT official website of synthetic biology and iGEM. In the course of the interview, we carried out scientific exchanges on the knowledge of sweet substances.
COOPERATION WITH OTHER UNIVERSITIES
At the latter phases of our project, we organized University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou University and Jilin University to make a big conference about what we had done so far and held three scientific speeches to introduce the development and the common use of sweeteners in our daily life, which contributed to the increase of popularity of iGEM as well as Synthetic Biology. Ultimately, we collected the critical advice from the audiences in time and accept one of them, which recommended us to set saccharose as the standard sweetener, after that running the test would be more reasonable.
EXPERIENCE SHARING IN ITCCC
In October, 2017, BIT-China was invited to take part in the CGEM conference held by International Teenager Competition and Communication Center. About 8 teams participated in the conference. All of them made splendid speeches to present their own projects and discuss with each other. During the special journey we knew plenty of exciting ideas and got many useful help.
At the meeting in Yanqi lake organized by University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, we met with microbiology experts and researchers. Speaking to largely technical audiences, our team members presented our research and contacted with leaders in the molecular biology industry. Through showcasing our poster and iGEM wiki, we engaged in stimulating conversations, which contains the significance of iGEM to us as undergraduate and our shared vision with iGEM about the importance of engaging the public on the safety and ethics of synthetic biology.