What are human practices? Why do we need to do them? Human practices are doing reaching out activites and incorporating ethics, sustainability, education and more. Human practices mean make connections with the community so that we can accomplish our project from many dimensions. Our team thinks education and public engagement is one of the most important activities we should do. In Japan, students only learn basic parts of biology if they don’t want to learn more. Even in some university’s medi cal faculty enter exams, students can choose using chemistry and physics over biology. We feel that not many people are studying biology. So we wanted children to know what is biology and what possibilities biology can have.
We have been working on to spread out how important and interesting the biology and science are.We tried to make connections with local people who have not studied biology in details yet; mainly children in primary school and middle school.
On November 20th and 21st of 2016, our team, botchan lab participated in our university festival. We held an event where many children came to do some experiments. We conducted experiments of lighting Escherichia coli by introducing GFP genes and also DNA extraction from broccolis.
On April 9th, we visited children’s center and held an experiment event. We prepared several easy experiments that children can try. We tried to let children feel what science is and let children think how those experiments work. At the same time, we taught children how researchers think when conducting an experiment, first, think of a consequence and then conduct an experiment, then think why you get those results. We also talked about iGEM and about our project to children. It seems li ke children are very interested about iGEM and that a lot of bacteria are functioning in our stomach.
On June 10th, we participated in the event in the local shopping center. In this event, more than 100 children came to this event. In this event there are shows and presentations done by other students from Tokyo University of science. We conducted several experiments in this event as well. Most children seemed to had fun and they told us that they spent a great time there. In this event,not only children but adults also enjoyed the event. Some people told us that they haven’t doing science for long time so it was nice to do experiments.
Our activity was written on an article of a local newspaper!
On October 22nd, we held an experiment class for students mainly targeted on teenagers. We were quite surprised that one elderly woman also participated in this lesson since she is very interested in biology. We conducted DNA extraction experiments. We let the students extract DNA from broccoli (palnt cells), and from the students’ own buccal cells (animal cells). We extracted DNA, and also used microscope to see the both cells and taught the differences between the two.
On May 20th and 21st, we participated in ‘May Festival’, the school festival of University of Tokyo.
In this festival, with KAIT JAPAN team, Tokyo Tech team, Kyoto team, Kobe team, Nagahama team, and Gifu team, we held an exhibition booth and presented our projects with posters.
For more information, look at the collaboration page.
On August 10th, there was an opencampus where many highschool students and their parents come to see our university. In opencampus, we did a poster session and explain to comers what is iGEM and what is our project about.
We also made a handbook about GMMs, intestine environment/bacteria, and world hunger in Japanese. We included the contents that people answered that they don’t know much in the survey we took. We wanted to spread out our knowledge to people around us, especially people who haven’t study biology since we had the chance to study about these themes, so we used Japanese to make it easier for them to understand.
if you would like to read this handbook, click handbook!
Before we start any of the experiments, we took a lecture held in our university that all the professors, researchers, and students who belong to a lab take. Normally, 1~3rd year students don’t take this lecture, and our team members are all 2nd or 3rd year students, but since we’re doing projects mainly by ourselves, we took this lecture. This lecture is about the safety of using labs and what are the rules and laws on using ‘Genetically Modified Organisms’ including ‘The Cartagena Protocol’, also known as ‘Law Concerning the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity through Regulations on the Use of Living Modified Organisms’
As well as explaining what is iGEM and what our project is about, we thought that we have to study more about the project.So, we decided to visit several companies and give them presentations so that we can get advice.
In February, we visited Leave a Nest, a company mainly engaged in science business. Since Leave a Nest was holding a competition of researches regarding intestine environments. We gave a presentation and got many pieces of advice since we just started the project and our protocols had a lot of mistakes. On February 19th, we visited University of Kyoto and participated in meeting with many iGEM teams from Japan. In detail, look at the collaboration page.
＜Laws and regulation＞
Creating GMOs/ GMMs (genetic modified organisms/ genetic modified microorganisms) is happening quite often in our labs. However, we thought we have to know about how the laws and regulations work in Japan when we look ahead to the future with our projects. Our team created a document of GMM legislations with other 8 iGEM teams from all over the world. We were surprised of the differences between each country of GMM legislations. Each country has a different view of GMMs and it appears to the laws and regulations. For the document, look at the collaboration page.