Education and Public Engagement at BioHackathon

iGEM Presentation
Bioethics safety presentation

Ethics and Safety are two crucial components to transforming the research done in the field of synthetic biology into applications with real societal impact. However, the intersection of passionate scientists and zealous entrepreneurs provides a prime opportunity for misunderstandings and ignorance to cause substantive adverse consequences. Because synthetic biology technologies do not fit neatly into traditional business models, it can be easy to overlook some of the key considerations in pursuit of innovation. Nevertheless, a strong spirit of responsible entrepreneurship will help the field progress. In order to help entrepreneurs gain the insight and intuition required to evaluate synthetic biology technologies, we volunteered at HackLife, Harvard’s 1st Annual Biohackathon.

At HackLife, we gave a presentation to the hackathon participants about the importance of biosafety and biosecurity as well as the difference between them. Through case studies and re-enacted scenarios, we spread awareness of some of the unique problems that entrepreneurs in synthetic biology might face. We also operated a “help table” where hackathon participants could come and discuss the logistical difficulties with implementing their ideas.

Help desk at BioHackathon