Education and Public Engagement
Public engagement includes taking our science out of the lab, and into the hands of common people. To present our concepts to school students, we arranged a presentation for a group from a school for underprivileged students from Kolhapur city. We gave them a brief introduction to biotechnology, synthetic biology and iGEM. We also explained simple concepts like transformation and cloning and showed them our petri plates with RFP transformed colonies.
We also gave a presentation to a group of students from prominent Junior colleges and high schools in Pune city about synthetic biology and iGEM. We also presented some of our work related to the Hijack module to them ( modelling as well as lab work). We showed them our iGEM lab and showed them different equipments that we use including the laminar hood, the PCR machine, incubator ,gel electrophoresis station. They were fascinated to see all the machines which they had only heard of or read about in textbooks.
To reach a wider audience and facilitate easy exchange of ideas, we hosted an all-India iGEM meet-up in July 2017. 9/10 Indian IGEM teams attended this meet-up, while IGEM team Peshawar joined the conference via skype. Our audience consisted professors, students from our institutes and members of other iGEM teams. We introduced iGEM, synthetic biology, and the concept of open source biology. Each team presented their project concepts while the audience participated in troubleshooting and strengthening of concepts. We arranged public lectures by Dr. Sanjeev Galande, Dr. Nishad Matange, Dr. Sandeep Krishna and Robert Ramirez Garcia, a former iGEMer from Team Avery, France, where we discussed different topics like research in biology, open source biology, modelling and experiments in biology.The entire meet-up was broadcast live on youtube, and the videos were uploaded afterwards. The meet-up helped interested students from IISER-Kolkata, who wanted to know more about iGEM.
We also made a team video celebrating our team spirit in order to spread the word about iGEM and about our project. Other than that, we were always approachable on our facebook and twitter accounts, and we clarified numerous doubts related to iGEM.