Human Practices: Silver medal
Nothing in science has any value
if it is not communicated well
Human practices include outreach to people from all walks of life, i.e the scientific crowd as well as those outside the scientific circle, and using the suggestions from these discussions to improve your project.
Student OutreachIn June 2017, we gave a presentation to a group of students from a school for handicapped students in Kolhapur city and 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 demonstrated how to use your phone camera and a drop of water to make a simple microscope, as well as how to use a Fold-Scope, which is an inexpensive and easy-to-handle substitute for a simple microscope.
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 ( modeling as well as lab work). We showed them our iGEM lab and showed them different types of equipment 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.
All India iGEM Meet-upTo 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. Apart from team presentations, we also arranged guest lectures by Dr. Sanjeev Galande, Dr. Nishad Matange, Dr. Sandeep Krishna and Robert Ramirez Garcia, a former iGEMer from Team Avery, France. Our audience was a mixture of team members, students from our institute as well as faculty members.
Experts SessionOne of our private sponsors is Lupin Limited. On Oct 31, we went to Lupin Research Park in Pune. We gave a presentation to some of the industry experts and researchers working in TB research. They gave us valuable feedback on the feasibility and relevance of our project. They suggested that we should consider attenuating bacteria before making their replication faster as an added biosafety measure. They also talked about extrapulmonary tuberculosis
SurveyWe decided to reach a bigger audience and created a survey to collect data and suggestions from experts in field for safely implementing our project. Also we would like to address the social stigma associated with genetic engineering. We shared this survey on our social media accounts (facebook and twitter) and also sent it to our IISER community(different IISERs in India) via email. We also circulated it to different pharmaceutical companies and iGEM team PIs.