Our team members participated in a series of outreach events, geared towards educating the public. We wanted to help people understand the importance of synthetic biology and to get people excited about the field and how its applications can affect their lives in a positive way. We also wanted to be able to convey components of our project in ways that people could easily understand. Our public engagement and education platform was able to impact really different types of people, from high school seniors with some knowledge of biochemistry to tourists at the MIT Museum to science teachers from across the country.
MIT Museum Exhibit
Our team spent an afternoon in August at the MIT Museum. We engaged with patrons in discussions about some synthetic biology topics and some of the topics from our project.
We designed posters that conveyed these ideas in a way that anyone could understand, and we had hands-on activities to supplement each station.
St. Paul's High School Outreach
We spent a morning with rising high school seniors enrolled in a Molecular Biology course over the summer. The students had a fair background in biochemistry and genetics and so the goal of our 90-minute lesson was to introduce synthetic biology and our project. We hoped that at the end of this session, the students would have gained an understanding of synbio, biological circuits and artificial control of alternative splicing. To
We challenged the students to think of a problem they’d like to address and how they could possibly use synthetic biology to reach a solution. They only had a few minutes, but they were still able to come up with some great ideas, including:
telomere shortening to reach immortality,
design germs that can eat plastic,
creating gene drives that create ivory to prevent poaching elephants,
and designing cells to notify that brain cancer is developing.
BoSTEM Scholar Panel
One morning, Ashley and Sannidhi were able to sit on a panel session for the BoSTEM Scholar’s Academy. The students were from lower-income backgrounds and some attended under-resourced schools. The goal of the panel was for the help students become more aware of the steps and well as the perseverance required to make their dream careers STEM a reality.
BioBuilder Teacher's Workshop
Our team was invited to speak at the BioBuilder Teacher’s Workshop and share our experiences of the iGEM journey.
InGenius Prep at Lab Central
Our team was invited to speak with students interested in Synthetic Biology, part of the InGenius Lab program at Lab Central, Cambridge. Adil and Sannidhi spoke about the challenges and successes we as an iGEM team faced as well as explained our project in more detail.