Team:SCUT-China A/Practice Overview



        The heavy metal pollution is very severe in south China. However, it is very inconvenient for the public to learn about and detect the heavy metal pollution in the water sources around them. Thus, we try to design a low-cost, fast and portable tool for the public to detect the heavy metal ions in tap water and rivers around. Factories can also use it to check whether the concentration of heavy metal arrives the national drinking water safety standards.
        To better understand the pollution status of heavy metals in Guangdong province, and whether our project has achieved our goal of bringing people convenience, we carried out a series of social practice. Our practice can be briefly summarized in three parts:
        At first, we interviewed experts in environment, law and biological engineering, and an official of Environmental Protection Administration to collect their suggestions on our project.
        Besides, we visited and interviewed some members of an electroplating factory, asking for their opinions on our project and collecting water samples for demonstration of our work.
        Moreover, we conducted a questionnaire survey about public awareness of heavy metal knowledge and the demand for public science education, and tried to promote and popularize the knowledge of heavy metal pollution, synthetic biology, biological safety and iGEM, according to the feedback of the questionnaire
        According to the suggestions and opinions we got from this practice, we obtained many practical ideas and then improved the final effect of our project.
        What's more, we exchanged project ideas and experience with many other iGEM teams. For some teams, we helped each other with the projects in order to have a better performance together in the competition.

The overview of our practice is as followings:

        We interviewed Guining Lu, a professor of environmental studies, about the pollution status of heavy metals, existing detection means and asked for advices on our project.

        We interviewed Xiongwen Yang, a lawyer as well as a professor of Law School, about the existing policies and regulations about biological products.

        We interviewed the Environmental Protection Administration in Zhongshan City, to acquire the policy about the environmental monitoring, the regulations of polluted water discharge and opinions on our project.


        We visited an electroplating factory to collect water samples for verifying our project’s effect in realistic environment, and asked the responsible person what problems they would encounter in the practical testing.

        We interviewed three professors of biological engineering, Junjiu Huang, Yaqin Wang and Lizhen Huang, asking for suggestions on our project.

Public Engagement and Education

        We set up iGEM Club and organized winter training and weekly presentation letting freshmen have a better understanding of synthetic biology. We also mentored new teams with guidance of project design.

        We carried out a teach-in for the visitors to raise public awareness of heavy metal pollution in the Science Center in Guangdong.

        We were participated in Public Science Education Contest in Tianhe District to popularize scientific knowledge to the public.

        We hold Life Science Knowledge Contest with another club aiming to pass on more biology knowledge to all students in our university.

        We set some games and introduced our project in Biological Festival at Sun Yet-sen University so that the teachers and students had a basic understanding of synthetic biology.

        We went to a primary school for Sanxiaxiang and used simple words and images to inspire children’s interest in biology.

        We were honor to invite professor Zhaozheng Guo from BGI to launch a lecture about bioethics at school.

        We hold a teach-in with SYSU-Software in the Second High School in Guangzhou City and taught students the basic concepts of synthetic biology and iGEM.

        We made a scientific education cartoon of gene to illustrate what is gene and how transgenosis happen.


        We mentored a new team SCUT-FSE-CHINA with our experience of iGEM. Besides, we guided them how to standardize the genes. In return, they guided us in modeling and debug our APP.


        We collaborated with them to predict the parameters of our devices. We used their platform to simulate the expression of the operon MerR-merr, and we shared the data we measured and our feedback to help them improve their platform. Moreover, they helped troubleshoot and debug our APP.


        We helped each other to complete or repeat some experiments. We helped SYSU-CHINA team to finish a western blot, and they helped us to repeat the experiment verifying the lysis gene expression.


        We joined in CCIC and exchanged our ideas with other iGEMers.

        We held iGEM Southern China Regional Meeting with SZU-China and learned a lot from the meeting.

        We had a meet-up with PKU and got lots of inspiration from the previous projects.