This year, we've done a lot of works on human practices with painstaking effort. In addition, we consider seriously and extensively whether our project is safe, responsible and good for the world. Therefore, we designed and carried out numerous human practices around our project, and we integrate a lot of human practices considerations into every part of our project. Besides, we also conduct public engagement and education activities to have conversations with participates while inviting public input to shape the direction of our work and spreading synthetic biology and iGEM.
We really want to spread synthetic biology and iGEM to the public especially college students. Moreover, we found out most of the patients with hyperuricemia did not understand and care their own disease, and the public have so much misunderstanding about transgenic technology. So we conduct many public engagement and education activities to establish dialogues with participates while inviting public input to shape the direction of our work and spreading synthetic biology and iGEM. See all of our public engagement and education activities in this page.
In China, “Undergraduate Training Program for Innovation and Entrepreneurship” is the most direct and convenient access to research for undergraduates. Many undergraduates who have interest in research would participant in this program and apply for projects they found attractive, which can help them get exercised in the related academic field. Since there are a large amount of students taking part in the program, experience sharing meetings are held every year to invite students doing research to share their ideas, designs, defenses, and implements. This year, we took part in the Training Program with our project of iGEM and finally got the sponsorship of the national fund. Under this situation, we are privileged to be invited as the sharer in the 2017 Undergraduate Training Program for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Experience Sharing Meeting held by West China Medical School, and spread our iGEM project to the audience in this meeting.
We have two purposes in this meeting, one is to introduce our project to the medical students of West-China Medical School, answer their questions and collect their advices, because we think opinions from medical students are valuable for us. After the meeting we communicated with some students having great interest in our project and expressed their concerns about the risk of immunoreaction caused by bacteria in hemodialysis device. We interpreted our plans trying to avoid this problem and decided to thoroughly and systematically think about the solution to immunoreaction.
Another purpose of us in this experience sharing meeting is to propagandize synthetic biology and iGEM to medical students. We introduced the concept of synthetic biology, the research contents of synthetic biology, the recent research progress in synthetic biology, the connotation of iGEM, our iGEM team, what we had done, etc. Many students are fascinated by synthetic biology and iGEM, and asked a lot of questions such as detailed research contents of synthetic biology and requirements for going in for iGEM. We answered their questions carefully and encouraged them to join us. Medical students with abundant accumulation of biological knowledge and further potential in research are the ideal audiences for our promotion of synthetic biology and iGEM, By this chance of sharing, we try to call on more people to join us and we hope they can fall in love with synthetic biology and iGEM.
12 July 2017, we participated in Yuzhang Big Bang Theory Scientific Research Project Competition together with students from KU Leuven, Ghent University and Wuyuzhang Honors College of Sichuan University. This competition is held by Wuyuzhang Honors College of Sichuan University aimed at helping students from different fields sharing their research works and experiences. This competition is presented as research project competition, and students got onto the stage to introduce their projects and answering questions asked by judges and students under the stage. At last, competitors will be awarded according to judges’ scoring. Judges of this year are prof. Ben Earl Alexander from Harvard University and Mrs. Zhang Lulu from Sichuan University.
We introduced our project of this year to everyone there and got praise from judges. And we are awarded with the Best Academic Performance Award. What is more important is that , we presented our project to students from different background, different countries and different majors with an international mindset. And we promoted synthetic biology and iGEM, and helped students to get to know what they are and what they do. Besides, students asked questions about iGEM such as how to participate, how to decide the project, if there must be people of biomedical majors in the team and so on. We gave responses to every questions raised by them and they were all satisfied, even more, there were students who expressed their willing of join iGEM teams of their university when they got back.
West China School of Stomatology Sichuan University is a country's top, world-class school in stomatology field. Every year there is a forum on research innovation to stimulate their students' interest and to promote students' participation in scientific research. This year's Innovation Forum of Stomatology Students organized by the West-China School of Stomatology invited our team to share our project. It's a great honor for us to show our project to these excellent students. In addition, the synthetic biology and the iGEM competition are also introduced in detail. We encouraged these outstanding students participate in it sincerely.
By communicating with the doctors from West-China Hospital Sichuan University, we learned that most of the patients did not understand the knowledge of hyperuricemia, resulting in poor compliance and therapeutic effects in the course of treatment. Moreover, through the statistical analysis of the questionnaire survey from hyperuricemia patients, we found that the understanding degree and attention degree of the disease in patients with hyperuricemia were very scarce and they were in need of more education. Therefore, based on the above two reasons, we have made handbook to publicize knowledge of hyperuricemia to the public, and increase the understanding and attention to hyperuricemia.
Our handbook included what is hyperuricemia, the causes of hyperuricemia, relationship between hyperuricemia and gout, prevention and treatment of hyperuricemia, food purine content list, as well as our team and the introduction of our project. On the day of the scientific exhibition in the Chengdu library (see below), we sent out nearly 500 handbooks to passers-by, and answered to their questions patiently and detailedly. We sincerely hope that the public can strengthen the understanding and attention to hyperuricemia, which is not only beneficial to the therapeutic effects, but also is more conducive to improving the health level of the whole nation.
Nowadays in China, transgenic technology is often concentrated in the field of food in the public perception. Because of media speculation and improper publicity, most people are over-concerned about the disadvantages of genetically modified food/Transgenic food so that genetically related topics often raise public tensions. This leads to the fact that the drawbacks of transgenic technology are over-amplified while the benefit of GM in many areas is seriously neglected. Therefore, we are intended to present the public with the advantages and authentic appearance of GM, which will provide a more dialectical and rational way of thinking for the public.
And as mentioned, through the questionnaire for the patients with hyperuricemia and the conversations with doctors from West China Hospital, we found that the public seems to be lack of understanding and attention of hyperuricemia. As college students with a strong sense of social responsibility, we are eager to educate the citizens about hyperuricemia and we would like to receive more comments and suggestions on our subject. Consequently, to enhance our cooperation with other iGEM teams, we actively invited 3 iGEM teams in southwest China to jointly organize and held the 1 week exhibition in Chengdu Library with the theme of “transgenic and human health”.
As the idea of carrying out a science popularization exhibition came to us, we had successively contacted Army Medical University, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) and Sichuan University school of life science iGEM teams who were willing to cooperate on this program.
We instantly made contact with Chengdu Library which is a first-class modern city center library playing a leading role in west region of China. In 2016, the number of readers approaching Chengdu library reached 1.09 million. Hence its adequate readers flow and strong impact on the public might increase the feasibility of our exhibition.
Gotten the supports from the library, the communication with the library stuff was plain sailing. All the four teams were associated when deciding the theme, contents and poster design. We had a good cooperation and nailed it.
On the beginning day of the one-week-long exhibition, we the four teams gathered in the library early, and handed out handbooks and little gifts to the public, introducing our exhibition. We explained the contents on the posters and answered the questions proposed by the viewer. We shared our opinions about transgenic technique and accepted their advice on the exhibition. “I got an objective and all-round view on GM products,” said one viewer.
We decided that the theme of the exhibition was “transgenic and human health” and the main contents went about disease therapy, biologic pharmacy, disease detection and environment improvement, corresponding to the projects of the teams. Accomplishing the designing and printing of posters a week ahead and the putting-up and arrangement of the exhibition one day ahead, we prepared the exhibition carefully.
In the following days, we arranged team members from each team to be responsible for the maintenance and explanation of the exhibition. On the last exhibition day, we withdrew the posters and cleaned the exhibition hall together.
We SCU-WestChina also introduced our project in the exhibition besides the knowledge about GM. We hoped that the viewers could know more about hyperuricemia, as well as our project, so that they could share their ideas and suggestions with us. What’s more, we handed out the handbooks on hyperuricemia to the public coming to the library. It’s honor to us if the public can know something about hyperuricemia and the GM.
It meant a lot to us to hold the exhibition on “transgenic and human health”. Firstly, we introduced the public the benefits brought by GM products, in which way the public can know about more aspects of GM, so that they can consider it in a dialectical and rational way instead of a one-sided, extreme one. Secondly, we popularized the knowledge of hyperuricemia, which made contribution to the awareness and importance of hyperuricemia. Thirdly, optimistic feedback and advice on our project were collected. Fourthly, this exhibition enhanced the communication and cooperation between the iGEM teams. You know, the exhibition wouldn’t have succeeded without wonderful collaboration and teamwork.
Architects Competition of Microorganism Application (ACMA) was a school-wide competition hold by SCU-China iGEM team. The theme this year was “Transformation of human / animal health related microorganisms”. This competition built a stage to broaden academic horizon, enhance scientific research literacy and share ideas about synthetic biology for all the students in Sichuan University.
Assisting SCU-China, we did some work in the competition. We introduced projects of Vilnius-Lithuania 2016 and Groningen 2012 to the competitors and answered the questions about the projects. We also suggested some methods to design a brand-new project. As judges in the thesis defense part, we marked, commented on and questioned about every project involved.
We thought that ACMA was quite a good chance to spread synthetic biology and iGEM competition, and competitors majoring in different subjects can always free unprecedented inspiration, which was always fantastic.