The BCA Month is a month-long campaign project organized by iGEM and three other ASIJ clubs—Pre-Medical Society, Fight On!, and Shine On Kids!—aimed at spreading education and awareness for breast cancer to members of our community. Through this deep collaboration between four ASIJ clubs, we hope to hold a continuous awareness campaign that targets beyond just students and families, but also the faculty, staff, and other associated members of our Japanese community. Multiple on-campus and virtual events are organized for the purpose of signifying the importance of breast cancer throughout the entire month of October, rather than limiting it to one date.
Each week, a short blurb and online pamphlet are distributed to the ASIJ community through the HS Bulletin and ASIJ Parent Newsletter. This information is sent to all students, faculty, and parents at our school. We believe that through these weekly blurbs, we will be able to inform the Japanese community regarding new information on breast cancer. We specifically covered the following topics: general information, detection, treatments, life after breast cancer, outreach: how you can take action.
BCA Awareness Month Newsletter
A 2-minute animation video on breast cancer promotion created by our iGEM team has been displayed on the TV screens and monitors throughout the ASIJ Campus, starting October 1st, in hopes of engaging our full ASIJ community on this important topic. Our designed pamphlets targeting general educational information on breast cancer to outreach programs in Tokyo, Japan, will be printed into an official pamphlet by the ASIJ Communications Center and distributed to faculty members and all ES, MS, HS students to take home. A special quality about our pamphlets is that they aren't only in English. Our team has translated our pamphlets into multiple language versions, including Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Filipino. Although most awareness projects target students and families, we've noticed that our staff and hard-working cleaners at our school are barely targeted as key audiences, and there is a lack of information that goes out to them. As most of our cleaners and staff do not speak Japanese or English, our translated pamphlets will be accessible to them so that breast cancer awareness engages everyone on our campus, not just those who speak English.
Additionally, our clubs' members have designed multiple posters on relevant breast cancer topics like detection and outreach programs that will be posted around the school campus throughout October. We have ordered pink ribbons, which we will cut into breast cancer ribbons and combine with a small pin, to distribute to people in our community. iGEM, Pre-Med, and Fight On! members will be wearing the pin the entire month, to have a small physical reminder about the importance of breast cancer. Pink masks will also be distributed to our faculty members in all divisions, ranging from ES, MS, HS, and even ELC. While the breast cancer awareness month event may be limited to our school due to pandemic concerns, we believe that this is the first and most important step we need to take towards educating and raising awareness on breast cancer.
Pamphlets for BCA Awareness Month
We organized two on-campus booths for our Breast Cancer Awareness Month event. On October 14th, we held an Educational/Awareness Outreach Booth at the ASIJ Courtyard. The event featured presentations from our members, interactive activities, and most importantly our guest speaker— Ms. Sakiko Suzuki from RTFC Japan, a renowned non-profit breast cancer organization in Japan. We displayed breast cancer models and held other interactive activities for students and faculty to pass by and play with.
Figure 1: 10/14 BCA Month Event
Figure 2: 10/14 BCA Month Event
On October 15th, we organized an all school Pink Out day, where everyone came to school wearing pink, the symbolic color for breast cancer.. By uniting our community together to take a stance on breast cancer, we believe that this will develop awareness and knowledge on breast cancer and early detection.
On October 27th, we will have our second booth at the courtyard, where we will visit MS classes to give a brief overview on breast cancer and hold an open panel discussion in the HS for students to freely discuss their concerns or questions they still have regarding the disease.
Our Breast Cancer Awareness Month event helped target our school community, and was not only limited to students, but to our faculty, staff, and cleaners. We believed that through our interactive activities, panel discussions, weekly newsletters, and pamphlet distribution, we were able to actively interact with our community on the topic of breast cancer, and help them develop their understanding on the nature of its disease and how to take action.
The posters and write ups that we used for Breast Cancer Awareness Month are linked on this wiki for teams to use and reference in their own outreach programs. For our Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we plan on collaborating with other iGEM teams to help spread our materials and framework to other communities. In the future, we hope that teams can disseminate our materials to their local communities to allow for our awareness to reach a global audience.
2021 Dry Lab Autumn Bootcamp
In conjunction with Korea_HS, we organized a dry lab webinar on September 25 2021 that aims to educate high school students on the applications of modeling software in scientific research.
Figure 3: Dry Lab Autumn Webinar
Figure 4: Dry Lab Autumn Closing Photo
Both Korea_HS and ASIJ_Tokyo realized that in our projects this year, modeling has served as a way to verify our findings and demonstrate how our project could be implemented in a hypothetical setting. Therefore, we realized the importance of showing other young students the potential and importance of modeling in an experimental setting.
For the event, we organized four presentations: “An Interactive Tutorial for Aptamer-Biomarker Modeling” (Annmarie Hashimoto, 2021 ASIJ_Tokyo Member), “PyMol 101” (Misaki Inoue, Imperial College London Student, 2019 ASIJ_Tokyo Leader), “Benchling & Pepfold 101” (Hannah Oh & Bojeong Kim, 2021 Korea_HS Member), and “Cell Designer 101” (Matthew Lee, 2021 Korea_HS Leader). These presentations aimed to showcase different modeling softwares that both teams used throughout the iGEM season and their applications in our different experiments.
Upon conclusion of our presentations, we held two breakout sessions with interactive activities. Additionally, since many participants were interested in participating in iGEM, we also gave a brief overview on synthetic biology and the experience of participating in the competition.
We thank the participants of our Dry Lab Autumn Bootcamp event for joining and interacting with us, and have plans to hold similar events such as a Wet Lab Bootcamp in the future with Korea_HS.
For those who were not able to attend our Dry Lab Autumn Bootcamp, a recording of the event can be provided upon request.
Collaboration with Summer Passport
As part of our effort to educate others—especially younger children—about biology, members of our iGEM team joined the CSI class in ASIJ’s Summer Passport program. During this class, we assisted in a lab involving the extraction of DNA filaments from a banana. Before conducting the lab, Summer Passport and iGEM student members taught the middle school students in the CSI class about the molecular structure of
DNA, as well as other basic knowledge about genetics.
We hope that our educational outreach events can help younger children develop a passion for Synthetic Biology and its integral applications in modern society.
Figure 5: Summer Passport DNA Extraction Experiment
Since both Korea_HS and ASIJ_Tokyo based their projects on breast cancer this year, we joined forces to create two educational videos on the disease—one on education and one on awareness.
The first video we created is a short four-minute video that gives a brief overview of what breast cancer is, detection methods and treatments for the disease. We integrated simple animations in this video to make the video accessible and understandable to a wide audience. In the month of October, both Korea_HS and ASIJ_Tokyo helped disseminate the video to our local communities as a method of educating people about breast cancer.
Video Attributions: (Introduction: Korea_HS, General Information: ASIJ_Tokyo, Detection: ASIJ_Tokyo, Treatment: Korea_HS)
The second video we created aims to raise awareness on breast cancer. In order to do this, we decided to interview people of different age groups and backgrounds—MS student, HS student, Medical Student, and Researcher. By interviewing people of different age groups, we were able to see the changes and differences in their knowledge on breast cancer. We hope that by doing this, whether our viewer is an elementary school student or an adult, they will be able to get some new knowledge out of this awareness video.
We thank all our fellow interviewees for taking their time to participate and help with the production of this educational video.
Video Attributions: (MS Student Interview: Korea_HS, HS Student Interview: ASIJ_Tokyo, Medical Student Interview: Korea_HS, Researcher Interview: ASIJ_Tokyo, Editing: ASIJ_Tokyo)
The purpose of our promotional video is to inform others about why the 2021 ASIJ iGEM team chose to focus on breast cancer detection, what we intend to create to address its prevalence in the Japanese community, and how we plan to implement our design. We use animated drawings to represent statistics on awareness, delineate the issue with current mainstream detection mechanisms, and illustrate our detection design.
This year, we distributed two pamphlets around Tokyo: one about breast cancer awareness, and another about who we are as an iGEM team and what we aim to accomplish. We distributed both of our pamphlets in classrooms at ASIJ as well as around Tokyo, handing them out at train stations in Shibuya, Futakotamagawa, Musashi-sakai, Yoga, Hanzomon, Sakurashinmachi, Toranomon Hills, Kichijoji and Roppongi.
Figure 6:Take K passing out pamphlets in our local community
Our awareness pamphlet sheds light on how common breast cancer is in Japan, and provides insight into current breast cancer detection methods. It includes information about the symptoms and risk factors for breast cancer, how often individuals should get tested for breast cancer, how much testing costs, and how women can conduct self-exams at home.
Our iGEM informational pamphlet is specific to our team and project. In it, we describe what iGEM is, why we chose to focus on breast cancer, our plan, and information about our team. We also decided to include a word bank for more uncommon words or concepts because we want our pamphlets to be accessible to everyone.