Bolivia has a major issue with science communication and therefore, most citizens lack science culture. This was our main reason to start different activities that would engage and inform the public in general about biotechnology and synthetic biology. Here we present a summary of the different activities carried out by the iGEM Bolivia team.
Faced with the need for a visual renovation for our social networks and in order to have a more sophisticated representation. Our iGEM team received intensive training in visual identity and graphic design from interested graphic designers interested in iGEM Bolivia. We acquired intermediate level skills in graphic design and visual identity platforms. This is the product of the complete renovation of our visual identity in May of this year, created by iGEMers: Beatriz Medrano, Franz Quiroga, Gabriela Ayala and Sol Llanos.
The new visual identity has been well received by our followers as it has more harmony in its design and use of colors. In our Facebook profile, you can appreciate the old design we used in 2020
Social Media Content
This was our core activity ever since we formed the group in 2020. During quarantine, we started understanding how social networks operate and finally we built a publications calendar. First, the topics were random but around a year ago, we workedwork with a defined topic per month. We have covered from basic biotechnology concepts to specific ones about our project: biotechnology classification, microorganisms, bioreactors, biosensors and even a period talking about vaccines to educate our public given the situation.
Images (anniversary, did you know?)
Review of Scientific Articles
Here we present some examples of the main areas we covered during our daily publications:
Graphs and data of the scope in social networks (Facebook and Instagram):
What is CONCIENCIA?
As members of iGEM Bolivia in the field of Science Communication, we created around October 2020 the Podcast ConCiencia. Our goal is to familiarize people with scientific research, genetic engineering and biotechnology. We discovered that there was a problem: scientific podcasts are not very popular in Bolivia. Our target audience is public in general but especially young people, so we found that the best way to achieve our main goal is to share authentic experiences of inspiring Bolivian professionals and students related to the biotechnology fields. Until now, we have more than a dozen interviews published and other special episodes. We are very satisfied that this project has acquired an international impact, having reproductions in different countries. With this initiative, we have been able to develop leadership, collaboration and communication skills, while creating a close-knit team. We are currently working on our second season with the mid-term goals of expanding to Latin America and becoming one of the leading Biotechnology podcasts in Bolivia.
ConCiencia Podcast with the aim of reaching the general public and generate interest in the area of biotechnology was well received not only in Bolivia, but also in other countries such as: Chile, United States, Belgium, Portugal and Mexico. We can define this as the beginning of a journey in which Bolivia is being taken into account as a country that knows about biotechnology and has biotechnologists around the world as reflected in some of our podcasts. Therefore, we are very motivated to continue with this work
BIOTECHNOLOGY INTRODUCTION TEXTBOOK
As the first Bolivian team to participate in the iGEM competition, we encourage young people to learn about Biology, Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology. Therefore, we developed an educational guide for high school students to learn the basics of different topics in biology and biotechnology, in addition to offering different practical experiments with simple materials and freely available to enjoy and marvel at science.
The development of this educational guide was extraordinary as it allowed us to work closer with our tutors, with which, our main contributions to education are:
Develop a guide to transmit scientific information in a practical way.
Encouraging young people in science, biotechnology and synthetic biology. And we are sure that in the future there will be more teams representing Bolivia in the iGEM competition.
Develop relationships with young high school students and learn about their interest in science.
DIVULGATION IN PRESS AND SOCIAL EXPOSURE
We were able to manage the communication of our progress in different media in order to publicize the work being done by the team and invite the population to support us. The advantage of reaching mass media such as television and newspapers is that we were able to reach a wider audience.
Last year we had the opportunity to be interviewed on the television program "Jaque Mate" of the university channel of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) - TVU, because we won the 3rd prize in the university fair "INVESTIGA UMSA 2020", where we presented our project as "Development of an arsenic biosensor through synthetic biology".
Interview on UMSA TVU channel
Another opportunity we had, was to publish 4 articles in the magazine "LIBRE EMPRESA" on various topics related to biotechnology.
In September 2021, the scientific newspaper RESPUESTA Digital, interviewed our team and wrote an article about us entitled "Innovative project under construction: "ARSENITO" arsenic biosensor with genetic circuits to detect arsenic in water".
Publication in the scientific journal Respuesta digital
A second participation in mass media was in mid-September, in which we were invited to an interview in the television program "Enfoque universitario" of the TV channel of the Universidad Mayor de San Simón of Cochabamba (UMSS) to talk about our project.
Interview in the program "Enfoque Universitario".
All this presence in the media allowed more people to get to know our project and support us in social networks. This also attracted more volunteers and members to join the iGEM Bolivia team.