In order to boost the public's engagement and acknowledgement in science, specifically speaking of synthetic biology and bioengineering, we have made several efforts in education and public outreach. Not only did we hold events like conferences and workshops, but we also expanded our scope into the online community and networks, namely Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook. Our works can be classified into 2 aspects: Science Communication and Public Engagement. Here are the detailed elaborations of what we've done.
2021 Taiwan iGEM Meetup Conference
The Taiwan iGEM Meetup Conference for this year was held on July 3rd, 2021 online. We deemed this meetup the best chance for us to present our project to other iGEM teams in Taiwan. During the "Team Presentation" period, each team showed their ideas and set forth the main concept of their project, and so did we. We attempted to share more about UTUC, miRNA-related techniques, and the current problems of dialysis in Taiwan. After our presentation, we received several questions from other teams on our Q&A platform regarding the advantages of using magnetic beads to catch target miRNAs before RT-PCR, the structure of RNA. We replied to most of the questions and were able to simultaneously clarify our own thoughts. See Collaborationspage for information about our question-collecting document or more.
Not only did we convey our ideas and information about UTUC, but we also learned from other teams' delivery. During the "team presentation" part, some teams caught our eyes. For instance, NTHU-Taiwan tries to solve pine wilt disease caused by Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. Their mechanism is to use RNAi to interfere with important genes of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, cultivating a pine tree that can resist infection. In addition, their dry-lab work is promising. They improved the model to predict the density of pine trees planted in the artificial forest or natural forest, which can effectively slow down the spread of pine wilt.
To sum up, the Q&A area offered a well-organized discussing space for each team to improve their project and learn from others, and the presentation section also greatly enhanced our understandings of each project's scientific aspects. Therefore, this meetup was a mutual learning, and played a crucial role in science communication among all teams and their respective members.
Fig.1 NTHU-Taiwan and their presentation on solving pine wilt disease
Fig.2 Our team presenting "dialysis population" to all the other teams, which is a part of our delivery
We decided to create a YouTube Channel to widely inform the public about the iGEM competition, miRNA, UTUC, and more. This is because YouTube is the most popular streaming service, and we believed that videos are simpler and more impressive than information that is only written in scientific articles. YouTube can help us reach more audiences, achieving the purpose of "education".
The topics of our animation clips included UTUC, miRNA, iGEM, and the health care knowledge of UTUC and dialysis patients. The audience would follow up the steps as we did in the brainstorm of our previous projects, so they could fully understand the main concept of GotCha. Through the introduction of iGEM and synthetic biology, the audience would know the importance and potential of the implementation of synthetic biology. After that, we tried to arouse the awareness of kidney health care, which could lead to chronic kidney failure and end up in daily dialysis treatment or even UTUC.
Fig.3 Our YouTube Channel: iGEM2021 CSMU Taiwan
See Education page for more.
Social Media Accounts
To reach a bigger audience online, especially those who are frequent users of Instagram and Facebook, we decided to manage both of our accounts and take the opportunity to spread more information. Our main target audiences are the general public and those who are interested in synthetic biology, and if possible, those who are potential iGEM-lovers.
Through frequently updating our accounts, we hope our audience can get a better look into:
- What iGEM is
- What SynBio is
- The information of UTUC
- How to design an experiment
- The information of Dry-Lab modeling
- Some basic information about our project "GotCha"
- The knowledge and experience gained from the interview
Some topics were already elaborated in our videos, so we put our video links in and turned them into "IGTV", which simultaneously promoted our YouTube channel.
Our "Experimental Design" post, giving information regarding our experiments
Our "Virtual Meet-ups" post, sharing our experiences of collaborating with other iGEM teams
Our "What is iGEM?" post, which is the video link of our very first video
Receiving heart-warming words from other iGEM teams
See Educationpage for more.
Experience sharing with Nantou Shiuhkuang Senior High School
During the virtual Experience sharing, which we met online on Meet, we not only provided the high school students a better understanding of what synthetic biology, the iGEM competition, and our topic are all about, but also made a questionnaire from Google form for them to answer. (For more information about the questionnaire, please see Human Practices.) Through the sharing and questionnaire given, we hope to build a two-way communication of what they couldn't understand and the information we are trying to convey.
See Educationpage for more.
UTUC and Health Education Workshop in CSMU
iGEM, UTUC, health care instructions, relevant chronic diseases, and more, were all part of our presentation. We gave our audiences a simple but clear guide into the main science parts of our project, and asked for their feedback on it. Two questionnaires were conducted, one for their “acknowledgements before our presentation” and the other for “understandings after our presentation”. For more information, see Human Practices.
Fig.11 Taking the temperature due to COVID-19 restrictions
Fig.12 Introducing the iGEM competition
Fig.13 Introducing UTUC
Fig.14 A group photo of all the participants
See Educationpage for more.