Human practices play an important role in our project. In the course of the 2021 iGEM season, we conducted a survey among the public about oral hygiene habits and the interest in our product and organized a quiz to educate the public on the topics of synthetic biology.
Good oral hygiene and regular tooth brushing can significantly decrease the likelihood of dental caries. However, since around ⅓ of people suffer from caries worldwide, additional measures are necessary to improve oral hygiene. We conducted a public survey, which showed that a significant amount of people are interested in an additional or alternative tooth care approach, especially when having braces or while traveling.
Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford
Martin Reichhardt is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford who has investigated SALSA protein's immunological and structural aspects. Being an author of nine scientific publications about the protein, Martin was a valuable expert for consultations while developing our idea. The key points that arose from discussions with him include the optimal regions to target in SALSA, taking glycosylation into consideration, and the potential of fighting caries via targeting SALSA.
Professor of Immunology
During our research, we asked for advice from Professor of Immunology Seppo Meri at the Medical Faculty, University of Helsinki, Finland. Prof. Meri is an expert in the complement system and SALSA protein. Prof. Seppo Meri gave us a good overview of SALSA protein and possible problems that might arise from targeting SALSA with proteases. He also pointed out things worth paying extra attention to, especially regarding the complement system. We had an extensive discussion about our project with him, during which he provided us with overall feedback and more detailed answers to guide our future research.
«Everything is impossible, until it’s done»
«There’s no limit to perfection!»
Consultations on the design of the surveys
Based on the feedback from the JulyGEM event, we contacted Jelena Rõbakova from TalTech and Liili Abuladze from Tallinn University for consultations on how to make our public survey more professional and reliable to maximize its impact. We first created an initial version of our survey and then discussed it with Ms. Rõbakova and Ms. Abuladze, who helped us make valuable improvements. They pointed out how the survey design can lead to bias and inaccurate answers. We implemented their expert advice to the survey, phrasing the questions in a way that supports getting trustworthy and information-rich responses.
Liili Abuladze is a researcher at the Estonian Institute for Population Studies in Tallinn University.
«We don’t stop when we are tired, we stop when we are done!»
«You cannot fail unless you quit!»