FCB:UANL Synbiofoam



Whether we are trying to present our project to a group of stakeholders or to introduce young kids to synthetic biology, we always seek to communicate effectively. By recognizing that there is no single approach to this matter, adapting the line of action to a given audience is more useful than attempting to use the same tactics every time.

Science communication is a multidisciplinary practice whose objective is to communicate scientific knowledge to different audiences via a variety of media while contextualizing the information to make it more accessible (1). Thus, developing activities while considering these principles would create interest from different audiences and allow us to inform, educate or change their behavior while raising awareness of the same issues we are trying to solve with the help of synthetic biology (2).


Due to the current situation with the pandemics in Mexico, we still have not been able to carry out in-person activities; however, we used social media as our main communication channel since it is one of the most used communication methods nowadays. It can be said that all the posts, comments, and interactions on social media could serve as remote meetings since they can accomplish all the communication and opinion-exchange functions found, for example, at a congress, workshop, or lecture (3). For this matter, we used as many platforms as we could, integrating the different strategies that will be described in the following paragraphs.

Regarding the pedagogy theory used, for our youngest public, we used game-based learning, since it has been reported to be an emergent effective tool to ensure learning (4). This can be a good strategy for digital learning, besides that the game design can be complemented with some other strategies. For this matter, we used study case strategies, as it has been described by many authors as a successful teaching strategy due to the generated engagement, allowing students to understand concepts in an innovative way, instead of just memorizing (5), also this can be efficient to develop problem-solving skills.

All these methods were used for the same goal: to achieve authentic learning. We decided to use this educational approach because it empowers students to comprehend, analyze, and construct concepts based on their relation with real-world problems and situations (6). It involves the use of the tools previously mentioned, in addition to the empirical analysis needed in experimental sciences. Authentic learning can help us strengthen in the students some of the most important features they will need in their development.


In addition to the concepts we wanted to communicate in each activity we developed, there are also some core values we implemented, based mainly on those considered to be more important by our stakeholders based on their expertise and feedback.
Some of these values are respect for each other's opinions and empathy in order to try to understand their points of view and establish a dialogue for the successful communication; interculturality to be aware of the social and cultural reasons people could think on a certain matter, and integrate those concerns on our communication strategies; and last but not least, reflexiveness not only to teach, but also to learn from everyone we met during our iGEM journey, and use these learning for both improving our project, and our personal and professional development.


Communicating feelings, ideas, messages, or even an identity is a task that becomes easier with the help of graphic design. We know that the colors and shapes theory can be used as a tool with a strong persuasive power and emotional appeal. Consequently, applying its principles while creating presentations and grounding abstract ideas into more tangible visual material is useful to science communication (7,8).

Having that in mind, we decided to use the available set of tools to present ourselves as a distinct group and to connect with a given audience more easily and in a more visually-engaging way. To achieve this, we implemented a consistent visual identity through the use of a defined but versatile color palette, an appropriate typography, a set of visual elements -such as rounded shapes, rounded edges-, and even with our pet, Dana la rana. Throughout this process we had a series of concepts in mind that we wanted to convey, including friendliness.

Our project Synbiofoam is a bioinspired and eco-friendly product after all, so we considered that generating a certain sense of friendliness towards both the environment and the audience was important. In addition, presenting science-related concepts under a more welcoming light may help us to abnegate the prevalent ideas that science is too difficult to understand and only meant for a certain sector of the population, or even that it is strictly related to a monotonous school setting.


Since web content is one of our main communication channels, we wanted to ensure a good user experience for our created content (any part of a website, including images, texts, multimedia, etcetera), making sure that everyone can equally perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the content we create.
Then, we considered the Web Accessibility Initiative's recommendations, which include the usage of enough contrast, a clean typography and a good management of spacing for better legibility and readability. Although these two terms can sound highly similar, it is useful to draw a distinction between them in order to understand the importance of a good base design for accessibility , usability and inclusivity.


Considering the different tools and theories we can use to develop educational and public engagement activities, we defined the topics we wanted to communicate (synthetic biology and biotechnology, fire safety and ecology, the importance and care of the environment, art and science, and our project), as well as the public we wanted to reach. Based on that, and with the help of our advisors and stakeholders, we developed many activities using different strategies to achieve our desired goals. In addition, we also made some activities regarding women inclusivity that are better explained in our inclusivity section. The rest of activities are explained in the following paragraphs. All the material used (slides, surveys, etc.) is available as PDF files by clicking on the text. Additionally, there are some hyperlinks available (since we cannot upload that material because it is not from our authorship; however, you do not need to access those hyperlinks, which are intended to be complementary material, to get to know the activities since a brief description of each one of them is provided in this section).


Analyzing things from a social perspective made us capable of recognizing that, before planning any educational activity, we had to understand what our community needed and how we could contribute to those needs and shape our plans to achieve our desired objectives. Regarding the current educational situation in our state, different groups from our university -including us- are afraid of it, since less than half of all people over the age of 15 attend school, and around 11% of our population cannot read or write (9).

That was the reason why our university's Secretariat for Scientific Research and Technological Development organized a series of Science and Technology Workshops, where we were invited to coordinate the Biotechnology topic. These workshops took place in the Colleges of Technical Professional Education of Nuevo Leon (CONALEP, for its acronym in Spanish) of a number of municipalities from our state which were carefully selected based on the high dropout rate.

During the workshop DNA: the molecule of life we gave a brief theory class regarding the basic molecular biology techniques, as well as biotechnology principles and applications, including some synthetic biology examples, with the aim of inspiring students to pursue science and technology careers. This was followed by a practical session in which assistants made a simulation of an electrophoresis using the case study pedagogy considering that it promotes interaction/discussion, team work, and critical thinking in students (5). Hence, students learned the foundations of the technique and also developed manipulation skills for micropipettes and electrophoresis chambers by analyzing a made-up forensic case and processing the samples we gave them.


It was during the workshop, while we shared some experiences working with biotechnology and talked with the students about their future academic plans, that we heard some comments like "I didn't know this existed", "I'm not sure if I'm going to continue studying, I have to work", "I tried to apply to college but I didn't pass the exam", and some others that worried and inspired us to better analyze the situation and try to make something to improve it. .

For us to achieve that, we made a survey following iGEM's and the American Association for Public Opinion Research guidelines to do it (having a specific goal for our survey, following ethical treatment of human subjects by being very careful on not asking something that may make them feel uncomfortable, and using statistical analysis to break down the data that was collected). Our main goal was to identify which were the factors that were stopping them from studying college; the sample consisted of teenagers from ages of 15-17 years, from the rural communities aforementioned. The questions included in the survey can be found in Annex 1. .

After doing the survey, we statistically analyzed the obtained data using the statistical analysis program SPSS, which was recommended to us by our advisor PhD Heber Torres, as he has had experience using it for statistical analysis in social studies. The general results are shown in the following graphs, and the complete analysis and reflections can be found in our education section.

The percentage of students that found it unlikely to keep studying is an alarming number because, according to the Secretary of Economy (10), in 2017 there were more than 188,000 students enrolled in an institution of higher secondary education. Thus, displacing the data, it represents at least 18,000 dropout students.

Nuevo Leon is one of the most expensive Mexico states to live in, and even the city in which we live, Monterrey, is one of the three most expensive cities in the country; here, the basic services are more expensive than in other cities (11). In general, the cost of studying a professional career follows the same standard; despite the quality of the universities in the state, the costs are considerably higher than in the rest of the country, and they increase year after year (12).

Not surprisingly, more than 50% of the students considered the cost an important factor. Some of the common solutions for students is to find a part-time job , but working more than 20 hours a week can lead to school dropouts (13).

Distance and transportation is something we also wanted to include in our study, since little or no analysis has been done in this matter. Although the cost of local transportation in Nuevo Leon is the highest in the country, it is still very inefficient, and is even unavailable in some regions of the state (14). Some of the comments we heard were about the necessity of using more than one transportation method to get to the educational facilities, which can be seen in the graph. Conjointly, the economic factor plays again an important role; considering the minimum salary in Mexico (213.39 pesos/10.99 dollars) and the cost of taking at least 10 buses per week (this number was based on the responses of the survey), the cost of transportation (130 Mexican pesos or 6.49 dollars) represents more than half of the salary. In addition to this, covering other basic necessities such as food would be very difficult for a student.

In addition to the already mentioned factors, the lack of information about college careers is translated to the absence of interest to continue studying because of the ignorance of the existing opportunities. During the workshop, many students asked us which activities we developed in the laboratory, since they thought "being a scientist" was something just seen in "the movies". This can be explained by the little disponibility of resources to both study for the admission exam and get to know the careers and opportunities offered in our region.

We concluded that the main reasons why these students did not want to -or could- go to college were the economic factor, the distance between their homes and school, and that they received limited access to both, the information about their career options and the study material available for the college admission exam. Another factor also worth mentioning is the family background, especially when they have to fulfill work responsibilities or face problems such as the above mentioned, as their brains may not have the adequate performance required for their education (15).

We then realized that the current efforts on education from our state may not be enough, and that we must invest more in giving students from different locations or socioeconomic backgrounds with difficulties the support they need. Hence, we came to the decision of communicating the studying opportunities by making some efforts described in the following section.



In order to get students to know more opportunities to continue studying, we organized the talk "Your education's future" via Facebook live,where we had 1,500 views,where our main audience consisted of high school students. On it, we talked about some of the available scholarships for university and transportation costs, as well as the resources for preparing themselves for the admission exams. Also, the conference was shared by the organization CEEA, one of the most important preparation centers for the admission exam of our university with more than 70,000 followers. Likewise, we shared the recording and a brochure with the summary of the information to the high schools in which we carried out our education continuity analysis, to get the information to the students who inspired this activity. The brochure and the list of scholarships we shared can be seen by clicking here.


With the aim of making science more accessible, we were contacted by Synbio for everyone, an organization whose objective is to improve accessibility in STEM education. They highly inspire us, since it all started with the Washington iGEM team 2019. The collaboration consisted of the translation of the activity "Introduction to synthetic Biology" and then we decided to make the activity in our region. For this means, and following the line of reaching students from vulnerable communities, we collaborated with Talento de Barrio, an educational organization focused on improving the educational quality of the public junior high schools in the Metropolitan area of Monterrey through workshops, activities and innovative education.

For the activity, our target audience were junior high students around 13 years old We first presented our project and synbio-related concepts, and then developed the fruit DNA extraction activity we translated. At the end, we conducted a survey to get to know their opinions;the comments they did are reported in our education section.


In our attempt to publicize the experience of studying a science career and the opportunities in academia, industry, entrepreneurship, and many other areas, we collaborated with the account Quiero Ser Biotec, which is dedicated to science communication focused on biotechnology, and counts with more than 9,000 followers. Its creator, Jannireth Guerrero, is a biotechnologist from Peru that wants to use social media to make people interested in the biotechnology concepts and applications. We participated on an instagram live talking about synthetic biology, its applications, and even about iGEM projects and the competition in general. The audience was people in general.


Among the variety of activities focused on getting the young involved with science and synthetic biology, we decided to work on a series of short videos with our pet, Dana la Rana (Dana the frog) since it has been proven that cartoons increase motivation and comprehension in children (16), in this way acquiring an additional pedagogical value, since they are effective for communicating concepts with a lower language level.

The character was born back in 2020 by team FCB-UANL (17) with the objective of appealing to younger people and was adapted to our new visual identity for 2021. This new design proposal consisted in simplifying the original character design and updating the color palette, all with the objective of making it more visually appealing and friendly to the target audience.

Dana la Rana was a three-part series with each episode revolving around different key concepts and building on top of the ideas explained in the previous videos, encouraging respect for the environment and critical thinking. The target audience was Spanish speaking children within the age range of 8-12 , which is the reason why we decided to keep the explanations brief and engaging with the support of simple animations. We introduced topics such as the cells and DNA on the first episode, synthetic biology on the second, and fires on the third. The average viewers of the videos were 100 , and the playlist is available on YouTube, you can watch one of the episodes by clicking here.


Concerned by the lack of information about synthetic biology for high school students , and analyzing that this could lead on the disinterest on studying a scientific career (according to the results obtained in our education continuity analysis), we collaborated with the teams SynYaki, UTEC, and PANAMA-UNI that are currently participating on the iGEM Design League to organize the Crash Course “Principles and applications of Synthetic Biology”. We made several posts on social media to reach our target audience to register.

The course consisted of 4 sessions via zoom each one consisting of a theoretical and a practical session, and the number of assistants attendees ranged from 40 to 50 on each session. In addition, at the end we had an experts panel, followed by a Q&A session. Detailed information is shown in the following table.

Session Topic and concepts Speakers
Theory: Biomolecules Workshop: DNA extraction Basics of biochemistry and the role and importance of biomolecules in living organisms, focusing on DNA Cesar Huallpa
Theory: Introduction to molecular biologyWorkshop: Bioinformatics 101 Gene regulation pathways and its applications on the design of synthetic genes, working with genetic sequences on gene design and other applications. Daniela Alvarez Robledo
Theory: Synbio and genetic circuits foundationsWorkshop: Build your own genetic circuit Designing regulatory networks depending on the desired application, foundations of gene design and most important aspects to take into account. MSc Ediner Fuentes
Experts panel Questions about their experience in synthetic biology and biotechnology, and discussion with the assistants to get them involved and hear their opinions. PhD Felipe Gonzalo Tueros Farfan, Eng. Daniel Dominguez Gomez, PhD Alberto Donayre, Maria Jose Duran Gonzalez, and Mildred Jimenez Rodriguez

In particular, we organized the theoretical session "Introduction to molecular biology", in which we talked about DNA expression and genetic regulation, with some examples and analysis, including examples of how this knowledge is applied to academic research and the industry. Right after that, we gave the practical session "Bioinformatics 101: foundations and applications" where we included concepts regarding the use of databases, processing of FASTA sequences, and phylogenetic analysis, as well as some aspects of how this information is used when designing and building synthetic genes. The slides with the information shown are available (click here to see file).


The Hispanic Discussion Workshop was an activity organized by the Bolivia iGEM team, where we had the opportunity to participate along with Ecuador and UAM teams (from the iGEM competition and the iGEM Design League). At this event, some of the team members of the three teams assisted with the organization, while separate groups of each team got to experience it as participants.

This activity consisted of a series of three workshops , each given by an expert and focused on a different debating skill the participants would need for the competition. "Argumentation and Counter Argumentation" by Antonio Zarate Ramos; "Roles of Judges and Zigzag Format" by Jose Luis Feliciano Chipana and "If knowledge is Controversial, do we debate?" by MSc Gabriela Rivadeneira Caballero. All of this with the objective of encouraging the development of the thetorical and critical thinking skills necessary to analyze the same kind of controversial topics the participants debated during this event.

Concerning the tournament, a total of 8 teams had to defend their given positions regarding particular motions related to synthetic biology. Their performance was evaluated each time by a group of experienced judges which culminated in our team winning first place. The finals were conducted in zoom and transmitted via Facebook live , with the aim of getting people interested on the topic; it ended up getting a total of 2,100 views . In addition, after the contest, we were invited to participate in Episode 03 of iGEM TV (available on YouTube by clicking on this link ) to talk about our experience, with a total amount of 150 viewers.


Podcasts are a new technique for e-learning processes, and they are a more efficient and engaging alternative for traditional lectures (18). As we were trying to use social media and all the available tools, we decided to take the opportunities of participating on podcasts to talk about our project, iGEM, and synthetic biology. First, we participated in Bioemprendiendo by Héctor Garza (click here to listen to the episode on Spotify , or click here to see the promotion post of our participation ), on the episode "028 - Synbiofoam - Synthetic biology to combat fires" where bioentrepeneurship was the main topic

Then, we were invited to participate in Biotechnology and other stories by CONEXBI on the episode "What is iGEM?" where we shared our experiences on the competition, a brief description of our project and some advice for people trying to develop an iGEM project. You can listen to this episode on Spotify as well by clicking here Last but not least, we collaborated with team IISER Tirupati for their podcast SynTrack, where we talked about our project.


Medicina Sustentable UANL is a student social responsibility group dedicated to educating on environmental, social and economic issues, made up of students of the Medicine College of our university. Since they also want to raise awareness about science and environmentall issues and concepts, we decided to collaborate together; we organized the conference "Synthetic Biology and Sustainability" using zoom, which encompassed the topic of synthetic biology and its environmental applications for the members of the group. We also received some feedback and questions about our project, and heard some ideas of how synbio could be applied for solving other local problems. Click here to see the slides we used


Biotec Latina is a community that aims to integrate people working with biotechnology from Latin America with the goal of breaking out the Spanish-Portuguese barrier in the region and develop a network for collaborations . We participated in their initiative "Getting to know iGEM Latam" in which they interviewed the Latin American teams currently participating on iGEM and the iGEM Design League. We talked about our project and our experience on iGEM on an instagram live where we had more than 100 viewers.


The video game industry has become more successful year after year, and, thanks to the technology advances, they are also more accessible for a wider range of ages, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds. Due to those facts, it has been proposed to incorporate video games as educational tools considering that positive cognitive and affective outcomes have been reported when using digital games in the learning process (4).

Therefore, we decided to create Froggy Foam, a video game about forest fires with the aim of raising awareness of the causes and consequences of fire incidents on children from 8 to 12 years. T he main character is our pet Dana la rana, and through the game story she has to go all along the forest while stopping wildfires that were started for different reasons. Throughout the journey, she also meets other animals and people habiting the forest that help her make decisions (such as choosing whether to pick up a glass bottle from the soil or leave it there) that will further have positive or negative consequences, depending on the option taken by the player.

The purpose of the game is to understand -through the decision-making process- how an action could affect the environment, even if it seems to be very simple. With the villain of the game, Firefox (a fox that is starting wildfires across all the forest) we aim to represent how dangerous wildfires are for the wildlife and even for people living around.

At the end, we added some information of how the videogame represents an actual problem, and how we have to think of our decisions such as Dana did through the story, with the objective of highlight the connection between the game and the real life, as recommended on the theory (4), since sometimes this may not be obvious, especially for young students. You can download the game by clicking here.


Although we use the video game to apply the game-based learning strategy, we are aware that this option may not be accessible for everyone, so we decided to also develop the board game Fire Detective. We took inspiration from the popular board game Clue, but in this case, instead of finding who committed a crime, the players had to discover who started a wildfire, thus including a study-case approach as well. The scene of the game is Chipinque, a natural protected area in our city that holds a lot of the region's biodiversity, including endangered species. There are 6 characters, places, and weapons that could have been used to start the fire. The maximum number of players is 5 and the recommended ages are 8+.

We organized a virtual meeting to present and play the game using the platform Miro . You can download the file with the board game by clicking here. At the end, 95% of our assistants told us they thought that wildfires were an important problem in their region. We had assistants from many different countries, such as Perú, Panamá, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Brazil.


The National Youth Council for Science and Humanities (CONJUVECyH) is an organism in charge of the communication of science activities in Nuevo León; it seeks to be a space for encouraging the social and cultural development in our region. We collaborated with them many times throughout the year to communicate environmental and inclusivity aspects that will be further described.

First, we made an educational video talking about the environment to illustrate its importance and the current biodiversity loss we are facing, mentioning the impact human activity has had over the last few years. Our target audience was people in general, and we had more than 200 views . In addition, we made a memory game with the images of different animals that are right now in extinction or endangered, with the objective to represent in a more visual way all the species that we have lost. It is available online on this link .

Because of the engagement generated, we were also invited to participate on a Facebook live to present our project, where we had the opportunity to interact with the assistants and answer their questions. We had around 350 views.


Respect and responsibility with nature are two of the most outstanding values scouts groups try to disseminate onto their members, and they perfectly match the values we intend to communicate. Along with implementing their opinions as a stakeholders community, we also wanted to make an educational activity with them; for us, young children making efforts for taking care of our ecosystems are an audience we must reach.

We made the presentation 2Ecosystems in Nuevo Leo" which consisted of a session of questions and answers, where based on their previous knowledge, we described the ecosystems we have in the region, and explained their importance, as well as the problem of wildfires and what we can do to prevent it. At the end of the session, we talked about our project and shared a survey to get to know their perspectives. The slides are available by clicking here., and the comments we obtained in the survey are reported in our education section.

As explained at the beginning of this page, graphic design was one of the main tools we decided to use this year to communicate. You can see over our social media posts, infographics, videos, etc. that we used the same style following the principles already explained. In general, we used art in all our activities ,however, for us to go further with this tool, we developed some art activities for science communication, following the theory of aesthetic education (19) to combine different perception forms.


This year we got in contact with iGEM team Calgary. The idea of making a story book to talk about our projects came up during a brainstorm meeting. We decided to use illustrations as a way to explain complex concepts to young children, since we wanted to make sure they could learn from a young age that science is a great discipline and that it can help solve problems in different interesting ways.

We also contacted other iGEM teams, including UMA_MALAGA, UMaryland, Ecuador, and even UAM and MikuyTEC from the iGEM Design League joined the initiative. Our main goal for each team was to create a short, illustrated story with compelling characters talking about our projects in a fun and relatable way to our target audience (children from 6-10 years old). Additionally, we integrated some interactive aspects such as coloring pages to keep them engaged.The storybook presents these stories with drawings and a team pet for each iGEM project; we used recognizable characters as a way of connecting with children, like the suggestion made by our advisor PhD Matteo Farinella. You can see the storybook by clicking here.

To ensure that this material would reach the children, we organized a storytelling event with the Calgary team, where we read aloud two of the stories of the book dynamically by using background sounds to create a unique reading experience for our audience (a group of kids from both Mexico and Canada).At the end of the activity, the kids and us drew our favorite part of the stories as a suggested way from our advisors to receive children’s feedback. Overall, it was a very enjoyable event for everyone, where kids learned while having fun. They liked it so much that some of their parents later contacted us telling us that the children wanted to have more activities like this in the future.


Corridos are a Mexican typical music genre characterized by narrating popular events of the region and exploits of real or fictitious heroes. Corridos are a very important part of our Mexican culture, so we wanted to combine this type of music with science and environmental education by making a song about the effect of human activity on forest fires. We composed the letter of the song, and used a copyright-free track. We also made a music video to show in a visual way the effect humans have on the environment, which is available on YouTube , you can watch said music video on the following link .

In order to know if our video was having a good impact on people, we organized a survey to know what they learned and thought. This was done because of the feedback our advisor PhD Heber Torres gave us about the importance of finding a way to measure the impact of the music video. We noticed people are actually afraid of the human factor in causing forest fires, which confirms that focusing our efforts on environmental education and fire prevention is a good approach to raise awareness.


Mexico's northern region is characterized for its wide biodiversity, including endemic species of flora and fauna. With the aim of getting the international community to know the organisms our ecosystems hold, we joined the IISER_TVM team on their initiative Myco Expo, a photo exhibition to show the fungi biodiversity. We truly believe photography is one of the most distributed forms of art nowadays, so we sent three entries belonging to the genus Cladonia spp and Gymnopus spp, both present in our forests, along with a picture of a petri dish with several unidentified microscopic fungi of different colors. The full gallery is available in their wiki.

With the purpose of learning and having more information besides our stakeholders' guidance for pedagogy, science communication and storytelling (further explanation available on our education section) , we took a "Comprehensive Training Workshop for the Public Communication of Science" organized by Divulgaciencia, an organism that promotes science at various educational levels and bring science and technology closer to the population.

This course helped us evaluate the way we had approached our audiences and how we could improve the methods to get a better understanding. Also, we became able to use certain tools to achieve certain reactions from the audience such as awareness, enjoyment, interest, opinions and understanding (A-E-I-O-U model) (1). This inspired us to go deeper into the educational matter, as shown in our education section. Also, we learnt the difference between science communication and science diffusion; the last one refers to talking about science with expert audiences, hence, we developed some diffusion activities, as explained in the following paragraphs.


We participated in the XXIX International Materials Research Congress organized by the Sociedad Mexicana de Materiales, on the topic Materials for Sustainability and Environmental Applications. We presented three works about our project’s design (for more detail, go to our project description section). There, we had the opportunity to listen to expert’s questions and opinions to improve the way we present the technical part of our project. The titles of the works presented are listed below:

  • Design of a novel B. subtilis strain for the industrial production of surfactin, a green surfactant

  • Genetically engineering Bacillus subtilis to overexpress eps and tapA operons to increase biofilm matrix production

  • Recombinant production of Ranaspumin proteins in E. coli as biodegradable surfactants and foam stabilizers


As part of our partnership with UNILA_LatAm team, we participated on their journal club “SynFronteras Club” by organizing the talk “Genetic Circuits: the foundations for the design of biological machines”. click here to see the presentation On it, we talked about gene design, metabolic engineering, and software and databases that can be used for this matter. This was thought for iGEMers or any person working with biotechnology or synthetic biology our audience consisted of around 100 people including live assistants and YouTube viewers.


Throughout the season, we participated in several activities to explain the technical aspects of our project and receive feedback and questions from experts on the subject and other iGEM teams. The activities we participated in are: Julygem , organized by Calgary team, North America Meetup organized by our sponsor GenScript, Meetup LATAM 2021 organized by TecCEM team, and the Latam Fest organized by the iGEM ambassadors. Similarly, we presented in activities outside the iGEM network, such as DifuSyn: Synthetic Biology webinar organized by the Journal Club Perú from the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, and the First Cycle of Conferences on Synthetic Biology, organized by the Research Group on Industrial Biotechnology (SINBI) from Universidad Francisco de Paula Santander.


When we talk about education on iGEM, we usually think of activities the teams can make to communicate science and our projects, but something we have learnt through our journey is that education is a two sided tool. This year we had the opportunity to develop many activities for different public targets, and based on the outcomes, questions asked, and interest generated we can cheerfully say that we accomplished our purpose to disseminate the concepts and ideas we wanted; however, after making a reflexive exercise we noticed how many new things we learned throughout the year, that have directly impacted both the development of our project and our own personal, academic, and professional growth; a deeper analysis is available in our education section.


One of the ways the pandemic has affected us is the difficulties we have had to access the laboratories. For first year undergraduate students, their career laboratory practices stopped, repercuiting on their development as future scientists. This is the reason why we decided to develop a mentorship program for our younger team members with the aim of helping them learn some laboratory techniques from the main areas we use on our project, such as microbiology, molecular biology, biotechnology, and genetic engineering.

We then defined some "apprentices" and our wet lab team developed a plan in order to involve them in the experimental development of our project. Each apprentice attended the laboratory for one month; at the beginning we explained to them some of the basic rules for the laboratory work, and then we explained the theoretical background of everything that had been carried out. We ensure everyone learnt all the possible techniques, usage of materials, and equipment. The techniques and concepts we included in the general plan are shown in the following list:

  • Dilutions and preparation of solutions
  • Restriction enzyme cleavage
  • Preparation of calcium competent cells
  • DNA ligation
  • Bacterial transformation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Preparation of petri dishes with nutritive agar
  • Bacterial induction
  • Bacterial seeding and colony isolation
  • SDS PAGE electrophoresis
  • Minipreparation of plasmid DNA
  • Western blot
  • Agarose gel electrophoresis
  • Material disposal and biosafety
  • Tube preparation with media
  • Plate groove
  • Quantification
With this activity we used empirical analysis and evidence-based learning , to help future biotechnologists to develop skills and acquire knowledge through activities to complement their development. Every apprentice made a reflection at the end of their time in the laboratory, that can be found in our education section.
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