GXU-China, as the first team to participate in igem in 2021, is not particularly experienced in Human Practice. Thanks to Jiangnan_China’s guidance and assistance, we were able to successfully complete the HP events.
Why did we do Human Practice?
After the start of the game we noticed that the Human Practice was an important indicator of the competition award. And after the online meeting with the Jiangnan_China, we found that the HP aspect of the Jiangnan_China was very rich. Then, under their guidance, we decided to focus on the impact of our experiments on society and its application. Gradually ,we began to carry out some experimental feasibility surveys to the public . Meanwhile, we also did some experimental science problems design. Our main purpose of HP is to bring the project to society, to improve the experimental design, education and publicity activities by obtaining feedback from the masses.
What did we do with Human Practice?
In September 2021, GXU-China organized an open day for laboratories. We have conducted a laboratory open day for freshmen in college with a strong interest in synthetic biology. At the beginning of the event, GXU-China Practice Group Leader Guo Qingfan first introduced the IGEM Competition and our team's projects, so that students fully understood the purpose of the IGEM competition. After that, the students of the experimental group introduced our project experiments and explain the basic instruments of the biological laboratory. The first-year students learned about pipetting guns, centrifuges, ultra-clean workbench, PCR instrument and many other scientific experimental equipment basic use methods and experimental precautions. Subsequently, under the leadership of the students in the experimental group, the students also carried out some simple microscope observation and other experiments. It fully mobilized the enthusiasm of students and many students have expressed their desire to participate in the next IGEM competition. Finally, we gave GXU-China commemorative gifts to all students participating in the lab's open day and took photos of the event.
2.Social Surveys and Project Promotion
In September 2021, GXU-China designed an online questionnaire that focused on public awareness of tuberculosis, COVID-19 and how these two diseases affect our lives. In addition, we helped NTU-Singapore conduct questionnaires on COVID-19 and cancers. In October 2021, GXU-China established its own WeChat public number and regularly publish articles about IGEM and GXU-China. Tweets about Lab Open Day events, IGEM Introductions, GXU-China Team Introductions, etc., can be used as the official IGEM social account of GXU-China for the next few years.
Laws and regulations set by the government, especially when it comes to GMO products, can sometimes be tricky. In addition to the fact that we wanted to potentially launch our own start-up based on this project, we needed to make sure that we are not breaking any rules. To make sure we are on the right track, we contacted several government agencies.
Dr. Chen Ying
Associate Professor and Master's Mentor
In October 2021, we conducted an offline interview with Associate Professor Chen Ying, whose research direction is animal virus, influenza virus, mainly related to the new crown vaccine and knowledge of animal viruses.Professor Chen guided and evaluated our experiments and provided some very useful guidance to us. Especially if our artificial phages express too little antigen protein, which may cause the problem of reduced antigen and affected vaccine efficacy. Accoding to Professor Chen’s advice,our construction of phage library has been improved, and our experimental scheme has been further improved.,too.
Professor, master's tutor, doctoral tutor of Guangxi University
In September 2021, we conducted an offline discussion with Professor He Zhengguo, a microbiologist, on the subject of mycobacterium tuberculosis.This meeting focused on the details of the experimental programme. Previously, our experiments mainly focused on the transformation of engineering phages, in order to enhance the destruction ability of mycobacterium tuberculosis.However, Professor He pointed out that the cycle of phage transformation is too long and low success rate, not easy to achieve.So he suggested that we use phage shell protein to express the new coronavirus antigen, which can play the role of a vaccine.This method is easier to achieve. We consulted the literature and followed up with Professor He to continue to communicate and finally finalized a complete protocol.The communication with Professor He has a great impact on our entire project.
Professor Cui Zhezhe
Professor, Deputy Director of the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
In October 2021, we went to the Center for Prevention and Control of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to interview Cui Zhe Zhe, deputy director of the Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Institute.The interview covers TB-related knowledge, including the route of TB transmission, susceptible people, commonly used drugs, preventive measures, connection with COVID-19, etc.These are of great help to our social popularization of science of tuberculosis.Then,We introduced Dr. Cui our idea of using phage therapy to eliminate Mycobacterium tuberculosis and treat tuberculosis.Dr. Cui points out that our idea is good and partly addresses the multidrug resistance problem of TB.However, he also thought that our project needs more experiments and exploration, especially the specific phage exploration of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the development of animal experiments.
What we obtain from the Human Practice？
Our experimental protocol is first perfected by HP and many problems of the experiments are solved.Secondly, we bring the relevant knowledge of tuberculosis and COVID-19 to the general public so that more people can understand the basic prevention，control and diagnostic knowledge about infectious diseases.We also cultivate young people's interest in synthetic biology through educational links, and promote the IGEM competition and our GXU-China program.In addition, our whole project has innovative significance for the treatment of tuberculosis and the development of COVID-19 vaccine, which is also a big of our harvest.