Team:IISER-Tirupati India/Communication




Communicating science is as important as science as itself. It can help spark curiosity and build a scientifically literate community. Through our outreach activities, we wanted to connect with people from different backgrounds and levels of expertise in synthetic biology and foster discussion on science and synthetic biology. 


  • Help people appreciate the concept of synthetic biology and how it can be applied to solve local or global problems.
  • Understand the public perception of synthetic biology
  • Bridge the gender gap in STEM and encourage girl students to pursue higher education in the STEM field
  • Promote responsible research among the scientific community
  • Encourage students to learn about synthetic biology and pursue synthetic biology for their higher education.
  • Encourage synthetic biology enthusiasts to participate in iGEM and develop innovative solutions to different challenges.
  • Communicate our idea to the public.

Over the course of iGEM we engaged in various outreach activities to realise our goals and create a positive impact on the community. 


  • We inspired high school girls to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems using synthetic biology and encouraged them to pursue STEM for higher education through the “Gene Gala”.
  • We facilitated discussions on synthetic biology among students through Gene Gala, a session with students from Agastya Foundation, and a Guest Talk at Synteraction.
  • We launched SynTrack, a one-of-a-kind podcast for beginners in synthetic biology discussing a wide range of topics to give them a holistic view of the subject.
  • We encouraged students to develop innovative solutions using synthetic biology and participate in iGEM through knowledge hub sessions, interacting with synthetic biology enthusiasts from our Institute, and via our guest talk at Synteraction.
  • We drafted a Handbook on Biotechnology Laws of India for Researchers and future iGEMers which can be used as a quick guide to go through relevant laws in a language easily understood by a person who is not from a legal background.
  • We conducted a survey to understand the perception of synthetic biology and GMOs worldwide in collaboration with Team MSP-Maastricht, Team Aachen, and Team IISER Pune.

While engaging with people from different walks of life and different perspectives, we learned to view synthetic biology in a different light, encouraging us to look at the bigger picture than as an isolated subject.

Gene Gala: Mini-Summer School

12th -16th July 2021

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields across the globe are highly dominated by men, with women making only a small fraction of the workforce in STEM. The lack of representation of women in science and social conditioning often leads them to underestimate their aptitude and steer them away from STEM. Our team wanted to take the initiative to bridge this gender gap in STEM, and this led us to launch “Gene Gala”, a Mini- Summer School to introduce high school girls to Synthetic Biology and encourage them to pursue higher education in the STEM field. To actualise this idea, we collaborated with Team IISER Kolkata and the Directorate of Education, GNCT Delhi, to conduct the Mini-summer school over the course of 5 days. Gene Gala saw the registration of over 90 girl students studying in their final year of high school.

Through Gene Gala, we wanted to provide a platform for girl students to cultivate a creative and problem-solving mindset and appreciate the concepts of Synthetic Biology. We utilised the initial four days to discuss the core concepts of synthetic biology, encourage them to participate in discussions, and communicate their ideas with their peers. 

We discussed biomolecules that make up a cell, bacterial genetics and how they are modulated, molecular techniques for redesigning genetic circuits and ethical concerns associated with synthetic biology. After each session, we divided the students into breakout rooms where we conducted fun quizzes, activities, and puzzles to keep them engaged and promote discussions. On the final day of the workshop, we introduced them to some exciting iGEM projects and encouraged them to develop solutions of their own to real-world challenges using the recently learned concepts of Synthetic Biology. The students actively contributed to the discussions and came up with several interesting ideas for designing their own Genetically Modified Organism.

When conducting Gene Gala, we were met with the challenge of covering broad concepts in a short duration of time and facilitating discussions. We came up with an effective break-up of the curriculum to achieve this and conducted breakout sessions for discussions and activities.

We encouraged them further to pursue STEM for higher education and provided the details on opportunities of Higher education in STEM in India, relevant scholarships, and the career paths in STEM through a day-wise Handbook which was provided to the students. We received very positive feedback from the students who participated in the Mini-summer school for inspiring them and giving them a sneak-peak into the world of Synbio and its opportunities.

We have documented our experience in conducting Gene Gala and have elaborately detailed our strategies for designing the curriculum, conducting the activity session and designing the materials used,which can be used by future iGEM teams when conducting similar workshops. See Gene Gala to learn about our experience.

See Contributions page for the Resources and Educational tools. 

Gene Gala session
Gene Gala session
Our Gene Gala session with girl students

SynTrack: The Podcast Series

We are a diverse team with people from different disciplines united by our shared passion for biology, and we were thrilled to share our excitement and curiosity about synthetic biology with people outside of our iGEM Team. This shared interest led us to launch SynTrack, a one-of-a-kind podcast launched for science enthusiasts who have just begun to explore the realms of Synbio. The podcast tries to capture the different flavors of the Synbio, ranging from experiments in the laboratory to opportunities in entrepreneurship, potential applications and ethical and moral implications of using genetic engineering. The podcast follows a casual conversational style podcast guiding the listeners through various aspects of Synbio as they get on with their everyday tasks. SynTrack provides an opportunity for the listeners to look at synthetic biology in a positive light and appreciate the potential of Synthetic biology as a powerful tool capable of revolutionising the landscapes of Health, Agriculture, Environment, and Bioenergy. The podcast included episodes that were recorded in collaboration with Spoorthy Gowda (Student at IISER Tirupati), Team Groningen, Team FCB- UANL, Team Ioannina, and TU Delft. The podcast was recorded over Zoom or Gmeet and launched on Spotify and Google Podcast.

The podcast was also translated into Hindi, a language widely spoken in India, and made available on Spotify. The podcast is beneficial for the local population who have better command over Hindi than English. Hindi is not a popularly used language for science communication. Launching the translated version of the podcast allowed us to tap into a broad audience of listeners and provided us with an opportunity to connect with listeners and communicate science crossing the language barriers.

Syntrack podcast
SynTrack Podcast

Let’s talk about iGEM: A Knowledge Hub session with Next Gen Scientists Foundation 

29 Aug 2021

iGEM has contributed significantly to fostering innovation in synthetic biology among the student community, and the number of iGEM has increased over the years. However, we noticed that the number of teams participating from Asia in the competition is significantly lower when compared to its western counterparts from Europe and North America. We wanted to encourage students in India to participate in iGEM, which led us to collaborate with the Next Gen Scientists Foundation to launch an initiative, “Let’s talk about iGEM”, to reach out to other STEM students and Synthetic biology enthusiasts across the nation

The Next Gen Scientists Foundation is an organisation governed by a student body from students across India to connect all Indian Life Science Researchers. In our collaboration with them, our team hosted a Knowledge Hub session via their discord server called the Indian Life Science Network, connecting us to students across the nation with interests in Synthetic Biology. The session was further made available via Youtubeto make it more accessible to a larger audience. We invited Ms Shruti Shridhar, iGEM Ambassador Asia, as the speaker for the event to talk about the competition. Through the Knowledge Hub session, Shruti introduced the audience to the iGEM competition and discussed the values of iGEM. The session was conducted as a conversation between an iGEM ambassador and one of our team members like a live podcast, providing the audience with the provision to ask their questions and get them answered then and there.

The session guided the audience on what iGEM is, the multidisciplinary nature of the iGEM projects, and how iGEM fosters advancements in synthetic biology. It further navigated the audience through the process of iGEM, covering various aspects of the projects from Team Building, Funding, Collaborations, Human Practices, and the time frame of the competition. She also encouraged the audience to avail the iGEM mentorship programme, which allows the iGEM team to connect with mentors to guide them on their iGEM journey. The session gave all-around information to Synthetic Biology Enthusiasts about the iGEM competition and how to navigate through the iGEM journey.

Watch Let’s talk about iGEM: Knowledge Hub Session

Poster: Knowledge Hub session
Our poster for Knowledge Hub session on Discord

The Handbook of Biotechnology laws in India 

When working on the project, we realized the importance of biosafety when designing and performing experiments. This motivated us to look at the legal framework regulating biotechnology research in India. In this process, we realized that the biotechnology laws are scattered throughout The Constitution of India, which makes it difficult for people without legal knowledge to understand the legal protocols and refer to relevant laws. This inspired us to draft a handbook to guide the researchers through the relevant laws in Biotechnology that they might have to go through before their research. The book compiles relevant biotechnology laws in India and Multilateral legal agreements of which India is a part. It attempts to capture the multiple facets of law that must be abided by while performing scientific experiments in biotechnology in one place. When reading the various biotechnology laws, we also recognized some gaps in the legal framework, which motivated us to incorporate a section on gaps and unattended problems in the legal architecture into the Handbook. We also added a section for future iGEM teams to refer to with regard to safety practices that must be followed over the course of their project. The book was launched with the aim to promote responsible research among the research community in India

Screenshot of our meeting with iGEM IISER Thiruvananthapuram
Collaboration with iGEM IISER Thiruvananthapuram

In collaboration with Team IISER Thiruvananthapuram, our team identified important biotechnology laws, identified the relevant Biotechnology laws, and designed the framework of the Handbook. The book is subdivided into four chapters:

  • Animal experimentation and Clinical trials
  • Export-Import Policies
  • Environmental Safety
  • International Agreements
  • Unattended Problems and Legal Gaps

The handbook could not include chapters on biocontainment and Intellectual Properties owing to time constraints. In the future iGEM Teams if developing a similar handbook can incorporate these chapters in their contents.

During the drafting of the Handbook, we met with Dr Harilal Madhavan, a development economist and faculty at IISER Thiruvananthapuram; Miss Parvathy, a student from the National Law School of India University; and Dr Subha C C, a faculty at the Department of School of Law in Christ University, Bangalore who provided us valuable advise and feedback enabling us to revise and improve our Handbook.

Read our Handbook

Interactive Workshop with Agastya Foundation 

1 Aug 2021

When collaborating with iGEM Teams and reading the past iGEM projects, we were deeply awed by the possibilities of synthetic biology and its potential. This motivated us to reach out to students to introduce them to synthetic biology and encourage them to pursue Synbio for higher education. To realise this, we conducted a workshop collaborating with Agastya Foundation for students with a passion for Biology.

Agastya Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Bangalore, India, aiming to nurture creativity and curiosity through education to students from lower economic strata. During the session, we introduced them to the foundational concepts in synthetic biology and gave them a flavour of the multidisciplinary facets of synthetic biology. We further introduced them to iGEM to inspire them to participate in iGEM in future. Following this, we conducted a brainstorming session, during which we encouraged them to develop ideas based on synthetic biology for contraception. The students actively participated in the discussions and came up with creative solutions and questions about developing novel contraceptives. We further discussed with them the opportunities of STEM education in India and the relevant scholarships and internship opportunities to pursue STEM. We also introduced them to OviCloak, discussing the biological concept behind the idea, our motivation and plans for implementation. 

Interaction with Agasthya Foundation
Interaction with Agasthya Foundation

International Survey on Genetically Modified Organisms

Our team conducted an International survey in collaboration with Team MSP- Maastricht, Team Aachen, and Team IISER-Pune-India to understand the attitude of the public towards genetic engineering organisms and the applications of synthetic biology across the world. The survey received 259 responses from Asia and Europe and was conducted through Google Forms. 

The survey questions were designed to understand the perception towards synthetic biology and GMOs, how receptive are people towards the different applications of synthetic biology and understand the concerns people have about GMOs. The survey revealed that the people largely had a positive perception towards synthetic biology and GMOs while they also expressed their concerns about potential damage to the environment, potential harm to human health, potential misuse, and ethical concerns on the creation of artificial life. We also observed that the opinion towards GMOs varied depending on the context of the application. Our analysis also revealed that the general outlook towards synthetic biology and concerns towards its usage were strikingly similar in both Europe and Asia.

The results of the survey analysis are published on the iGEM wiki page, which would be useful for future iGEM teams to gain an insight into how receptive people will be towards synthetic biology and its various applications.

Learn more about our survey

An Interview with iGEM Ambassador Asia

One of our team members interviewed the iGEM Ambassador of Asia, Miss Shruti Shridhar, to write an article to be published in Next Gen Scientists Foundation (NGSF) Blog. NGSF is a community of life science researchers and students predominantly in India. During the interview conducted we discussed her iGEM experience, the journey to becoming the iGEM Ambassador to Asia, plans on expanding iGEM in India, and the challenges in introducing iGEM to Indian colleges and highschool

While a large number of resources are available on the iGEM journey, only very few resources are available to know about opportunities and experience after iGEM, which motivated us to interview Miss Shruthi and publish a blog article.

The Interview article would be helpful for current and future iGEMers to learn about opportunities after-iGEM. The article is currently in the process of being published in the NGSF Blog, which has viewers from over 73 different countries allowing us to reach out to students of the scientific community.

Guest Talk at Synteraction

21 July 2021

Our team was invited to deliver a guest talk at Synteraction, a summer school programme launched by Team iGEM IIT Madras for their first year B.Tech students. Through the talk we wanted the audience to appreciate how synthetic biology can be employed to solve social challenges and how various disciplines intersect and overlap during the development of a project. During the talk, we introduced the audience to our project idea: OviCloak - A Novel Contraceptive. We introduced the audience to the biological concepts on which the idea is based. We discussed with the audience about the engineering aspects of the idea and logic behind the genetic engineering circuits employed. We also discussed the importance of the kill switch in ensuring the biosafety aspect of our project and the mechanism behind the working of the kill switch. We discussed the multidisciplinary nature of the project and introduced the audience to the various facets of our project, such as genetic engineering, mathematical modelling, and human practices, to help them appreciate how the various disciplines of physics, mathematics, biology, and social science is integrated during the development of the project. We walked them through the importance of Human Practices of iGEM and how our team incorporated the iGEM values into our project. We explained how we engaged with the stakeholders and incorporated their feedback while developing the project. We further discussed the outreach activities launched by our team to engage with the public and their importance in initiating thoughtful discussions about the values related to our project. We also navigated the audience through our iGEM journey and how we tackled the challenges posed by the pandemic. 

Guest Talk at Synteraction
Guest Talk at Synteraction

A session with Synbio enthusiasts

Our team held an interactive session with the Synbio enthusiasts in our Institute to kickstart their iGEM journey. Through this session, we guided the potential future iGEMers from our Institute in planning and developing their project and addressed their queries regarding the various aspects of iGEM. During the interactive session, we walked them through our iGEM journey from team building to project development and the challenges we faced during the pandemic. We discussed the multidisciplinary nature of the project and building a diverse team with different fields of expertise to help look at the problem from different perspectives. We also discussed the timeline of the iGEM Project to help them plan their iGEM journey. The importance of identifying the stakeholders and engaging with them to integrate their feedbacks while developing the project was also discussed, and some initial guidelines for the funding aspect of the project were also provided.

A session with Synbio enthusiasts
A session with Synbio enthusiasts

Publishing an article in the Manthan magazine 

Our team published an article in the Manthan magazine, a student magazine launched by the students of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, to promote our project OviCloak among the student community. Through the article, we wanted to provide an overview of our project to the student community across India. We used this opportunity to discuss the goals envisioned by our team, the hurdles we faced during its development, the progress we made, and the impact our project could have on the world around us. We communicated to the readers how OviCloak has the potential to address issues related to reproductive health, family planning, inclusivity, and ecological crises on both the global and local scales. We also emphasised how OviCloak was designed to make the contraceptive inclusive for all uterus owners as compared to alternative options available in the market which are not inclusive for individuals with different hormonal levels, reproductive tract disorders, fertile intersex and trans individuals. We also discussed through the article how OviCloak could be a safer alternative with respect to the health of contraceptive users and the environment at large. 

Our article in the Manthan magazine

Read our article

DNA Day with MolecularCloud

The Discovery of DNA is an important milestone in the history of genetic research. Elucidation of the structure of the DNA by James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and colleagues led to the subsequent development in molecular biology and genetic engineering. To celebrate and commemorate this success, three of our team members created an artistic representation of DNA. 

Our team member, Shivam Kumar, designed a pencil sketch titled “ASTRA DNA”, which represents an amalgamation of biology and astronomy depicting the advancements and developments made in the macro and micro world. The second artwork was created by Lochan Chaudhari titled “DNA dancing to the tune of life”, which represents the dancing DNA being transcribed to give rise to the melody of life. Komal Pati created the third artwork titled “The secret of life”, illustrating how DNA lays the foundation of life, leading to the diverse creatures we see today. These images were published by MolecularCloud on their website for the DNA Day Photo Contest of which ASTRA DNA and DNA dancing to the tune of life received Silver and Bronze prize and The secret of life received an honourable mention. The images were also published in our social media handle to communicate to a broader audience.


Engaging with the public through social media 

Our team engaged with the public through its social media handles, giving a sneak peek of our project work from time to time. To provide the audience with a short glimpse into our daily routine at the laboratory, we conducted Insta live demonstrating Agarose gel preparation and SDS gel preparation. To introduce our viewers to our idea- OviCloak, we released our promotional video to communicate to a large audience about our project idea and how OviCloak can be a safe and sustainable alternative to the currently available contraceptives. We subsequently also released the promotional video in Sign language to communicate to a more inclusive audience. 

Social media engagement

Check out our Instagram

Interview with Genscript

Our team was given an opportunity to be interviewed by Genscript to discuss OviCloak and how we used synthetic biology to develop a contraceptive. The interview provided us with an opportunity to interact with professionals in the field of synthetic biology and gain public exposure. During the interview, we discussed our idea and the social impact of the project. We also discussed how we plan to incorporate Human Practices into our project. We also discussed our aim to instigate a fresh perspective on contraceptive development using synthetic biology. The recorded video of the session was uploaded on Youtube by Genscript, which provided us with an opportunity to communicate our idea to the scientific community. 

Watch Genscript Interview

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