iGEM 2021 - Jianhua


Many iGEM teams are located in Beijing, we took advantage of this. Throughout the process, we carried out our collaboration via holding meet-up events with BHSF and QHFZ, using our advantage to cope with other teams’ problems, and supporting BNU-China on Human Practices, alternate with our borrowing BNU’s Saccharomyces Cerevisiae cell in their biology bass.

Since we are a high school team, accessing to microorganisms can be a difficult task. We managed to ask universities for help. Luckily, BNU-China, which is the team of Beijing Normal University, accept this request and provide us with laboratory Saccaromyces Cerevisiae cell. In terms of project design, BNU instructed us to use AbA-YPD selection medium for selection and cultivation, and provided assistance in the design of homology arms: such as using Pubmed to consult relevant literature, and NCBI for sequence homology analysis, suggesting that the longer the sequence is, the more efficient the sequence. It is recommended that we choose the length of 1kb-2kb for matching in the upstream and downstream of the target gene.
This assistance is very crucial to our experiment. We, in turn, give back our laboratory data and feedback. Finally, the appropriate homology arm was selected based on the homology analysis, and the recombinant engineering yeast was screened out.

Jinzhou Wu and Zimu Zhang holding the gem from Beijing Normal University.

Moreover, in our interviews regarding public opinion about transgenetic produced foods, and the prejudice against genetic modification and synthesis biology, we learned the fact that many people are not confident about such subject. Elder people who aged above 40, most notably, unanimously consider transgenetic foods or biologically synthesized product as detrimental. Under the circumstances, we knew the importance of educating the elderly about what these techniques actually are, and how they can influence our life positively.

With this purpose, we contacted BNU-China and took part in their education program, which was to educate the elderly about biological techniques in production. In this program, each team member educate at least five elderly people, ranged from parents to people in the community. We record this program by photographs and videos, and received certificates for completion. More specific information about this program is listed in Science Communication part.


With the help of BNU's educational project platform, we wentd out of the laboratory to establish contact with the public, relatives and friends to understand their concerns about genetically modified technology, thus clearing some of the obstacles to the market application of our project products and enhancing the public's scientific awareness. And took on the responsibility of being a high school student.

Apart from receiving help and supporting BNU-China, we also carried out communication and cooperation with other two high school team in Beijing: BHSF and QHFZ. We held a meet-up event, which is also uploaded onto the iGEM calendar and collaboration page. The aim of this event was to comlement each other’s advantages, and provide assistance where we can. We introduced our project, the progress, and raised the problems we were then facing, and took each team’s advantage to cope with these problems. For instance, we reached an agreement on helping BHSF with modelling and wiki building, since they have almost none experience in these areas, while they would help us with experiment, which is their strength. We shared modeling tools with them, such as MATLAB and latex. When we needed to write code to solve equations, we also helped each other, learned together and solved problems together. We shared useful code with each other. When we had better ideas about each other's model, we also put forward suggestions and improvement measures. We also suggested that they can use the data in the literature for analysis and combined their own experimental data. In terms of experiments, we introduced our experimental progress. For the results of the first stage, such as the problem of excessively wide bands during protein electrophoresis, BHSF suggested that we reduce the amount of sample and reasonably control the electrophoresis time. Based on QHFZ’s own experience, they suggest that we make a backup of the experimental data.

Jianhua, BHSF and QHFZ meet-up

We passed out our post cards (On the table)

After the meet-up, this collaboration continued. We raised problems, report our progress and search for solutions against common difficulties through online communnication.

Additionally, we are now planning a education program in local communities with BHSF, who likewise are doing a genetically modified production project, to de-stigmatize transgenic technology and synthesis biology, as in the interviews we carried out in the Human Practice part we learned that many, especially the elderly, are still worrying about the safety and other unnecessary concerns in terms of biological synthesized products or genetically modified foods. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the time limit we now are still high school students, this event is still on paper. But we have found a location and a corporation who are willing to host this event. (Link)