Our team was very active in teaching about synthetic biology to a wide variety of audiences. We talked about synthetic biology and taught new things to both adults and children. We were listened to by those who did not know anything about synthetic biology, and by specialists in the field. Next you can read about some of the events we have attended.
In April 2021, our team performed at a festival dedicated to the anniversary of the first flight into space. We talked about how synthetic biology could be useful in space. Our listeners were ordinary people of all ages.
What can you tell about synthetic biology to both a child and an adult? Our team talked about how our project could help not only in cancer treatment, but also in solving the problem of bone destruction in space! The presentation was devoted to a problem of osteopenia that astronauts face regularly because of low physical activity on space stations. Our team members showed some examples of decalcified bones of “space turkeys” and the audience was given the opportunity to test them for strength.
By the way, our project could be used as a prospective solution to the osteopenia problem. Using our system of target delivery of mRNA to cells we will make it possible to reprogram bone cells and stop their distraction.
The Days of Physics is a festival, which is held at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in May. Beer Talks is one of the most visited events during this festival. The festival is aimed to share ideas among students and professionals in different scientific fields. It helps to unite “phystechs” of all generations. Our team decided to talk about our project and synthetic biology at this event. Our motivation was to show to talented students from other faculties and graduates of our alma mater what synthetic biology is.
Interactive quiz for school children
In September, our team organized quizzes relating to interesting biological facts and the bioengineering basis and held them for grade 10-11 students. Our aim was to tell high schoolers about synthetic biology and the iGEM. During the quiz, students answered our questions. Our team creates special rules and questions to improve children’s perception of information. The rules of the quiz were developed on the basis of the Russian version of “Jeopardy!” TV-game. The questions included different levels of complexity. Some of them followed the regular school curriculum. We tried to tailor our assignments so that everyone could solve them. Another part was devoted to the development of logical thinking which is especially important for work in synthetic biology. Some assignments require children to be creative. We also added a few questions for kids studying biology at a deep level. After an interactive lesson, all children received commemorative prizes reminiscent of our team, iGEM and synthetic biology.
Lecture for students at the library "Nauchka"
The "Nauchka" is the first Russian popular science library, which takes place in the very center of Moscow. Our team believes that it is very important to make knowledge available to everyone. So we gave a free lecture on synthetic biology in this interesting place. Our main audience was medical and biological students. We hope that we have been able to inspire them to participate in iGEM and to solve global human problems through synthetic biology.
Geek Picnic is one of the largest scientific festivals in Russia. We believe that this is the most significant event in which our team participated.
During the event we had a chance to enlighten the audience both in theory and in practice. First, we gave a lecture. We talked about iGEM, our project, molecular and synthetic biology, and the problem of carcinogenicity in the modern world. Our lecture was opening at Habitat Lectorium. It is important to note that a variety of people, of all ages and professions, have come to listen to us.
In addition to the lecture, we presented our stand at this event. Any interested person could try their hand in the quiz and get pleasant prizes from our team MIPT_MSU and the sponsors of our project. The quiz questions included the most interesting details from the world of synthetic biology. And, of course, after the person answered the question, we told them something new about biology.
In addition to the quiz, many demonstration materials, such as luminous bacteria, were presented at our booth, which proved to be of interest to both adults and children. After that we have shown many chemical experiments and we even let people do their own thing and participate in practical competitions.
But the most interesting thing we’ve been able to do is set up a mini-lab. During Geek Picnic, we were able to teach everybody to use metering, PCR, visualize and analyze reaction products using gel electrophoresis. Even children who have not yet gone to school have been able to try on the role of molecular biologist! By the way, our booth was the most visited at the event (read more about the event here).