Education and Communication

We understand collaborating with other iGEM teams is a great way to make something meaningful together synthetic-biology related. This is why we had decided to create our own one to share with others and took part in 2 collaboration projects.

1) Ibowu-China’s Biodoodle project

2) WLC-Milwaukee Lab Manual project.

Alongside this, we have also created an idea amongst the team and decided to create what we call The Martina Project. The objective of this collaboration project which we shared with other teams is to improve scientific outreach and communication in a fun way that can hopefully spark interest in people who are not sure about the science field and what you can achieve in this field of study.

The Biodoodle Project with iBowu-China

This project proposed by the iBowu-China team during July through to August resulted in a brief introduction to biological concepts to all K12 readers in the form of a colouring book. iGEM teams were asked to send a drawing without colour and give a small description of the image. We decided to partake in this because we believe this was a quirky and very practical idea as we are able to help people understand concepts through pictures. We decided to draw up images to show the concept of Dolly. Dolly was the first clone produced from a cell taken from an adult mammal. The production of Dolly showed that genes in the nucleus of such a mature differentiated somatic cell are still capable of reverting to an embryonic totipent state, creating a cell that can then go on to develop into any part of an animal. We decided to create 2 images to convey Dolly. Here are our 2 additions to this colouring book:

The Lab manual Project with WLC-Milwaukee

This project organised by WLC-Milwaukee iGEM was to see how readable and how well instructions were laid out in an example lab manual for all levels of biology students. They had 3 different sections for students with different levels of knowledge in biology. Some members of our team read through the sections, wrote down their feedback, and we sent the feedback back to the team for them to see if they needed to make any changes to improve and also for them to see what areas are they doing right in. The lab manual was essentially a book of methods and questions for different levels of scientists. Here is the feedback one of our team members gave back:

“This is an excellent laboratory manual that caters for several levels of ability within a laboratory setting. Instructions are clear enough to follow and the information provided is in-depth enough to satisfy those completing the assays. The questions that both precede and follow the assays are well thought out and require thinking to answer in detail. They promote the user to integrate themselves with the given information both prior to and during the assays and are key to the understanding of the actual processes occurring throughout the assay and the lac operon operation itself. I would suggest that all pages are rechecked for spelling/grammar and that appropriate use of capital letters and italics are used, especially when naming bacteria. Overall, not only has a fantastic effort been made with this but it is an excellent choice of idea for a collaboration.”

The Martina Project

This collaboration idea was easy to come up with as Martina had been with us for a while. We shared our project idea on our teams’ Twitter and Instagram platforms as well as the iGEM Global Slack. The idea for this collaboration project came to life after one of our team members had created a mascot for our team and wiki. We call her Martina, our Martian friend. The objective was to tell Martina a fact about each iGEM team’s project in a non-technical one-liner. The purpose of this project is to improve scientific outreach and communication in a fun way. People can use their creativity to describe their project in as little as a few words in which people who have no science background can comprehend the bigger picture of what each team worked on this year. We were able to accomplish this task by sharing a blank Martina with a speech bubble floating above her head and we asked teams to deliver something unique of their own, to customize it how they wanted to, and to add a line describing their iGEM project in the speech bubble. In the end, we created a book which starred our teams Martina and other teams Martinis’ (baby Martinas’) which we shared with all the teams who participated and others as a fun inspiring look into synthetic biology project ideas and how widespread and global the iGEM competition is. Overall, this was a really fun little collaboration project, creative, simple, and effective. It was great to see how enthusiastic teams were about this and also how creative the Martini’s we received back from them was. We really enjoyed seeing everyones’ creations. Big thank you again to all 22 Teams who collaborated with us on this book!