Team:NMU China/Communication

Combatting COVID-19
Naval Medical University CHINA


In recent years, cellular immunotherapy is developing rapidly. As SARS-CoV-2 continues to mutate, the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 has gradually become normalized. "Toggle Macrophage" is based on cellular immunotherapy and targets patients who are infected by SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, we hope that through our science communication, we can accomplish three goals:
1. To popularize some knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 to children or adults who don’t know about it.
2. To understand the views of public on cellular immunotherapy and to popularize cellular immunotherapy to the public
3. Introduce synthetic biology to students or people, develop their interest in science and collect feedback in the process.
For these three goals, we carried out the following activities:

Education Package

Why do we want to make an education package?

Through investigations, we have observed that the levels of education are so different in China. In more developed cities in China, such as Shanghai and Beijing, synthetic biology and IGEM are well known by high school students. In most areas, students know nothing about synthetic biology and IGEM. In order to improve this situation, we have teamed up with Lanzhou University (See Partnership for more details) to produce an education package for students and teachers in these areas. (More details in Partnership )

What is the content of the education package?

The education package contains a manual and educational resources in two parts: elementary education and high school education.

Click to download the education package

Primary school education resources:
1.Learning slides(with explanation)
2. CAR-macrophage children’s book.

High school education resources:
1. Slides for high school (with explanation)
2. Silent-CAR introduction video
3. Silent-CAR project manual
4. More information on IGEM competition instructions
5. Synthetic biology learning manual
6. CRISPR-Cas13 introduction video

Highlights of Education Package

1. In order to make it easier for the teacher to understand, our slides are designed with explanations.
2. According to the knowledge level and the availability of high school students, we combine the display content with the outline of high school biology curriculum.
3. Introduce complex concepts in a simpler way like information questions in the college entrance examination.
4. Prepare the "Synthetic Biology Learning Manual" written by our teachers and members of NMU-China and an introduction of the basic information of IGEM.
5. Use feedback form to understand whether the content of the education package is appropriate and seek for further improvements.

How to produce it ?

1.For High school student
In the design of high school education slides, we were fortunate to be guided by the high school biology teacher. Mr. Wang is our scientific advisor for Education Package. Mr. Wang has been teaching biology in Shude School for more than 20 years and has rich experience in biology teaching.

Figure2:Xiang Wang, Biology Teacher, Shude High School

Based on these suggestions, we improved the slides, trying to be more simple, clear, focused, and concrete, so as to achieve the purpose to make students understand synthetic biology through the project.
2. For elementary school students
Different from high school students, elementary students have a low level of knowledge, so we focused on the science education of SARS-CoV-2. The primary school version of slides focuses on the cognition of SARS-CoV-2 and ways to deal with the epidemic situation. We hope that through our presentation, students can have a certain understanding of the current epidemic situation, know how to protect themselves, and learn some scientific knowledge. Better if they can develop good habits and the interest in science.

Use the education package to ensure its feasibility

Shude High School
We first applied our education package in Shude High School. Shude High School is a famous school in Sichuan Province, but it does not carry out IGEM project. Synthetic biology and IGEM are a whole new world for the students of Shude High School.
       1)Teach a lesson
After a lesson, students in this class had a primary understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and knew about immunology and biotechnology through the projects of NMU and LZU. At the end of teaching, all the students were asked to find the combination of synthetic biology and the project design, answering how synthetic biology guide our project. The students said that this lesson broadened their horizons beyond the basis of high school biology, enriched their comprehension of biology and synthetic biology. To our delight, some students showed great interest in synthetic biology and were willing to learn more.
       2)IGEM communication in the future
In the communication between Mr. Wang and us, Mr. Wang showed great willingness to make his students participate in iGEM. He said if given the opportunity, he would strongly support his students to join in. However, Shude High School does not have the experience of iGEM and teachers who are good at synthetic biology, lacking relevant guidance and conditions.
After we said that we could provide help and guidance, teacher Wang thought it would be very helpful. It started a new stage for our subsequent possible cooperation.

Primary school affiliated to Lanzhou University

Figure3:LZU-China used our Education Package and completed our users’ feedbak

On September 14, 2021, LZU-CHINA carried out an education activity at the Primary School affiliated to Lanzhou University in Gansu Province. During the presentation, the team had a friendly and close communication with students. The audience responded enthusiastically and actively interacted with the members of the LZU-CHINA. This education activity not only achieves the purpose of publicity, but also promotes the education for pupils.

Jinan Foreign Language Middle School

Figure4: Jinan Foreign Language Junior High School used our Education Package and completed our users’ feedbak

iGEMers from Jinan Foreign Language Middle School introduced SARS-CoV-2 and how to use biosynthetic technology to treat SARS-CoV-2 at Jinan Foreign Language School (junior high school) to help them expand their knowledge and better understand biology.

Shenyang No. 20 Middle School

Figure5: Northeastern University used our Education Package and completed our users’ feedbak

On the 13th, the NEU-China went to Shenyang No. 20 Middle School to conduct a science popularization on synthetic biology and SARS-CoV-2 .They also answered some questions on it.

Children’s Book

This year, NMU-China participated in the "Cell Factory" children’s book collection hosted by NNU-China. According to the cognitive level of the audiences of the book, the content is proposed to be easy to understand and combine with practicality and fun. That’s why we selected "Silent-CAR" in the "Toggle Macrophage" as the content of the book.
The picture book has 11 pages. The upper part introduces the process of SARS-CoV-2 invading the human body and replicating. It also shows the body's immune inflammatory response and disease developing. The lower part introduces the role of CAR. In addition, the "cell factory" produces CAR macrophages and inhibits inflammation and protects the body. In order to make these complex concepts interesting and easy to learn, we tell the story in personification and simile, such as "immune -force", "CAR- sword", "crown- spike protein", "weapon-immune factor", and so on, to construct the entire system of the story.
This book is merged into the "Cell Factory" children’s book collection. The electronic version is available for interested students to read. It can also be used as a popular science book to develop their interest in science. The paper version may be released in the future to expand the way of reading. At the same time, we also put the book into our education package.