1. Left-Behind Children: We help children who are short of education badly, planting seeds of science in their minds

2. Undergraduates: Using an Original pattern, we break down barriers of discipline and attract people from different disciplines into synthetic biology.

3. Poor teenagers: We help them and offer free lectures, even teaching equipment.

4. The middle-aged: We encourage them to gain cutting-edge knowledge and keep learning through their life.

Left-Behind Children

Left-behind children are commonly existing but easy to be ignored in China. Parents go out for a long time due to work and cannot stay with their children, which leads to their negligence in the management and education of children. This will not only affect the children's learning grades, but also damage the children's mental health1.The rapid development of Shanghai, China has attracted a large number of migrant workers. This has led to the emergence of a large number of left-behind children whose basic knowledge is in shortage. They were the first forgotten people we have seen. So in order to help the left-behind children, we contacted Shanghai Jiuqian Volunteering Service Agency and successfully introduced biology explanations into their extracurricular classrooms.

Jiuqian Volunteering Service is a public welfare organization established in 2008 with the purpose of providing high-quality free public education for children, especially those whose parents work in Shanghai. Courses include various subjects, musical instruments and summer camps during winter and summer vacations. More than 10,000 children have been served.

We first advertised to the children about food safety in daily life, mainly about pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables in the farmer’s market. We added contents like how to clean the fruits, how to judge the symptoms of food poisoning, how to call for help, and so on.

Next, we explained to the children about the basic biological knowledge, including the discovery history of DNA and RNA, and their role in life. During the presentation, they actively participated and showed great interest in the field we introduced.

In the discussion after class, we also mentioned our RNA-based testing project. Unexpectedly, the children were very eager for novel knowledge and expressed their opinions and questions initiatively. Under our guidance, they showed their self-understanding ability of biology.

Poor Teenagers

It is a worldwide problem that poverty usually leads to dropout from school. Some children have lost the opportunities to receive education due to economic conditions, and have to help with housework and labor at school age.In this way, children lose access to biology and even have a high possibility of engaging in criminal activities2.

In southwest China, the backwardness of education is more serious. Especially in rural areas, where the terrain is complex, most people live on farming, the economy is underdeveloped, and educational resources are lacking.There are many students here who are unable to receive education due to difficult conditions.

In order to change this situation, we cooperated with the software team of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and went to the Middle School of Yuantou Town in Pingle County, Guilin, Guangxi Province.We rely on the abundant resources of SJTU, not only to provide course materials, but also to provide expensive hardware facilities, such as microscopes,electronic projections and other equipments, in order to improve the situation of poor students.

Following pictures are the environment of our vonlunteering site.

We had face-to-face discussions and exchanges with some local teacher representatives. The teachers introduced the local education and the difficulties they are facing, such as the shortage of educational resources, insufficient teachers and low quality of teaching, which still need to be improved.

First of all, we donated several microscopes to poor schools. These microscopes will become important tools for children to observe small creatures and will also add content to future biology courses.At the same time, we also taught the children how to use the microscope correctly, including pre-preparation, operation, and finishing steps after using.

What’s more,in view of the lively characteristics of children, we also brought interesting biological experiments-leaf vein bookmarks to the children and taught them how to use the medicine to remove the leaf flesh, leave the delicate veins and dry them up to make bookmarks, hoping to improve children's hands-on ability and cultivate their interest in biology from experiments.Finally, we compiled and displayed the children's works, and encouraged everyone to learn about the world by their own hands.

Our educational activities have been praised by local teachers, students and parents. This not only improved the hardware facilities of local education, but also provided children with opportunities to learn new knowledge and broaden their horizons.


It is well known that after high school graduates enter college, they will choose their majors, take specific courses, and interact with people in specific areas such as physics, computer science, mathematics, etc. This means that most students will no longer formally study biology, including synthetic biology. Consequently, these students lack knowledge of biology, and due to it, most students naturally don't participate in iGEMs. This will lead to the loss of talents and the unicity of talents in the field of synthetic biology, which is a great pity. Besides, as a comprehensive discipline, synthetic biology is very much in need of the most creative students and dynamic groups in college, and it also needs the involvement of students from other majors.

So, in order to break through this dilemma, our team SJTU-BioX-Shanghai developed a model with synthetic biology as the theme and with different disciplines, added featured discussion content, and carried out six disciplines of publicity and education, including: biology, medicine, physics, chemistry, computer science and mathematics. And our team led more than 110 undergraduates from different disciplines to visit the biology lab. At the same time, we designed questionnaires to see whether our preaching is conducive to students of other majors to understand and participate in synthetic biology.

We hope that this model helps college students of other majors to understand synthetic biology and even become a member of it. By promoting this model in other universities such as Tongji University, we see the possibility that more non-biological students at universities will learn about synthetic biology and offer constructive advice from different perspectives.


We preached to the students in the biology major. Because biology students have a good knowledge base, we detailed the principles of our project and the development process and successfully demonstrated how to use the knowledge of synthetic biology to solve a practical problem. What's more, in the featured discussion sessions we designed, considering that biology students often have difficulty defining synthetic biology, we mainly focused on distinguishing synthetic biology and genetic engineering, as well as how to define biological modules and designs, and so on. By encouraging students to know about synthetic biology, we hope that more biology students can directly participate in the competition of iGEM.

Our speech has had a good effect. The questionnaire showed that 81.1% of students were able to answer basic questions of synthetic biology, such as the principles of designing biological brick, common system indicators, etc. 55% of the students learned about the interdisciplinary mode of operation. At the same time, more than 60% of students focused on major breakthroughs in synthetic biology.


This is a great challenge for us because the biological knowledge fundamentals of the interdisciplinary audience are weak. For physics students, we firstly introduced the event of iGEM , and then the general content of our project this year. At the same time, in order to give them a better understanding of the drastic change in biology, we discussed the formation of Cooper pairs and furtherly the theoretical differences between quantum and macro levels in the special discussion session, starting from superconductor theory. Later, we talked about a typical example of biophysics: phase change in gene expression. With the help of preaching, we have given physics students a new knowledge of gene expression, encouraged them to analyze biological problems from their own perspectives, and used advanced equipment in the field of physics to promote the development of synthetic biology.

Our educational activities have achieved their propaganda purposes. Back to the questionnaire, it showed that 82.3 percent of students learned about iGEM, 77.6 percent said the activity was conducive to increasing their acceptance of biological knowledge, 81.2 percent of students were able to interpret basic biological nouns, and more than 66.6 percent of students noticed the cases which physics was involved in synthetic biology.


Medical students have certain biological knowledge basis, and they are also direct users of biological products. We had a brief overview of the iGEM events and our project and tried to introduce our project from the perspective of medical students. Because doctors need the support of new technology in their actual work process, they are also well aware of the problems of the current industry. Medical students were encouraged to seek for practical solutions from learning and life, and to try to solve the problems through synthetic biology. Using the example of Exosome-dependent Alzheimer's screening in translational medicine, we analyzed how our 2021 program applies to early screening and diagnosis of disease in order to help medical students establish a logical system of problem solving and demand-oriented thinking.

Our speech inspired them. The questionnaire showed that 70.1% of students were able to answer basic knowledge of synthetic biology, such as the principles of designing biological brick, common system indicators, etc. 60% of the students learned about the interdisciplinary mode of operation. At the same time, more than 78% of students focused on major breakthroughs in synthetic biology.


Chemistry students have a good knowledge base, such as hydrogen bonds, Van der Waal’ Force. At the same time, our project has a part about the formation of chemical bonds, which we discussed with the students in the course of the project principal part. Apart from that, we also had a special discussion from the perspective of biological chemistry. We explained to them about the specific effects and workings of the amidohydrolase. Taking the stomach protease in daily life as an example, we illustrated the process of breaking the peptide bond, lets the students in the chemical direction understand the specific content of biochemical research, and stimulates their interest in entering the field of synthetic biology with a chemical background.

Our educational activities have achieved their propaganda purposes. Back to the questionnaire, it showed that 85.3 percent of students learned about iGEM, 95.6 percent said the activity was conducive to increasing their acceptance of biological knowledge, 64.7 percent of students were able to interpret proper nouns, and more than 79.6% of students noticed the cases in which physics was involved in synthetic biology.


In the presentation to students in Mathematics, we first gave a brief introduction of our project. What's more, given the math major, we shared with them the work of our project on mathematical modeling. Many parts of our project involve mathematical modeling and good mathematical modeling can guide and optimize our experiments: model predictions for synthesis and degradation during RNA transcription, for example. We took our iGEM project as an example to encourage students in the mathematical direction to play their own advantages, using mathematical modeling tools to participate in the construction of future synthetic biology.

Our educational activities were successful. The questionnaire showed that 80.1% of students were able to answer basic knowledge of synthetic biology, such as the principles of designing biological brick, common system indicators, etc. 40% of the students learned about the interdisciplinary mode of operation. At the same time, more than 50% of students focused on major breakthroughs in synthetic biology.

Computer science

We give a presentation to students in Computer Science. For participants from ACM(Association of Computing. Machinery) of Shanghai Jiao Tong university who are wonderful teammates of an international computer competition. We started with a topic of international competitions and talked about the development history and schedule of iGEM, so that they could have a preliminary understanding of iGEM. At the same time, we prepared a lecture on bioinformatics, and the specific theme is "protein folding alphafold". Through the explanation of algorithmic thinking and construction, students could understand how to view and solve biological problems from a computer perspective. And we encouraged them to join the field of synthetic biology, too.

Back to the questionnaire, it showed that 76.3 percent of students learned about iGEM, 80.6 percent said the activity was conducive to increasing their acceptance of biological knowledge, 90.2 percent of students were able to interpret proper nouns, and more than 56.6 percent noticed the cases where physics was involved in synthetic biology.


Tours to Our Laboratory

Not only did we conduct popular science education and featured discussions for students in 6 disciplines, but we also led more than 120 undergraduates from different disciplines to visit our iGEM laboratory in batches. During the visit, we explained the safety regulations in the laboratory, the operating instructions of various instruments, and personally demonstrated how to use the instruments for students who had never entered the biological laboratory, including Clean Bench, pipettes, PCR instruments, etc. This visit enabled students in other subjects to understand the real comditions of iGEM experiments and see the specific operation of normal synthetic biology, which is impossible to learn from books. What's more, such visits have increased the understanding of synthetic biology among students in other disciplines and greatly stimulated their interest in participating in relevant experiments.

Model Promotion—Tongji University

In order to prove the feasibility of education for non-biological college students, we not only completed the school's 6 different majors of interdisciplinary education, but also hope to extend it to more universities and jointly practice such an educational model.

Tongji University is our partner. After exchanging our ideas, we found that both of our plans had the ideas for the education of college students. So we provided them with our model. We believe that iGEM competition as a cross-discipline comprehensive competition, the object of education should not be limited to life science-related professional students, but should be further extended to mathematics, physics and other related majors. Based on this, Tongji University team listened to our views, and we both agreed to target more students in other disciplines as educational objects in the subsequent education activities, and to extend this education model to more universities in China.

The Middle-aged

The production pillar of the whole society is the group of middle-aged people3. But they find it difficult to get away from the daily busy and complicated work. In this way, they will be neglected in terms of learning new knowledge and improving their scientific literacy.

Aiming at the characteristics of the middle-aged group. We relied on large-scale science popularization stations in the farmer’s market, where they can preach and study. We have published brochures for them to learn about scientific knowledge, too.

At the same time, we have also prepared convenient online courses so that they can watch and learn anytime, anywhere, receiving popular science education and improving their own knowledge storage. We hope that through our efforts, we can spread popular science education to this busy middle-aged population, improve social science thinking, and even increase productivity.

First of all, we went to the Shanghai Food and Drug Safety Science Station for professional study. Here, we have seen the integration of multiple education models. First of all, education can be conducted in the form of quick tests. We can master the correct daily safety knowledge by answering small questions. Also, we learn to record popular science videos to explain the hazards of various potential threats and fast-detected target substances to our health.

Secondly, in order to be able to fully reach our target population, we choose to go to the farmer's market, where many middle-aged people will purchase food. We explain the basic knowledge of rapid detection on the spot, containing simple principles, detection limits, sensitivity and specificity. In order to give local people a basic idea of our detection, we also explained the criticality of a series of substances in pesticides, and told them about some typical safety incidents in the past. We can see that the public started paying attention to related safety incidents and spontaneously conduct quick inspections around them.

After the on-the-spot lecture, we found that our strength was limited, and we could only give a small portion of middle-aged people who come to buy food popular science education. Therefore, we need a much more popular tool that is not limited by time and space, facilitates learning, and has a wide range of influence.

Therefore, we have produced a series of educational videos on biological themes so that viewers can play on-demand at the time they want. We cooperated with Tianjin University to put our educational videos on public platforms to make more people able to watch.

The difficulty of the content is differentiated, from low-difficulty-level explanations to medium and to high difficulty level(for people with existing knowledge foundations, and contains introduction of our specific quick test items from the perspective of new nucleic acid applications).

We hope that the content we present shows a certain degree of cohesion. Therefore, we introduced the basic knowledge in the low-difficulty area, detailedly explaining the functions of DNA, RNA, and protein, which laid the groundwork for our testing projects. So that the audience can understand and master relevant concepts after receiving the science popularization in the low-difficulty area and even become interested in learning the knowledge of difficult areas.


In order to prevent “working behind closed doors” and “ignoring the process of communicating with other peers”, we continued carrying out relevant scientific communications with various teams, projects, and the public throughout the entire project. We hope to jointly understanding synthetic biology, scientific research, and the local society.


We contacted the iGEM team from Lanzhou University and the SJTU-Software team in advance, and launched a short-term meeting for mutual exchange and learning together.

At the beginning of our meeting, all teams had enough time to share our respective progress.In the communication process later, we gave each other some suggestions and improved the summary words of our our projects.

We also received strong support from Prof. Wei Chaochun during the exchange process, who put forward constructive suggestions on our projects and helped us further improve ourselves.


Thanks to the hosting of Fudan University, we participated in CCIC, an exchanging event for iGEM projects and synthetic biology in China. During the three-day meeting, we shared each other's projects, listened to academicians’ lectures, and discussed in-depth with the company to understand the market.

In this meeting, we participated in thematic reports and workshops about different topics, and got answers to the questions encountered in various iGEM projects. At the same time, a number of top experts and scholars from academia, industry, and social sciences shared their achievements, opinions, experience, and knowledge in their respective fields with teachers and students from all over the country.

In this meeting, we also find Nanjing_NFLS team as our collaboration partner for the same goal. (specific information please click to collaboration )

At the same time, we also accepted the suggestions and opinions from the judges, carefully considered the position of our project, and decided not only to improve the development speed, but also to focus on the specificity of nucleic acid detection for substances that are difficult to accurately distinguish by antigens and antibodies. And we hoped to develop its new application areas.

And here is the poster we made for CCiC:


New Pollutant Alliance

New environmental pollutants are one of the many modern problems faced by mankind. New pollutants refer to chemical substances that are not included in routine environmental monitoring, but may enter the environment and cause known or potential negative ecological or health effects, and may become the subject of future regular management. The new pollutants of international concern at this stage include: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), perfluorinated compounds and other persistent organic pollutants, antibiotics, microplastics, etc. These compounds have attracted widespread attention from all walks of life, and they are also a hot spot in scientific research.

In order to have a deeper understanding and mastery of the project, we formed the New Pollutants Alliance with OUC-China, Nanjing_NFLS, HiZJU, and DUT, and held an online workshop with the theme of New Pollutants on September 25, 2021.

We invited teachers in the field of synthetic biology and ecotoxicology, companies in the field of rapid test, and students with legal backgrounds to share and discuss, hoping to gather more strength , explore the solutions to new pollutants from multiple dimensions, and make a better world together!

The following is our schedule:

We have all learned a lot from this workshop. First of all, Professor Wang Baojun's general summary of synthetic biology and his introduction of his work gave us a deeper understanding of the programming and controllability characteristic of this new project. The specific contents are as follows:

Afterwards, different teams introduced the projects and the teachers gave their comments and suggestions, and at the same time we also received the teacher’s affirmation:

This is the mind mapping for lecture of Prof.Wang jun:

Every team gave a speech about their project.

After that, Shanghai Ruixin Company launched an introduction to rapid testing. Their pesticide residue detection reagents and pesticide residues Colloidal gold test cards are used for the rapid detection of pesticide residues in vegetables, fruits, and Chinese herbal medicines. The detection range of pesticide residues includes organic phosphorus, carbamates, pyrethroids, nicotines, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and other pesticides.

This is the mind mapping for lecture of Shanghai Ruixin Cop.:

After a short break, we started a mutual discussion on the theme of Ecotoxicology. Professor Zhang Xiaona, Professor Yuan Qingshan, Professor Wang Jun, and Professor Wang Jun respectively gave a detailed introduction to the topic. The specific contents are as follows:

This is the mind mapping for lecture of Ecotoxicology theme:

In the end, we discussed environmental legal issues and appealed to work together for our ultimate goal, striving for a better local environment and a better nation environment.


Contact us

BioX-Institutes, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Dongchuan Rd. 800

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