The activities impacted our project purpose, design and execution.About HP
Pre-project Questionnaire Survey
Diarrhea often plagues us. We want to know if everyone has the same predicament, so we launched a social survey.
Our survey covers people from different areas in different age groups. The survey shows that 98.48% of people have experienced diarrhea. 32.24% of people are more frequent, about once a month, once a week, or multiple times a week. This shows that diarrhea is a part of most people’s lives.
When people have diarrhea, 56.26% of people do not deal with it after diarrhea occurs, 31.35% of people buy medicines on their own, and only 8.6% of people go to the hospital for help from a doctor. This shows that most people still don't pay enough attention to diarrhea, which may lead them to ignore some diseases with diarrhea as the initial manifestation.
Diarrhea can affect our lives. More than half of the people interviewed suffer from diarrhea disrupting their original work and study plans. 11.13% can not enjoy their travels because of diarrhea. 10.37% often go to the toilet during class or work because of diarrhea which causes misunderstanding from their teachers and leaders. Some people also say that they cannot taste delicacies or be in a poor mental state because of diarrhea, and some even worry about the inconvenience of using the toilet when taking public transportation, etc.
However, in everyone's perception, nearly half of the respondents believe that diarrhea can not be a serious disease, and less than 10% know the detailed causes of death from severe diarrhea.
It can be seen that diarrhea is a disease that has caused widespread distress to the public, and the understanding of diarrhea is not sufficient. This is also the premise for us to carry out research on diarrhea-related treatment methods and expand diarrhea-related science.
Counseling from Doctors at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University & Shenzhen Second People's Hospital.
To more intuitively understand the performance of patients with diarrhea, and to obtain an introduction to diarrhea by doctors with many years of clinical experience to increase our understanding of diarrhea, we visited Dr. Jia Ai of the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University and Dr. Feng Juerong from Shenzhen Second People's Hospital.
In the communication with doctors, we gained a lot of knowledge about diarrhea that could not be found on the Internet, and the essence of doctors' summary based on years of diagnosis experience. At the same time, doctors also put forward many valuable suggestions for the project. For example, the audience should be considered, because people of different genders, different age groups, and even different regions have different applicable medicines.
It is worth mentioning that we mentioned that there is currently a treatment method to rebuild the intestinal flora, but it is generally not understood and accepted by the public. Dr. Feng suggested we take into account the degree of social acceptance while doing publicity and science popularization to dispel the masses, concern, and think about more appropriate promotion methods as well.
In addition, Dr. Jia reminded us to consider biosafety and medical ethics. For example, treatment with engineered bacteria must be strictly controlled from production to application to prevent engineered bacteria from leaking into the natural flora and causing biological pollution. Furthermore, if genetic engineering products are directly transferred to the human body, more in-depth medical ethics discussions may be required. The doctor advised us that if the project may eventually be clinically applied, we need to ask professionals to conduct an ethical evaluation.
Counseling from Feiru Biotech
Our ultimate goal is to transform the project into a product, or at least an idea that can be applied, to achieve the greatest social benefits. To this end, we communicated with Feiru Biotech. Feiru Biotech is a biological company specializing in the research and development of cell products and drugs.
During the exchange, we learned about the process of transforming technology into a product, which requires rigorous experimental verification and safety testing before it is possible to invest in further research and development and ultimately transform it into a drug.
The company's scientific research personnel mentioned that when developing new products, not only need to consider the product audience and market, but also need to consider the most fundamental thing that businessmen care about---commercial interests, which requires consideration of production costs. After the product is produced, it is also necessary to consider the later management and the development of other new products on this basis. We gained a lot and discussed and optimized the project with them.
Deep Blue Charity
Deep Blue Charity Sale is a large-scale charity sale and amusement park jointly organized by Southern University of Science and Technology Zhixin College, Nanke Public Welfare, and Shenzhen University Xili Campus. All the profits are used for public welfare undertakings.
SZU-China and SUSTech_Shenzhen iGEM Team prepared postcards, badges, masks, and other customized products related to the Team as commodities to sell. At the same time, we distributed mask DIY free of charge in the form of answering questionnaires or giving suggestions after listening to the brief introduction of our program. During this activity, we received a large number of suggestions and feedbacks from college students and professors of different majors and grades, which helped us to have a clearer understanding of the future direction of human practice and provided more ideas for experiments.
A student says that the exhibition booth of the SUSTech_Shenzhen iGEM team in Deep Blue Charity gave him a better understanding of synthetic biology-related knowledge. Since he had missed an exam due to diarrhea, he was very interested in our project. But he is still skeptical about the safety of engineered bacteria.
Additionally, through the introduction of our project, we popularized diarrhea and synthetic biology for the teachers, students, and some presidents who came to the booth, and made contributions to the public welfare while popularizing science activities. Meanwhile, we also enhanced the cooperation with SZU-China.
Counseling from Scientist
In the middle of the project, we realized in the contemporary research of synthetic biology, even a single synthetic route could be much more sophisticated than ever. Due to this fact, sometimes it is inefficient and also unreliable for us to utilize Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE) system as the only feasible model simulating the whole biological process. Extra effort should be paid to finding other practical models that can be conducted to obtain a relatively correct result using less effort. Aiming for this requirement, We introduce Boolean Network(BN) model and we scheduled a meeting with a professor who knows more about it for some advice. We talked about our project design and method with Professor, Wang Guanyu, and then we talked about the feasibility of inferring node states through the Boolean network. In addition, Professor. Wang proposed a potentially feasible method for us, that is, by solving the Boolean equation to achieve the required algorithm, which benefits us a lot.
Counseling from A Doctor at the Hospital of the Southern University of Science and Technology
When our experiment progressed to a later stage, to better understand the value of our project in the clinic, SUSTech-Shenzhen and SZU-China went to SUSTech Hospital to consult with a chief physician of the Department of Gastroenterology. We introduced the principle and use of our project to the doctor in detail, hoping to get the doctor's opinion on it from the perspective of doctors and patients. The doctor introduced us to the current mainstream drugs for the treatment of diarrhea and the principle of choosing which drugs to use and helped us analyze the possible advantages in a variety of drugs for the treatment of diarrhea if the engineered bacteria we designed were on the market. In this conversation, we learned about the possible long-term clinical significance of our treatment, which can be used as a probiotic to help prevent diarrhea, can be added to food to facilitate the use of medicines for young children, can help patients with long-term unexplained diarrhea, and so on.