Team:Think Edu China/Human Practices


As part of our human practice, our team aimed to make our project is responsible and applicable for the society. Not only would we fully consider the possible impact of our projects on the world, but also intended to receive feedbacks from the public, stakeholders, experts, and patients through interviews or questionnaires, and reflect the results in daily meetings to modify and improve our projects accordingly. On this page, we will provide the insights that the interactions between different fields provided us to design and shaped the entirety of the project.

To be more specific, we first send out surveys and received public feedback for the initial design, then we inquire professional doctors on their opionions of antibiotics. Finally, we advanced our project from the field of medical world into poultry industry.

Survey: Insights from community


In the early stage of the survey and experiment, we plan to collect public opinions on the use of antibiotics through questionnaires, interviews and other methods. The questionnaire asked about recent antibiotic use. Through analysis, we learned that most patients received restricted antibiotics in specialized hospitals and kept antibiotics such as erythromycin and aspirin at home. After a series of research, we find that in fact use of antibiotics in poultry farming region ratio to be higher than we expected, and then we asked our public at the levels of poultry, use of antibiotics, our survey shows that most people are not pay special attention to the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry, The findings suggest that little is known about the use of antibiotics in aquaculture. After investigating what people think are the consequences of overuse of antibiotics in animal husbandry, we concluded that people are also less well informed about the situation and are more likely to use common sense. The results of the survey show that most people are aware of the pollution of the natural environment and the harm to human body caused by the residues of antibiotics in nature. Specifically, the harmful consequence is that bacteria, parasites and the like develop a degree of drug resistance that directly leads to animals. Future difficulties in disease prevention and control may even threaten human public safety. And that brings up a question that our team has been thinking about -- how do we solve the problem of overuse of antibiotics? And how we can address the overuse of antibiotics in animal husbandry. We didn't get very many answers. The current authoritative investigation only by the Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers designed and prepared two kinds of effective degradation of norfloxacin, tetracycline and other antibiotics catalyst. Through in-depth consultation and investigation with experts, it was found that the current degradation of antibiotics may mainly focus on how to effectively plan antibiotics for human treatment, and there may be little research on the degradation technology of antibiotics in animal husbandry.

Our Idea: meeting with professional doctors


In order to get a better understanding, we decided to hold meetings and interviews with professional doctors in the medical field to see their opinions on antibiotics abuses, and how we can improve the project.

What did we learn? Advancement on project:

Our team initially focused on the field of medicine, specifically to see how we are able to reduce the amount of antibiotics residues after the usage of the patients. However, after an interview with the off-site doctor, we found out that today in hospitals, in order for a prescription to be made, the doctor has to be at a certain level and also they have to have enough evidence in order to support the usage of the antibiotics, unlike the world of medicine before, where whenever a patient come up to them and have a problem they would give them antibiotics with a non-regulated amount. However, we then found out that this antibiotic could also be used in the field of poultry, and this opened a brand-new world to us. We found out that the residues of these antibiotic after staying in the environment is very harmful in 3 different aspects, first harm in animal health, second Harm done to environment, third is the harm in human health. Impacts are huge like 47300000 deaths are expected in 2050 for the continue usage of antibiotics following the trend today, so we changed our goal in to moving on to Poultry industry where now it breaks the residue of anti-biotics, we did some research over this in order to aim our goal more clearly before the experiment had come, we decide to use laccase as our enzmy(bio-catalysis) for its ability to break down antibiotics.

Communities lectures in different IGEM terms

Micro-organisms meetings

Overview: discussion about microorganism with Zhongkejiayi's manager Mr.Si

On September 10th, we met ZhongkeJiaYi's manager Mr.Si online to learn about the knowledge about microorganisms, including how is the bacterium categorized, what are the beneficial bacterium and its appliance. People start to realize the importance of gut bacteria in the maintenance of physiological state. Interestingly, we found out there are more and more alternative ways to treat disease, replacing antibiotics with micro-organism. To be more specific, antibiotics will disturb the micro-organism balance in the human intestine, but take-in beneficial bacteria could help to restore the balance.

Industry: Poultry industry

Why do we meet?

In order to learn about the current situation of antibiotics abuse, to find out the most desirable approach to solve this problem, and to research whether our product arepractical and actionable, we've came into a test site on September 9th and interviewed the poultry feeders and researchers there.

What did we learn?

According to Yaqi Jin, the researcher in Haiou Island Test Site, the current situation of antibiotic usage is being carefully supervised by the government. However, cases like antibiotics abuse are still easy to find within our country. Although the drawbacks of overusing antibiotics are obvious, some business owners still prefer to ignore the rules to gain mountainous profits. Under this situation, finding a solution to end up the harm of antibiotic abuse seems much more significant and urgent. Besides arranging the withdrawal period properly, people can also use diverse ways such as finding alternatives like vaccines, zymin to killing bacteria, or degrade the antibiotics chemically, physically, or biologically. When mentioning the product: whole cell biocatalyst EcN-IL, Yaqi said that it may have bright future in solving the issue of antibiotics abuse also residues in the natural environment.

Socioeconomic Challenges and sustainability


We chose to work on our project DEBIOTICS, aspiring to play our part, as future scientists, in achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. We understood, though, that intention and purpose weren’t enough to ensure that safety are integrated into our work.

What did we do?

We revisited professional doctors in Nanjing after the experiment had been done, also sent out survey asked their opionions on the future of our project. They all believed that this project is truly meaningful, while one thing to consider is that if the transcribed e.coil is really going to be push out for public use, the costs could be greater than the benefit it brings. We also designed a system, since the engineered strain can only survive in optimal pH level and temperate, it won't be harmful if escaped into the natural environment.


1. Mangiola, F., Ianiro, G., Franceschi, F., Fagiuoli, S., Gasbarrini, G., & Gasbarrini, A. (2016). Gut microbiota in autism and mood disorders. World journal of gastroenterology, 22(1), 361–368.