As we all know, there is a gap between scientific research and the public's reserves of scientific knowledge, and it is our responsibility to carry out education work. As iGEMers, we need to collect the current public's cognition of synthetic biology and our projects, and explain it as a simple way to let them understand what the scientists engage in synthetic biology. We have the responsibility to act as a bridge between researchers and the public, and strengthen their understanding of the frontier scientific fields by holding lectures or activities, designing questionnaire surveys and so on.

Survey on CREATE

Using synthetic biology as a tool to transform living organisms is a huge challenge in biosecurity. The lack of knowledge in the field of synthetic biology is one of the reasons why genetic engineering product is viewed critically. Therefore, we first chose college students as the subject of the survey to count the views about acceptance of chromosome free yeast cells practically using for drug delivery, environmental detection and gene therapy. We designed ten questions for the project about the degree of understanding of CRISPR and simply popularized the principle of CRISPR. Finally, we collected 500 questionnaires, and got involved in engaging the public, understanding their concern and trying to popularize gene editing to them.

  • The subject of survey
  • Applications of CRISPR
  • Acceptance of CREATE
  • Other ideas

The subject of survey

From the questionnaire, we got that 94.4% of people have taken the biology test in college entrance examination, and most of the students have a basic biological knowledge reserve, which is the basis for our following investigation. Among 500 freshmen, only 27.8% have heard of CRISPR technology. We can see that freshmen still lack the knowledge of CRISPR and the cutting-edge technology of biology, so we planned to hold a scientific lecture on our project and CRIPSR technology, in order to explain professional knowledge to students who want to learn about synthetic biology.

See More About the Lecture


Fig.1. Have you taken the biology test

in college entrance examination?


Fig. 2. Have you heard of CRISPR?

Online live lecture

In September 2021, iGEM Tianjin together with three teams(SZPT-CHINA, NWU-CHINA-A and TJUSLS_China) held a series of four online live lectures on "Synthetic Biology in Our Daily Life". We aimed to convey the relevant knowledge of synthetic biology to students who have an interest in synthetic biology. On the one hand, taking three excellent papers as examples, we introduced them how to solve the problems of precise drug delivery and disease treatment through designing regulatory switches and gene circuit. On the other hand, we also briefly shared our project scheme, and focused on the principle and application of CRISPR-Cas system technology used in the project.If you want to get more content, please click read more.


Fig. 6. The theme of live lecture

Synthetic biology is committed to connecting "genes" into a network, allowing cells to complete various tasks envisaged by designers. For example, combining networks with simple cells can improve biosensor and help inspectors determine the location of the lesion and repair the damage.


Fig. 7. A given example illustrates the realization of drug delivery through gene circuit construction

We were also concerned that CRISPR-Cas9 is the third generation of gene editing technology after the discovery of gene editing technologies such as ZFN and TALENS. It has become one of the most efficient, simplest, lowest cost and easiest technologies in existing gene editing and modification technology. Finally, we shared this technical principle with the audience and described the SHERLOCK nucleic acid detection technology and its advantages in detail.


Fig. 8. Introduction of CRISPR-Cas9 technology principle

After the live lecture, many students interested in synthetic biology actively exchanged their views on the principle application, biosafety and ethics. During the exchange and discussion, they gradually had a deeper understanding of the current achievements and future development of synthetic biology.


Fig. 9. Communication and sharing after lecture

Cultural festival

On cultural festival, our team gave a brief presentation about iGEM and our project, and the public showed great interest in CREATE. We selected some questions related to synthetic biology and science knowledge. In order to stimulate everyone's interest, we made DNA clay models and a petri dish coated with colored E coli to form various patterns as a prize for correct answers. We also provided a microscope to observe bacteria. What's more interesting is the fact that we explained the principles of DNA storage for everyone at the activity and taught them how to "carve their names into DNA". Surprisingly, this activity attracted students from different majors in our school, and everyone was very active in finding out how to convert names into four bases.
Finally, we exchanged cutting-edge technologies with students who are enthusiastic about synthetic biology, and introduced CREATE to them. Through the cultural festival, we learned more about the public’s attitude towards our project CREATE. Their attitude towards chromosome free yeast cells is active, and they were willing to exchange their views of the application of CREATE.

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Communication with junior high school students

In May, our team cooperated with the teachers at the invitation of school of chemical engineering, introduced our team’s and our partner CPU_China’s projects to the junior high school students at Nankai Middle School, and popularized the interesting applications of synthetic biology. Nankai Middle School is a top middle school in Tianjin. The students hold an extremely interest in life sciences, and some of them know a lot about cutting-edge synthetic biology technology. But they don’t know much about synthetic biology applications in our daily life.
During the communication, we explained the development of synthetic biology, iGEM, and DNA storage. In addition, we demonstrated the crude extraction and identification experiments of DNA in the laboratory, allowing students to learn the process of DNA extraction and see the true face of DNA for the first time. Finally, we introduced our project to them and held a small brainstorming event for them to guide them to think about how to use synthetic biology to solve problems. They were very interested in it and actively participated in it, sharing countless amazing ideas.
This activity gave them a deeper understanding of today's rapidly developing synthetic biology, especially in the area of DNA storage, which completely broke their understanding of applications in the field of biology. It is undoubtedly a shocking application to use four kinds of alternate base encoding may replace the traditional storage format. At the same time, it also let them know that these cutting-edge technologies closely related to us have been applied in our lives, and will have more disruptive effects in the future.We hope this activity can stimulate their interest in basic research of synthetic biology and they are willing to join us in the future.




group photo

Reference:Shibin Zhou. Bacteria synchronized for drug delivery[J]. Nature: International weekly journal of science,2016,536(7614).

Communication in COP15

On October 14, during the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD COP15), a global meeting held by the United Nations, the "COP15 Youth Biodiversity Scientific Exploration-Synthetic Biology Special Session" was successfully held online.
At the meeting, iGEM Tianjin introduced the role of our project in the field of biodiversity conservation—using a chromosome-free yeast system to avoid the destruction of species diversity and biological pollution caused by synthetic organisms. Our team assisted Shenzhen Synthetic Biology Association and other organizations in drafting the "Chinese Synthetic Biology Youth Responsible Scientific and Technological Innovation for Biodiversity Conservation Declaration" (draft), and introduced the content of the declaration at the meeting. Finally, we solicited opinions from other young researchers in synthetic biology and discussed the final draft. Participating in this conference made us realize that synthetic biology contributes to the protection of biodiversity and the realization of sustainable development goals. We also have the responsibility to step out of the laboratory to promote the implementation and practice of scientific and technological innovations in the future.

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About Us

School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University, 135 Yaguan Road, Jinnan District, Tianjin