Team:WFLA YK PAO/Human Practices


Integrated Human Practice
1.Expert interview
1.1 Dr.Chen Yuxuan ( Environmental engineering )
PhD. in Soil Science, School of Environment and Nature in Zhejiang University
To further know about microplastics in the environment, we had an interview with Dr. Chen who has an in-depth understanding of environmental engineering, pollution, and fungus. She explained how the microplastics in the soil enter and accumulate in the human body. She also mentioned the special traits of the microplastics, which cause further damage to the environment, such as strong adsorption. After answering our questions and introducing the basic channels by which microplastics enter the physical body, she proposed several possible solutions such as membrane separation technique and activated carbon absorption technique. This interview really gives us valuable and new insight about how to address the issue of microplastics accumulation that we never thought of before. Meanwhile, we started wondering whether the virus or bacteria will be attached to the microplastics or enter into the human body, which provides a new dimension for our study.
1.2 Dr. Zhiqiang Wen ( Biological genetic engineering )
Associate Professor. in Bioengineering, Nanjing Normal University
Today we had our second interview with Prof. Wen, who is mainly in the field of bioengineering, and he answered many questions about genetic engineering experiments, E. coli operation process, and the promotion and application of GM products in the market. First, he mentioned that although the probability of microplastics entering the nucleus was very small, once invaded, it could affect protein synthesis and processing, leading to increased energy dissipation. Given that scientific studies are now in the observation stage, there is no complete consensus on the harm of microplastics to the human body. Meanwhile, Prof. Wen dismissed the potential harm of engineered probiotics in the preparation process. He argued that E. coli, which is probiotic in nature, is hardly significantly harmful to humans during the rigorous preparation process. His conclusion affirmed the safety of our research product. Finally, he gave a scientific explanation on the public acceptance of genetically engineered products and the precautions for promoting GM products, which is helpful for our PEToracity group to follow up with street research and lecture science for the general public. All in all, the students of both the dry and wet teams benefited from the forward-looking comments made by Prof. Wen in the second interview.
1.3 Yida (Jamie) Li ( Marketing )
An Experienced Marketing Counselor in L'Oreal Company
We had an interview with Jamie Li who has worked in the marketing field for decades in order to better know how to publicize our products effectively. He introduced the basic and the most essential principle of marketing, which is “regard the start as the end”. This idea notices us to keep our marketing purpose in mind all the time and recognize the largest customers. Moreover, he emphasized that we should not guess or blindly judge the thoughts of customers or predict the market trend. Instead, searching for the past data and examples are the most important and indispensable step before we draw a conclusion. He also gave us several useful marketing tactics. For example, by using own experience to convince others. We could let one person use our probiotics product every day and after one month, we could invite he or she to give some feedback and customer feelings. In addition, advertising on more platforms such as Tik Tok, Instagram or Youtube will be more likely to attract huger customers. Finally, being aware of the pain points of every kinds of customers helps us to sell our goods to specific groups. This interview enables us to know more marketing knowledge and offers us novel publicity means such as developing a small game. We can take what we have learned today into practice flexibly in the promotion phase.
2.Field research
On Aug. 14th, two members of the dry team (Yige Li, Yining Wu), and two members of the wet team (Yina Li, Jingxiang Gao), interviewed Mr. Sun from the Environmental Inspection Bureau. First, Mr. Sun introduced us to the three steps of environmental management. The first is the environmental indicator, including the control of heavy metals and pesticides in soil and surface water. The second is the ecological indicator, such as the diversity of species in the environment. And the third, is the relevance of ecology to human health, but scientists are just beginning to implement this step. After that, he pointed out to us that the fundamental purpose of environmental improvement is for human and ecological health, which affirmed the significance of our genetic modification of E. coli to degrade microplastics in humans. After communicating with the expert for more experiment details, Mr. Sun suggested that we focus our lab report on the function and significance of enzymes for the degradation of microplastics in the human body, and also think about how to present the experimental results and how to show the functional effects of the probiotic bacteria of intestinal engineering. Mr. Sun suggested that we market the product as a probiotic drink preserved at low temperature, as this facilitates the preservation of microbial activity and ensures the efficacy of the product. Today's interview made us discover many of our own shortcomings and strengthened the determination of dry team members and wet team members to communicate with each other.
3.Publicizing ( Online questionnaire and street interview)
Based on the content of inspiration, we further collected information about microplastics, created an online questionnaire, and did street interviews. We analyzed a total of 349 valid samples.
Our questionnaire and interview questions are divided into the following parts.
1. Understanding the background of society. The vast majority of respondents had little knowledge of microplastics and their hazards. Therefore, we determined the most important step is to draw the public's attention to microplastics issues. This set the direction for our subsequent propaganda and popularization of science.
2. Carrying out science popularization when users are filling out questionnaires or during street interviews. For example, after the respondents answered that they did not know about microplastics, we gave them science popularization about microplastics in life, the ways microplastics enter the human body, and its potential hazards to the human body.
Most of the respondents expressed their concern about the harm of microplastics to human health. Combined with the current situation of the society, we found that the pain point of the market is the contradiction between the public's concern about the hazards to the body and the lack of drugs on the market to solve the problem of microplastic residues. Thus, we further determined that the focus of the subsequent publicity is to first make the public pay attention to microplastics issues.
3. Asking the respondents about their acceptance of health products and probiotic drinks. We believe that engineering probiotics cannot be positioned as drugs or health products because it will give customers the idea that they are sick. Probiotic drinks are widely accepted as daily drinks also because of their better taste.
4. Introducing our program and asking respondents about their willingness to buy our products. 48.02% of the respondents gave a willingness score of 7 and above, with an average score of 6.21. We analyzed the consumer tendencies and personal information of the high willingness buyers (7 and above). It was determined that our future audience is 16-55-year-olds who drink probiotic drinks 1-2 times a week. Based on this, we identified data on user retention, finalized product positioning, and promotional direction, and used this data to analyze the commercial prospects of the product.
5. Asking the public their concerns about our program. Most of the respondents in the street interviews raised the concern of whether our product has side effects. We also addressed this issue after communicating with Professor Han. We improved the explanation of this issue in the public presentation to the our audience.
In order to understand the public's perception and acceptance of microplastic products, we conducted street interviews and questionnaires. To further understand and promote our project, we interviewed experts in environmental engineering, genetic engineering, and marketing respectively. Plus, we visited the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Bureau in the form of VR maps, and we had a face-to-face discussion with the staff.
All of these activities provided us with useful insight for moving forward with our project.
1) We have developed a better understanding of the safety concerns of gene-editing techniques, GM products, and probiotics;
2) We got to know the primary concerns and key procedures of environment monitoring, which are also consistent with our project goal;
3) We further identified our potential clients and a feasible product design.
Meanwhile, during the whole project, we promoted our product concept to the public by creating an official account, publishing interactive videos on Bilibili and online sales, with the combination of public education, brochures distribution and offline sales. All these activities are of great significance to the promotion and completion of our project.