UN Sustainable Development Goals are what we keep in mind from the very beginning. We have explored three SDGs in our work on develop a novel acne therapy to help those people who are suffering from this annoying disease: SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being, SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth and SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.
Acne is so common that it has long-term social and economic implications, affecting people’s physical and mental health.
For SDG 3, through research and interviews, we found shortcomings in the existing acne treatment. Our project focuses on acne treatment, minimizing side effects. We also carried out a lot of acne science popularization activities to help everyone understand and deal with acne.
For SDG 4, we have designed different education activities aimed at people of all ages, including kids, senior school students, university students and the general public. Education materials including a small game, a popular science brochure and stickers are also designed.
For SDG 8, we have written a complete business plan and won recognition from the school's employment guidance center, Ascentage Pharma and Humanwell Healthcare.
For SDG 9, we established a league for skin project and used social media to create an inclusive and sustainable community for popular science activities. Memes created by us will further enhance our influence.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being
In this part, our goal is ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. For teenagers, suffering from acne at a long stage will affect their mental health and well-being, cause their facial anxiety and mental pressure, which is not good for them. However, according to our questionnaire survey, many products on the market can’t effectively alleviate the anxiety of teenagers.
Our project aims at the acne caused by these factors, and we hope to develop a more convenient drug treatment for acne with fewer side effects to help teenagers out of the facial anxiety. On the one hand, our engineered bacteria have stronger ability to decompose fatty acids, dredge the blocked pores, and destroy the Propionibacterium acnes’s anaerobic environment for survival, competing with the Propionibacterium acnes for fatty acids as a nutrient source. On the other hand, our engineered bacteria can secrete bacteriocin that can specifically kill Propionibacterium acnes. At the same time, in order to ensure the accurate synthesis and appropriate secretion of killing substances, we added a fatty acid sensitive promoter in front of bacteriocin, and we hope to prevent our engineered bacteria from polluting the environment and causing other security threats by using a nutrient deficient strain.
We also carried out a lot of acne science popularization activities to help everyone understand and deal with acne. At the same time, we emphasized the importance to clean and protect skin, designing an activity with “Microbes on the Skin” as the theme for children. Especially, each child pressed his or her own fingerprints on the medium before and after washing hands and we cultured the plates for one day. Through the results of the plates before and after hand-washing, we emphasized the importance of washing hands properly, which is quite important for children's health.
Please see our Education for more detailed information.
SDG 4: Quality Education
1. Science popularization activities
We carried out a series of acne science popularization activities to help everyone understand and deal with acne. From children to high school students, then to college students, eventually to the whole society, we conducted a lot of activities.
We had the incredible opportunity to give a popular science activity with “Microbes on the Skin” as the theme to children from public elementary schools in Chagang Community.
For middle school students with a certain knowledge base, we carried out some deep communication with them. On July 25, 2021, the high school students of XHD-WUHAN-Pro-China iGEM team came to communicate with us. We helped each other improve the projects, and it was also a good training and promotion for ourselves.
Similarly, after the beginning of the new semester, we contacted with the teachers from affiliated high school of Wuhan University and got great supports. We came to the campus to give a lecture on synthetic biology and introduced our project to them.
In universities, we held a lecture on synthetic biology and iGEM on the first weekend after the freshmen came to College of Life Science in Wuhan University. We offered as much information as we can in a way as detailed as an instruction book. We believed these introductions did help the freshmen know synthetic biology and iGEM well.
For the public and society, we participated in an activity, and have Science popularization education and discussion with teachers, students and other citizens from the Youth Center.
2. Supplementary materials
A small game
When popularizing science among primary school students, we found that some children are easy to be distracted. We designed a mini-game to capture their interest and helped them learn about synthetic biology and acne while having fun.
In addition, in the new version we are working on, we plan to add Q&A sessions when players fail.
It is hoped that knowledge will be available to more age groups in appropriate forms and we desire to share what is going on in the field of the most fascinating and promising synthetic biology with the future owners of our planet.
We made a lot of stickers related to the project and gave them to people as souvenirs during the promotion and presentation.
Popular science brochure
We set up Skin league with other three teams and have made a meaningful and peculiar science handbook to not only spread our projects but also contribute to the introduction of synthetic biology. In order to reach a wider audience, we have produced both Chinese and English versions. It is excellent in art and design and we hope that it will inspire other iGEM teams.
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
Considering the future commercialization of our project, we have written a complete business plan after completing a series of work.
Our project participated in the selection of the school's employment guidance center. They believed that we had successfully completed the entrepreneurship survey and market research of our products and objectively evaluated the future development of synthetic biology.
We also set up a meetup online with the managers of Hubei Humanwell Chengtain Pharmaceutica co., LTD and Ascentage Pharma. It was our group leader in real-word application who contacted these two companies. Luckily, we have won recognition from these two companies.
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.
1. Workshop for skin project
When discussing with other iGEMers, we found that some of us were devoted to solve some skin diseases. In order to deal with some similar problems in skin diseases and seek close cooperation between different schools, we set up Skin league. On July 12th, we had a discussion about the forms of cooperation. This was our first workshop for mutual understanding.
Led by our team, we Skin League compiled the Popular Science Brochure for public to better understand not only the synthetic biology but also the project of us Skin League members.
2. WeChat platform
Meanwhile, we have built an official account on WeChat to push some tweets about the knowledge of acene, skin care and synthetic biology, also report the progress of our team work.
In order to better spread our project, we made a set of emojis related to the project. The content of these emojis is about synthetic biology and acne. It not only popularizes the knowledge of acne and calls people to pay attention to skin health, but also brings synthetic biology closer to people's lives, increases acceptance and enhances our communication with society.