Education & Communication
Our aim this year is to publicize the knowledge of Alzheimer's Disease and Synthetic Biology.
Topic 1: Alzheimer's disease
There is no doubt that most Chinese people know that Alzheimer's disease is a frightening neurological disease. In the early stage of our iGEM project, two doctors from the General Hospital of Eastern Theater command and Shanghai Huadong Hospital told us that the initiative of patients for Alzheimer's disease treatment mainly depends on the patient's educational level and family care. Knowing how challenging it was to grant physical and psychological supports to patients while maintaining wholesomeness and mental health and acknowledging that a targeted drug likely would not emerge shortly due to the lack of understanding for AD causes, we decided to approach AD more humanly. We hope to do our best to raise public awareness of Alzheimer's disease, urge patients to treat as soon as possible, and improve the quality of life of patients and their caregivers.
Topic 2: Synthetic biology and drosophila drug screening model
Although synthetic biology is imperceptibly changing the world, little is known about this discipline. We plan to tell interesting and vivid stories based on our iGEM topic content. In order to make our project reach different groups and individuals in various fields , we decided to carry out diversified activities.
At first, we wanted to hold some offline publicity activities during the summer vacation to communicate and contact with more people and continuously improve the influence and popularity of our team. We initially planned to give lectures with 4 iGEM teams in Hangzhou Low-carbon Museum and Shanghai Science and Technology Museum together , but it was cancelled due to the epidemic. Therefore, We had to do all of our summer publicity online. We finally decided to organize the activity in the form of offline campus publicity and online science popularization after the new semester begin .
Fig1. The overview map
In school (for teenagers): Because of COVID-19's epidemic prevention requirements, activities in public places are still restricted. We found that schools are the easiest places for us to organize activities. Our first choice is the biological community in the high school, which has many biological enthusiasts. At the same time, with the help of the influence of biological community, students of all grades can be called to participate.
Online (for all age groups): Wechat, Instagram and BiliBili were selected as online platforms. Wechat public account is a popular interactive platform in China for the popularization of synthetic biology knowledge, while Instagram is a popular interactive platform overseas for the popularization of synthetic biology knowledge. As for Bilibili, a well-known video website in China, it is suitable for promoting science video, watching science live steam is very popular in BiliBili.
Face to face talk
Due to the similarity of thinking form and communication mode, teenagers are our first choice for science popularization. In order to complete our science popularization plan - sharing Alzheimer's disease and synthetic biology, our team members applied to Shanghai Weiyu International School and Shanghai Pinghe School for iGEM lectures respectively. After being approval, the slides, posters and official account advertisements were also implemented quickly.
- We set three speech goals:
- Share the possible causes and latest research of Alzheimer's disease
- Share throubles of AD patients and their caregivers
- Show the latest achievements of synthetic biology
- Explain how to use model animals like drosophila to establish screening model
Fig2. The poster and materials for campus lectures
Yufan Wang, Chang Huang and Yiwen Wu on behalf of Worldshaper-Shanghai, gave lectures to their school’s biology club on September 13 and September 23, respectively. The majority of participants were high school students who decided to major in biology in the college or have intense interest toward biology. They were capable of basic comprehension of synthetic biology, so we included professional knowledge in our presentation.
We introduced the basic information of iGEM and the general idea of our experimental design especially the knowledge of Alzheimer's Disease. We also explained in detail the development of synthetic biology, the concept of synthetic biology and its specific operation content, as well as the technical perfection of synthetic biology and the ethical issues involved. There’s also a Q&A session in the presentation, students are all very interested in our topic and have a really good communicate with us. We also left precious live videos, unfortunately, the videos were too large to upload.
Here we show some questions discussed in the Q & A session:
Q1: If an artificial person is created by synthetic biology, is he / she / it human?
Q2: Whether there is a direct relationship between age and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?
Q3: Whether ethical issues will affect the development of science and technology?
Q4: Can stem cell technology be used to create a system simulating human beings to study Alzheimer's disease?
Q5: If drosophila larvae can also express symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (such as reduced crawling ability), does it prove that the onset symptoms have nothing to do with age?
Fig3. Discussion session with students
Live Streaming On Bilibili
A meaningful online activity was achieved with the help of Worldshaper-Nanjing, IvyMaker-China and ASTWS-China. We together hold a live streaming on Bilibili. Because synthetic biology is the main technology ways we use, also the live streaming is basic for the high school students who are eager to know how to use synthetic biology in the real world. So the main goal of this live streaming is to show students the possibilities of synthetic biology through projects by different iGEM teams.
We mainly introduced the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and how to establish a drosophila drug screening model for Alzheimer's disease by means of synthetic biology. We also found that the students were very interested in iGEM, so we took the time to describe some of our achievements and experiences in the competition. After introduce all these things, we also have a Q&A part which we have some question for the students who came to see this live streaming. We hope that more high school students like us can discover their potential and contribute to the world through the subjects they are interested in.
Fig4. Audiences chatted with us in live streaming room
We also hold a live streaming on bilibili with NEFU_China on October 6. This live streaming was mainly for some kindergarten children. Since those children are very young and don’t have much biology knowledge, we prepare some basic point about drosophila and Alzheimer's disease. When we finished, we asked the children some questions to see if they remember the knowledge.
Fig5. Showed basic concepts to kindergarten children
Moreover, in order to share our experiences and knowledge of attending iGEM, we publicized our project and researching processes in social media platforms (WeChat, Instagram and Bilibili). To endow readers a holistic approach to our project and experiment, we posted several popular science articles, basic information and discussing synthetic biology of our experiment.
Fig6. Our self-media account
To address the lack of understanding for AD as well as limited self-efficacy, we established another online official account “HippoComPass” to popularize the prognosis and pathogenesis of AD, and upload meditation courses to relieve the pressure of nursing, and provide a platform for communication between the caregivers and us.
Fig7. The meditation courses online
It is worth mentioning that our team cooperated with three iGEM teams and released a promotion video about the background knowledge of projects on BiliBili. We believe that the joint release of videos can more comprehensively show the application of synthetic biology to audiences, and the topic of each team will also attract people with different interests to the world of synthetic biology.
Fig8. Videos from four teams
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