Team:Aix-Marseille/Public Engagement

Our team was committed to providing community engagement activities that are inspiring and fun, as well as educational and interactive. We focused on interventions in public events (Science fair, Science festival...) as well as scientific events; 20th biotechnology forum, MIT-hacking-medicine, Faculty seminar (on the 21st of November). We ran activities and presentations (Biology and Chemistry basics) that targeted adults as well as children. Our main ideas to deliver were: Tuberculosis awareness, I WANT TB FREE project, iGEM values and synthetic biology.

Science fair or «Souk des Sciences»

Created in 2003, the science fair in Marseille is a place to exchange ideas and popularize Science using interactive, accessible, and fun activities. The aim is to increase the scientific knowledge and awareness of the general public. We've conducted surveys during the fair to evaluate people's knowledge about Tuberculosis, its diagnostics and treatment procedures. Then we exchanged with the visitors about the I WANT TB FREE project. It was a great opportunity to spread awareness about tuberculosis, among adults as well as children.

We delivered our ideas through two main activities.

Firstly, we used Biochemistry experiments (acid/base reactions, carbone dioxyde production) to simulate our diagnostics' colometric aspect. Secondly, we've setup a corner to teach about the basics of biology. The public had the chance to do macroscopic and microscopic observations on microorganisms, insects and vegetable cells. The corner attracted the youngest as well as adults.

That first education challenge was great. We succeeded in delivering our ideas and got lots of feedback on our project.

T--Aix-Marseille--souk 2.png

T--Aix-Marseille--souk 1.png

T--Aix-Marseille--souk 3.png


The MIT Hacking Medicine grand hack is a weekend dedicated to brainstorming innovative solutions for the health sector's issues. This year, several themes were on the menu: Oncology, public health, mental health and neurology. The forum included attendees from multidisciplinary backgrounds such as medical students, scientists, engineers, computer scientists, graphic designers and many more. The event is sponsored by many industries, start-ups and schools.

The weekend was enriching both in terms of knowledge and experience. We were able to submit our I WANT TB FREE project. It enabled us to see through our project and to discuss about bioethics and perspectives. It was an important step towards achieving a better understanding of the potential of our project and the aspects it encloses. For instance, we've met experts who gave us advanced insights about the methylase protein and how does it interact with the DNA without damaging it.

Having attended several conferences including the one of the chief executive officer (CEO) of doctolib, the president of Angels Health Mr. Bernard Kirsch and in particular the CEO of Novartis Mr. Frederic Collet who could bring us information on current health issues as well as the problems to be solved in terms of a pandemic like tuberculosis that our subject really has made sense. After some discussion with these presidents on our subject for the igem who told us that this topic was promising but that we had to find tools that allow our test to be faster and more effective than existing tests at a lower cost. Then the exchanges with the different students, especially those in medicine that allowed us to realize the real problems related to tuberculosis.

T--Aix-Marseille--MIT 2 profil picture.jpg

Science festival or «Fête de la science»

The fête de la science or science festival is a national event that promotes scientific awareness and, in a festive setting, exchanges between science and society! It was started 27 years ago by the French ministry of higher education, research, and innovation. The festival offers a meeting point between the general public and the actors of science. It offers massive opportunities through experiments, debate, and exchanges, for the public to gain new knowledge and to form opinions about the issues facing our society.

We delivered our ideas through three interactive activities.

Firstly, we used stickers and balloons to simulate the diagnosis procedure. In the game, the players had to find the single balloon with our team sticker (that simulates M. tuberculosis).

Secondly, we've setup a banana DNA extraction experiment and brought a microscope and Petri dishes with different bacteria strains to explain how do we conduct research in the laboratory and what challenges do we face.

Thirdly, team Washington provided us with their outreach booklet. From the booklet, we've taken a game that allows the younger ones to understant the basics of biology and genetic engineering. The kids had to conceive their own bacterium using nothing but colored paper and a pen. The results are shown in the pictures. Some of them even imagined how would their bacteirum look like. Mostly pictured them as a sign of danger.

T--Aix-Marseille--fds stand 3.png

T--Aix-Marseille--fds stand 1.png

T--Aix-Marseille--fds stand 2.png

T--Aix-Marseille--fds stand 4.png

20th Biotechnology forum

In collaboration with Polytech Marseille, we were given the opportunity to attend the 20th biotechnology forum. This yearly forum enables attendees to exchange with experts on the latest biotechnology advances as it brings students and professionals together. Conferences are held to address the current challenges of biotechnology, which now play a major role in the health and environmental sectors. This year, the main topic was the emerging viruses.

During a thirty-minutes conference, we introduced the iGEM competition, synthetic biology and our I WANT TB FREE project to a diverse crowd (biotechnology engineering students, industrials, researchers etc.).

Through the seminar, we got critical evaluation of our project, promoted the use of synthetic biology, shared our iGEM experience and motivated new recruits for the 2020 iGEM competition. Altogether, the crowd's feedback helped shape the project and putted it into perspective. Moreover, we were given technical advice about our presentation and pointers to make it better for Boston.

Apart from the seminar, we held a booth along with Biotechnology firms (Consultys, Sartorius and Cisbio) and two of our partners : a startup incubator Grand Luminy and Kedge Business school.

This gave us a chance to go deeper into discussions with the attendees. It enabled us to see through our project and to discuss about bioethics and perspectives. It was an important step towards achieving a better understanding of the potential issues that we will be facing when going further with the I WANT TB FREE project.

T--Aix-Marseille--forum biotech amphi.png

T--Aix-Marseille--forum biotech conf.png

T--Aix-Marseille--forum biotech stand.png