Team:TJUSLS China/Public Engagement

Human Practice


Education and Engagement


Interaction with diverse people is also our duty during this long competition season. As members of iGEM community, we get to know the concept of synthetic biology, and can’t wait to get more people involved, especially youngsters. As fighters against antibiotic resistance, we hope more people can be aware of this serious issue, and ease it from the root.

With special gratitude to 2019 iGEM team VIT_Vellore, we got contact with Dr. Ponnari, co-founder of Superheroes Against Superbugs.

-How to arouse public awareness?
-How detailed it should be?

From her answers, the contents differ with listeners.
For school children, concept matters. What does microorganism world look like? Why do we advocate declining the use of antibiotics? What they can understand is beingness.
For undergraduates, more complex mechanisms attract. Why antibiotic resistance issue arised? How can we solve it using synthetic biology methods? What they hope to reach depends on us to pass on.

Therefore, we spared no effort in improving the way of inputting, facing distinct receivers.

01 For citizens:
On Crabapple Blossom Festival

This is a famous traditional festival held in early April every year in Tianjin University, at that time beautiful crabapple blossoms and thousands of visitors get around our school. At that stage, we were still brainstorming for our projects. So we designed simple games for citizens.

-4 activities designed. Playing with litmus paper flowers, gel mold of sodium alginate, model of DNA structure and colonies drawing in plates.
-Stamp collecting. If visitors took part in one of these activities, he or she would mark one stamp. Those who collected more than 3 stampers could get a small gift from us.
-iGEM competition and our team introduction.

Tired but joyful, we successfully attracted hundreds of citizens to explore this magical biology world, especially for kids. We also met members from Nankai university and researchers from college of pharmacy, which improved the communication between us and outside.

02 For pre-school students:
Popularization of Biology in Kindergarten Attached to Tianjin University

Our team’s primary instructor was invited to give a lively popularization of microbiology world to these lovely kids. 2 of our team members guided kids to participate in.

-Color the structure picture of protein
-Watch the microworld from microscope
-Understand the existence of superbugs

Not only do they felt the diversity of microworld, but they also were aware of the importance of washing hands. And it was a novel experience for us to learn how to get well with kids.

03 For pupils in poor areas:
Simple Experiments Make a Difference

As a part of summer practice activities, our institution organized a team to Tanchang, Gansu province, which is our school’s fixed-point poverty alleviation object. Without good living and study conditions, they looked forward to having someone supplied with substances.

-Structure models and origami
-Antibiotics cannot be abused
-Drug types to therapy illnesses caused by AMR

“Now I know what kind of drugs we take when having a flu.” A pupil said.
“Bacteria are everywhere and they may update with too much antibiotics.”
“It is really magical to see chemistry and biochemistry reactions via models!”

And we are very glad to demonstrate such things to them. Some reporters said helping pupils in poor areas is to broaden their horizons, however, we’d rather say that they gave us wider dimensions.

04 For high school students:
Introduction to synthetic biology in Tianjin Yinghua International School

After communicating with the teacher who is responsible for their STEM platform, we reached an agreement of popularization. More and more high school students showed interest in synthetic biology recently, as undergraduates we attempted to deliver our understandings. And this might be their very first step towards iGEM.

-What is synthetic biology
-What kinds of weapons can we use to research
-What kinds of work can we do

Easier to communicate, we can give speech with scientific languages. At the stage of preparation, we adjusted the logic of this introduction several times and finally received a good feedback. We can take advantages of more advanced microscopes and other facilities to do the research. We can design own circuits to solve some problems.

05 For university freshmen:
An introduction meeting

With a 5-year history of participating in iGEM competition, our School of Life Sciences attracts more and more undergraduates to step into laboratory and take iGEM courses. In September, some freshmen came into our school and they were curious about our work.

-iGEM means creating solutions via combining parts
-Synthetic biology aces genetic circuits, that is to say, building blocks
-4 mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and we work on beta-lactamase

During introduction, we strongly felt that they were thirsty for more knowledges of this novel field. Synthetic biology method assists us to hit the Achilles’ heel of metallo-beta-lactamase, and has potential to other fields as well.
It is of significance to inherit our team spirit. In the future, they may grow up as team members next year, even experts in synthetic biology.



No.92 Weijin Road, Nankai District, Tianjin, China