Team:GO Paris-Saclay/HP/School



In our project, we wanted to reach different populations (e.g. biologists and non-biologists…) but also different generations. That is why we organized a meeting with children to present our project and listen to their reactions and ideas. We went to an elementary school in Viroflay (France) in June 2019 to interview children aged from 10 to 11 years old. We explained that the cell could be represented as a kingdom that has missions outside its borders and asked them to imagine what new functions their “kingdom cell” could have. They expressed their answer through drawings. You will notice that these young artists/scientists do not lack imagination and that a wide range of ecological projects emerge from the children's drawings, which show a deep desire to preserve the planet and living things. Two thirds of the children responded with ecological bacteria, able of degrading plastic, producing energy or cleaning nature. We got inspired from their ideas and we also wanted to make a bacterium that has an ecological application, we thus explored how to give an ecological application to our DNA-less cells. On the other hand, some children proposed original and daring ideas, such as a cell protecting against mosquito bites or a cell that makes dreams come true! And they were not far away from true as a reprogramming DNA-free cells opens a large field of possibilities.

One-day teachers

Children, working hard on their project!

Projects about energy and environment

"The ecological Pac-Man" by Lorenzo, Alan, Louis and Alexandre. This bacterium in the form of a Pac-Man has the ecological ability to transform plastic into energy, that can be used for public lighting or battery packs. Another version of this bacterium is used to power the wi-fi network. Far from science fiction, there are already bacteria that degrade plastic while others produce energy by forming what are called « bio-batteries ».

"Alternative to nuclear power plants" by Marta, Anaïs and Paul. This group of children is wondering about the place of nuclear power plants in our current societies. They believe that humans cannot enter without danger and they are looking for new opportunities to power the world with technologies based on non-polluting bacteria.

"The protector of the forests" by Jolina and Hannah. This bacterium has a superpower: preventing people from cutting down trees. Although the real scale of a cell is not respected in this drawing, we can note the desire to give an ecological function to our new functionalized bacteria. Far from being scary, these new organisms can protect the environment.

"Towards a green universe" by Adrien. This inspired young scientist proposes a bacterium that could recycle uranium from nuclear power plants. Far from stopping at recycling, these bacteria would also have the ability to transform these toxic wastes into energy to power household lamps.

"Goodbye palm oil" by Arthur and Charles. These two friends are touched by ecological speeches around Brazil and preservation of forests. This sensitivity is expressed by bacteria that put an end to the use of palm oil. You can see a bandit cutting a palm tree while nice bacteria get rid of a food spread requiring its oil. Bacteria wear the colors of the French flag and the Brazilian flag as a sign of friendship. Beyond this representation, microorganisms are widely exploited in the agri-food sector, particularly food ferments consumed every day by billions of people. Would an optimization of microbial metabolism provide an alternative to palm oil? The question remains open to the younger generations.

"Healthy Planet" by Mathilde and Lou. These budding scientists propose to raise awareness to save our planet from pollution linked to transportation. To do this, the designers are encouraging people to replace the polluting car, which creates a grey and smoky planet, with scooters and ecological bicycles that run thanks to “bacterial power”.

Projects about well-being

"No more mosquito bites!" by Virgil, Guilhem, Marina and Manon. Summer and heat make way for unwelcome little animals: mosquitoes. To solve this problem, these young scientists imagined a bacterium that would be able to repel them and thus avoid their unpleasant bites. Behind the image of swords fighting mosquitoes, it is a scientific application of bacteria that is quite conceivable.

"Always stronger" by Virgil, Guilhem, Marina and Manon. Full of imagination, the children skillfully imagined that bacteria in our bodies could make us stronger. Indeed, by working with our muscle cells these bacteria could strengthen our muscles, as if we had superpowers. This kind of project raises ethical questions…

"Soda can control" by Kevin and Simon. These two future scientists have drawn an army of ecological bacteria. These bacteria, true recycling plants, fight plastic bags but also soda cans that are often found on the roadside or in nature. This work is a real way of recycling based on microbiology.

"The Dreammaker" by Jolina and Hannah. This work, which stands out from the others, shows all the children's imagination. The proposed bacterium has the ability to catch dreams and to convert them into superpowers to make them come true. This modified bacterium has a lyrical dimension that opens the field to all possibilities. We loved this idea!


We are grateful to the teacher Audrey Bourguelle who helped us for the organization of a workshop at the elementary school « les Arcades » in Viroflay. We also thank so much Daniela for her help, and all the children for their enthusiasm.



2019 GO Paris Saclay Team

We are proud to present our project to all our IGEM friends :)