From 2013.igem.org

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College-level Outreach: Synthetic Biology Society

    What is the Synthetic Biology Society?
The Synthetic Biology Society is the first student group focusing on biotechnology and synthetic biology at University of Minnesota. It was founded by the 2013 Gopher iGEM team members as an official university platform to more effectively raise awareness in synthetic biology, encourage citizen discussions about synthetic biology, and promote the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition on campus. We sincerely invite everyone to join in our events and help advance the public image of Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering, present research innovations, and recruit biotechnology enthusiastics to join iGEM.

    Why did we start Synthetic Biology Society?

“How do we pass our experience to the iGEM team next year?”

“Why don’t we start a student club to tell more students about synthetic biology and iGEM?”

There were many reasons prompting us to start a Synthetic Biology student club at the University. First, there was a noticeable disconnect in communication and involvement between the successive iGEM teams, making it problematic for the iGEM instructors to retain members and successfully develop the program year-to-year, and so build a strong team with a well-developed skillset. Creating a student group uniting past, present, and future members of the iGEM program to share in their skills, passion, enjoyment of synthetic biology seemed a logical solution to this issue. It enables us to spread awareness of a relatively new field of science to the University of Minnesota community and to give students with a broad range of interests, majors, and skills a common place to learn from each other and share in ideas for future research endeavors. The very nature of synthetic biology is multidisciplinary, and by forming a student club, we are able to reach students of almost any related major and foster multidisciplinary connections. Outside of the University, it gives us a platform to reach and to teach younger scientists about synthetic biology via the ECORI squad, a critical action for ensuring the future of the field.

    SBS’s Mission and Vision:
The mission of Synthetic Biology Society is to generate and spread interest, awareness and understanding of synthetic biology. We see ourselves as a platform with multiple functions:
  • Introducing students to cutting-edge research studies in synthetic biology
  • Connecting multidisciplinary students through engaging activities
  • Facilitating students to learn about iGEM
  • Assisting future iGEM team recruitment by reaching to a wider spectrum of applicant pool
  • Coordinating community service activities engaging students to volunteer at local schools and promote the sciences as the ECORI Squad

    What we have done so far:
We established a Journal Club committee and the ECORI squad, attended officer leadership trainings, and completed registration as an official University student club sponsored by the BioTechnology Institute. Presently, SBS is in the process of promoting itself to undergraduate biology and engineering students to establish a stable, sustainable membership.