Human Practice

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Human Practice is an important aspect when taking part at iGEM. It implies the opportunity to evaluated one’s project regarding biosafety, ethical and practical issues. You have the chance to talk about your project with people from different backgrounds regarding Synthetic Biology like the broader public, pupils from schools or experts who can be politicians or scientists who work in the same field of science. It is important to seek advice from these interdisciplinary experts to develop new ideas or optimize the existing ones. Our expert is Dr. Falk Harnisch, a leading scientist in bioelectric catalysis and bioelectrotechnology, who works at the department of environmental microbiology at the Helmholtz-Zentrum for environmental research in Leipzig, Germany. We did a comprehensive interview with him via Skype and invited him to our institution. For the project assessment we also consulted Dr. Arnold Sauter and Aeneas Wanner.

Because Synthetic Biology is not well accepted in Germany we arranged a “Synbioday” where we explained our project and Synthetic Biology to increase public perception. This was coordinately carried out in five German towns where the five different participating German iGEM teams were located. We also planned and executed a student academy where we thought talented high-school students about Synthetic Biology. We prepared and carried out a special planned course over a whole week with them. In addition we participated in three conventions where we published and discussed our project and got very positive feedback. This feedback is also reflected in many media appearance such as reviews in journals like the “Mumbai Mirror”, in TV appearances, like the local TV broadcast station WDR, or in the radio at “Radio Bielefeld”. All in all we did a lot of human practice and had a lot of fun beside the wet lab to explain our project to the public.