Team:Hong Kong HKU/humanpractice/labtour


Human practice in the iGEM competition is about introducing synthetic biology to people through various ways. This year, the HKU iGEM team wanted to arouse people’s interest towards this new field of science by organizing some talks for both high school students and undergraduates. We also made an animated video about our project which is broadcasted on YouTube for public viewing. Through these activities, we presented the basic information about iGEM and synthetic biology to the youth and the public.

On Aug 10th, we gave a talk to 85 secondary school students from 12 schools who were the participants of a science video competition. The presentation consisted of an introduction about iGEM, synthetic biology and our project E. capsi. Since some of the audiences were from junior form, we used many cartoons and analogical examples to illustrate the basic concept such as BioBricks and synthetic biology. On Aug 24th, we had another seminar for newly admitted Biochemistry major undergraduate. We also prepared some flyers about our project so they can have deeper understanding about iGEM competition. The aim of the talk was to let students have better understanding about the applications and benefits of synthetic biology. At the same time, we wanted to arouse their interests in this relatively new scientific field and encourage them to join iGEM competition in the future. After the talk, the students were taken on a tour to visit the laboratory.

For most people with no science background, synthetic biology seems to be a very difficult topic for them. In order to let them have better understanding about synthetic biology, we made an interesting cartoon video to attract their attention. We resembled our project into a starwars-like world. The tiny body of bacteria is a planet and a bacterial microcompartment (MCP) is a flagship. Various form of metabolism happened inside the MCP and the enzymes were the workers in the flagship. The inorganic phosphates were the enemies, harming the environment. Our General PPK1 linked all the inorganic phosphates into polymers which were jailed in MCP. In this way, all the harmful inorganic phosphates were removed from the environment and we won the battle.