Team:Hong Kong HKUST/hp


Human Practice

A Step Towards Our Community - The HKUST iGEM 2013 team had three main objectives in mind for human practice: safe application of our project, bioethics and biosafety, and provision of synthetic biology information for the general public. Each objective was considered carefully and human practice events were developed according to these objectives.

Novel Human Practice Approach: Country Profile, Comparison in Synthetic Biology Development and Blog


Presentations are one way to share information about our project and iGEM to other people, whether it is to fellow scholars or to the general public. Find out more about our past and upcoming presentations on synthetic biology.

Country Profile

This is a novel human practice project that we performed. Our country profile provides information on synthetic biology in Asian countries to facilitate a more holistic understanding of synthetic biology around the world.

Gene Therapy Article

It is necessary to think about how our project could actually be applied. Since gene therapy was mentioned as a mean to deliver our DNA into human liver cells, we thought it was necessary to research on current gene therapy procedures.


We have made several videos to inform the general public about synthetic biology and our project. We tried to make the content relatively easy to understand so that people with no background knowledge in biology understand the content.


While working on the Country Profile, we could not find any webpage or blog specifically made to update people about synthetic biology for Hong Kong viewers. So, we decided to make a simple, but interactive blog for the public in Hong Kong written in Cantonese.


To discuss the possible safe application of our project, we met with prominent individuals in Hong Kong society. The interviews allowed us to gain a better understanding of how our project could actually work as a product.

Safe application

We thought safe application of our project was a very important aspect of our project because we thought that in the future our project will probably be directly applied on humans. We tried to incorporate a foreign inducible metabolic process into human liver cells; therefore we had to consider how to eliminate possible complications that our project could cause. We approached this aspect by meeting two prominent scientists in Hong Kong society who are currently actively participating in scientific and medical research. They helped us by evaluating our project from their professional point of view and to think about the possible concerns that can arise if we try to transform our project into a product. With these experts we discussed three main topics: application of our project, biosafety and bioethical issues concerning our project, synthetic biology in Hong Kong and in Asia in general.

Bioethics and Biosafety

We went beyond fulfilling the minimum iGEM competition requirement of filling in the safety sheet. Because applying foreign DNA or cells into humans is currently not a widely employed technology, we thought it would be necessary to research these techniques. During the interviews with the experts, gene therapy was mentioned and we did some research to write an informative article about it. In the article, we provided some background information on gene therapy, discussed the bioethical and biosafety issues concerning gene therapy, and thought about if gene therapy could be used as an application of our project.

Provision of Information

The concept of synthetic biology is not prevalent in Hong Kong and in Asia. We thought it was imperative to provide information to the public. We tried to achieve this by making short and informative but hopefully interesting videos and an interactive blog that introduce synthetic biology and our project. We have included translations of our work in Cantonese so that the public in Hong Kong can easily digest the information. While we were gathering information about synthetic biology.

We observed inadequacy in the amount of information of synthetic biology in Asia. To amend this problem, we have researched information about synthetic biology in different languages such as English, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Indonesian. We have complied information on synthetic biology in four East Asian countries/regions and one South East Asian country. We believe that this novel approach will help the reader have a more holistic and unbiased view of synthetic biology all around the world.

We also had time to share our experience and thoughts to various people through presentations. We already had semi-formal meetings with the SUSTC and CUHK iGEM teams, during which the teams presented their projects to each other. However we have also prepared delivery of three more presentations, two for HKUST students, and one for the general public in Hong Kong.