Team:XMU Software/Outreach


This year XMU Software and XMU China 2013 joined forces to hold a series of Human practice activities, in an effort to promote the safety problems of synthetic biology, propagate the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition, facilitate the communication and collaboration among iGEM teams at home as well as introduce XMU Software, XMU China 2013 and our projects to the broad public.

Lectures on Synthetic Biology

We collaborated with the Chemical Society of Fujian province to successfully hold a wide array of activities for a high school' s summer camp in our university. On July, 16th, 2013, lectures themed with synthetic biology and iGEM were made available to all the high school students in the summer camp. The number of high school students is more than three hundred.

The outline of these lectures included the basic concepts of synthetic biology, introduction of iGEM, its safety requirements and other experimental techniques. We tried our best to illustrate what is iGEM in great detail: from the very idea of synthetic biology to a potential and developing subject.

After the formal lectures, interaction part started in which the high school students could learn more biological knowledge with fun. Our team members interacted with the high school students actively: answering questions about synthetic biology, sharing experience of iGEM competition as well as further encouraging them to participate in iGEM.

In addition, we tried to emphasize the aspect of safety from two parts of our activities. One was that we would make. We made sure that the software or the bacteria which we used or created were harmless. The other was the safety of information. Our software which owned the security certificate would protect our users' private information from violating.

A snapshot of the PPT of the presentation themed about synthetic biology and iGEMYijuan Zhang was introducing the Synthetic Biology
The interaction between us and high school students XMU_iGEM and high school students

Synthetic-Biology-Theme Campus Party

In order to propagate synthetic biology and iGEM, the Synthetic-Biology-Theme Campus Party was held in Guihua Building in our campus on July 17th 2013 from 2 pm to 5 pm oriented to the high school students in the summer camp.

Theme show of synthetic biology was the first section of the party. We introduced the basic conceptions of synthetic biology, its safety issues, as well as iGEM competition to our high school the audience systematically. The attractive presentation won enthusiastic acclaim from the audience as well as a bunch of feedbacks. In the same time, we emphasized the security of synthetic biology and our software again in this introduction. We all believed that the security policy was the cardinal and fundamental thing of iGEM.

The second section of our party was the game which included lantern riddles, finding differences in DNA, Fold-it, and Biological-Sha.

Guessing the lantern riddles was a traditional Chinese game. We handed out some synthetic biology riddles designed for biology education specifically. For example, one of riddles describted the question as 'the bottle which is full of alcohol, not used to light.', and the answer corresponded to an alcohol lamp. Besides, some riddles were about security facilities in labs. We prepared many gifts for students who got the correct answers and tried to recall their memory that we introduce in the first section by this method.

Another game, Finding Differences in DNA, was a challenging game which required both perspicacity and memory. The object of this game was finding out all the tiny differences in a set of DNA pictures as soon as possible. Hard though it seemed, a whole bunch of high school students showed great interest in it. In the meanwhile, the procedure of finding differences helped them to familiarize with DNA sequences.

The high school students were guessing the riddles Finding differences in DNA

Fold-it was a computer game in which you can see the structure of a certain protein and fold it in order to make it to achieve the most stable state. The score of this game was measured by the stability of the protein. (link: ) We deem Fold-it a great approach to reverse the current trend that so many high school students were increasingly addicted to electronic games toward a better direction that games can also serve as a vehicle for imparting knowledge. Students could have fun while learning the determining factors of the stability of proteins.

Students were playing the Fold-it. Printscreen of the protein folding game -- Fold-it

The last but not least game was Synthetic-biology-sha, which was redesigned by us based on an extremely popular card game Sanguosha. The card in this game, for instance Bacterial Quorum Sensing card, was designed on the basis of theory of synthetic biology. While enjoying this card game, high school students actually learned some principles about synthetic biology. As well, some safety rule were introduced as long as playing the card games.

In the end, we took a photo of the autographs of the students. We will keep these busy but happy days on minds for our all lives. It will be a strong pushment for us to be better and do more effort in sharing advanced technology with young people and keeping everything safety and security!

Synthetic-biology-sha Posters
High school students were signing their names as a momento XMU iGEMers

Experience sharing

April 5th, 2013, we had the honor to welcome a former leader of iGEM team of Peking University, Haoqian Zhang to come to Xiamen University with the intention of deepening the communication between our two universities’ iGEM teams. During his visit, Zhang joined our two teams in the brainstorm and provided valuable comments on the team members’ ideas in terms of feasibility, safety, originality. Zhang also gave us a brief introduction about his own iGEM projects from which we benefited greatly.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Zhang said when he reminisced about the difficulties he confronted during conducting his iGEM project.

Introduction of the project of Peking University given by Haoqian Zhang. Xiamen iGEMers and Haoqian Zhang

June 24th, 2013 witnessed another cheering gathering of communication and collaboration between Nanjing University' s iGEM team and us. After a short sightseeing tour around our unfailingly beautiful campus, we had a meeting during which the projects of both teams of Xiamen University, i.e., the cell oscillation circuit and the brick worker were introduced to Nanjing iGEMers. After that, an intense discussion was started on the feasibility and safety of these projects on which Nanjing iGEMers kindly offered their suggestions. The jubilant gathering ended with genuine blessings and encouragement for each other. Nanjing iGEMers, we hope to see you in the World Championship again!

Communication among iGEMers from different teams The leader of Nanjing University was introducing their project
Introduction of project of XMU_Software iGEMers from Xiamen University and Nanjing University

Do you want to know more about our activities and iGEM? Come to Xiamen and have fun with XMU_Software iGEMers?

E' NOTE effects on Human Practices

In this season, XMU-Software Team successfully created an assessable synthetic software E' NOTE for standardizing the logs of experiments and guiding new iGEMers to the world of synthetic biology.

We modularize the procedure of experiments in this GUI app which provides a series of standard tables of wetlab that investigators could use to record their schedules, graphs and other data easily. According to our design, every team member would be directed by our produce once they started their project. It means that our program largely reduces the difference among new iGEMers from different backgrounds and helps them to catch up with their project quickly. In the meanwhile, E' NOTE is also a communication platform opened to all participants not just in one team but furthermore, in different teams where they could share their electronic journals and experience. This new function dramatically breaks the barrier among countries and encourages students to transcend traditional discipline boundaries to push iGEM and synthetic biology forward.

In a word, our project strongly improves the development on different area and field.

Wall painting of Synthetic Biology

One of the Xiamen University' s main tourist attractions, Furong Tunnel which attracted more than 1,000 tourists per day, was chosen as the place for wall painting of the slogan and symbol of our iGEM team. Epitomizing the core elements of iGEM software team -- software and synthetic biology, our wall painting mainly represents a combination of biology and computer language. We believed that the safety needs a good cooperation between wet lab and dry lab. This wall painting had attracted hundreds of passengers to take photos for it. Furthermore, some of them asked us for more information about iGEM when we were painting.

iGEM paintings in Furong tunnel

Our Human Practice activities turned out to be a brilliant and unquestionable success. It provided a bridge for communication among domestic iGEM teams, a platform for showcasing the definite charm of synthetic biology, a joyful gathering of all the former, present, and of course future iGEMers.