Team:EPF Lausanne/Outreach Overview


Taxi.Coli: Smart Drug Delivery iGEM EPFL



The human practice section of our project is a big challenge for our team. Our idea is to reach out for young adults and high school students, since they are the next iGEMers generation. We want to introduce synthetic biology and the iGEM community to the students of Switzerland. Switzerland is very active in the field of Life Sciences and biology is quite popular amongst high school students. However, we were quite surprised to hear that almost none of them were aware of the iGEM competition. Therefore, we decided that our human practice project would be based on raising the awareness of the high school students as much as we could. Our feeling is that there is a lack of educational material promoting synthetic biology in a fun and pedagogical way in Switzerland. Hence, our team imagined two ways of interacting with the Swiss high schools and share our amazing experience in the iGEM competition.

Testing the kit with students

We designed an educational kit with the help of Biobuilder, containing four different sections: Education, safety, fun and sharing in order to introduce the students to what we think are the four main cornerstones of the iGEM community. The kit has been translated in four languages: English and the three main official Swiss languages, German, French and Italian. The team wanted to fulfill some precise objectives:

- Introduce the Swiss high schools to synthetic biology and make them love it! The team provides a protocol that uses our team’s plasmid to transform competent E.coli and make them express green fluorescence. We also provide a Biobuilder protocol: What a colorful world for the ones that want to continue the good work and learn more about Biobuilder.”
- Help the teachers by providing them with all the experimental and teaching material they’ll need to teach properly. For instance: a special teacher’s version of the protocol provides tips and links to useful references.
- Make the students participate and share their experience and thoughts with the synthetic biology community by providing them links to forums and sites like BioBuilder or iGEM so they can develop their knowledge further and share their love with more synthetic biology fans.
- Introduce them to the biosafety and make them conscious about others and the environment using funny videos and comics, courtesy of Biobuilder.
- Make them have fun while learning providing them with comics, stickers, video links and forums.

Figure1: Our kit concept

On the other hand, since our team this year is exceptionally composed of ten young women, we decided to take advantage of our particularity and organize a Woman&Engineer day the 7th of October in our University. All high school Swiss female students from the French region of Switzerland were invited to participate to our special day in EPFL. The Woman&Engineer’s day is meant to promote carriers in bioengineering for women and encourage them to work in the field. A big part of this day will be dedicated to test our kit, visit our labs and talk about iGEM competition, synthetic biology and the Biobuilder foundation between girls. We even organized a small contest within teams of girls for the best synthetic biology project idea! The interaction with the students is going to be awesome! We are so looking forward!

After a summer of laughs, intense work, amazing knowledge acquisition, working days and nights as a team and learning of our mistakes, we all agreed on one thing: one could not find better iGEM ambassadors than us! Therefore our duty was to share this amazing experience with the ones that will be the next iGEMers!

Figure1: Women&Engineering's day