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"A watched gel never runs"
To download the complete report with data and figures, please click the link below.
Our human practice project has three components: Survey results regarding error-proneness in constructing synthetic gene circuits, a Synthetic Biology College Course proposal, and Synthetic Biology for Educators.
The college course was recently developed, and surveys are still being taken by students attending the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The initial survey results have been shown in the final report.
Surveying perceived error-proneness in constructing synthetic gene circuits
To understand the cause of human errors in Synthetic Biology, we made a short survey outlining the techniques that people commonly use to create synthetic gene circuits. We collected the opinions from research fellows in biology labs on which techniques they find are particularly error prone and which ones are relatively error free. Their responses are helpful in understanding issues related to consistency in implementing synthetic gene networks. One example of how we may use results from this survey is to identify processes that would significantly benefit from automation.
Synthetic Biology College Course Proposal
In collaboration with Professor Ting Lu from Bioengineering department in University of Illinois, we designed a synthetic biology class for college students. This proposal will be further developed and the proposed class will come to reality in the 2012 Fall semester. We did a quick survey on how the students think about the course basing on the current course outline. We got positive feedbacks from the students who took the survey.
Synthetic Biology for Educators
Synthetic Biology for Educators is a practical course designed to help educators engage their students in the basics of Synthetic Biology. Our target audience is current or future science teachers of grades 6-12. The course is designed to solve two problems in general biology class:
1. Teachers want to present cutting edge science such as synthetic biology to their students in the classroom, but there are currently few simple lesson plans and kits available.
2. Teachers are inexperienced with the concepts and materials in Synthetic Biology
We provided two solutions to the correlated problems:
1. iGEM students create kits and protocols with background information.
2. iGEMers available via Skype to provide remote support to interact with students and educators.
We envision collaboration with Champaign STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) elementary school, the only STEM based elementary school in U.S, implementing our course design. We also would like to affiliate with organizations that provide STEM support to educators locally and promote synthetic biology.