What comes to people's mind when they hear the word, 'Synthetic biology'? Many people don't know what it is, or have an ambiguous image that it is something dangerous. This situation is not good for synthetic biology at all, because the applications and possibilities of this field are generally undermined, rendering application difficult, already made a struggle by the current laws.
As a group related to synthetic biology, we, the team UT-Tokyo think it is important to approach the society and explain synthetic biology to improve this situation.
Introducing an interest in synthetic biology to children will be effective for these ends, for it is children that will shape the future of synthetic biology. So, we hosted a communication room at our college carnival.
At the same time, we wanted to gain understanding from adults, who provide public opinion currently. We think the media is the best way to explain to many people at once.
WORKSHOP ＠ May festival '11/05/28,29
In May 28th and 29th, we hosted a communication room at the University of Tokyo's official festival. This festival, called the May Festival, is one of the most popular college festivals in Japan, and is proud that more than 100,000 people visit every year. We made use of this fantastic opportunity to present what is Synthetic Biology, iGEM and what our team does. We produced our team character, to draw attention. which is the extremely cute character depicted on the right. We expected this casual character to attract many people to our room. And yes, although we don't know whether it was thanks to our character, we had a large variety of people, from young to elderly, from people without much knowledge of biology to the past iGEM participants.
To explain what we did, we used our previous year's poster, which was easy to see and understand. We also explained the basics of bioengineering. To make sure that visitors could understand according to their knowledge level, we used two pamphlets. In one, we explained DNA, Cloning, Gene therapy, GM foods and iPS cell , and in the other, E.coli, Plasmids, Bioengineering and iGEM.
Also, we conducted an intersting experiment with children: 'LET'S SEE WHAT YOUR DNA LOOKS LIKE' . DNA can be extracted from their oral mucosa, so all they had to do was provide their saliva. At first, we aimed to entertain children, but, in the end, many adults also got excited.
We are sure that through this event, many people got interested in synthetic biology!
- SPA (Volume '11/06/14)
At the May Festival, we had an interview with SPA, one of the most famous general-interest magazines in Japan.They had planned to make feature articles about 'Astonishing researches'. Our team leader explained our team project. This article also appeared in mixi-news. Since mixi is the largest SNS among twenties in Japan, this interview should be read by many Japanese young people.
- G2 (Volume '11/Sep)
We had an interview with G2, a magazine which writes non-fiction stories.
- Experimental Medicine (Volume '12/Feb)
Experimental Medicine(実験医学), a magazine whose aim is to unite molecular biology and medicine, plans to publish our opinion in their opinion section. Our interview is scheduled to appear in the 2012.Feb volume. Please wait and see !