Team:Missouri Miners/EducationalEvents


Educational Events

Synthetic Biology Informational

The biggest educational event that our iGEM team organized this year was our Synthetic Biology Informational. We advertized all around campus through every source that we could think of, including flyers in all the buildings, a bulletin in the electronic student newsletter, an ad in the campus newspaper, advertisements through the campus radio station, a banner in the student union building, and chalk on the sidewalks all over campus. Our goals were to increase exposure of iGEM - both our iGEM team and iGEM as a worldwide organization - to the campus community and educate S&T's students and faculty about synthetic biology and its applications.

We prepared and presented a prezi for the Informational. It included an overview of synthetic biology via 2010 EPF Lausanne's video (it was one of our favorites), a history of synthetic biology, how iGEM fits into the synthetic biology picture, examples of awesome iGEM projects from different disciplines, and information about our team, including our project considerations for iGEM 2011.

When explaining how synthetic biology works, we used a lego analogy and physical demonstration with lego genes. At the end of the event, everyone got to take home their own lego gene. Overall, we had a great turn-out, increased awareness of iGEM, and had positive responses from both student and faculty attendees.

PRO Days

PRO is a one-day preview, registration, and orientation program designed for first year students about to enter Missouri S&T. One of the activities for students and parents is an organization fair to familiarize the students with extracurricular opportunities on campus. For the PRO organization fair, our iGEM team created a poster explaining the different aspects of iGEM as a whole and our team. We also created and handed out recruitment brochures explaining in detail why it is so awesome to be a part of iGEM. We attended every spring PRO day and talked to students and parents about why we think synthetic biology is so important and how synthetic biology research can be applied across many disciplines. This not only served as a great recruitment tool for our team, but also helped spread the word about this exciting research.

In-Class Informationals

Our iGEM team collaborated with faculty members in the Biology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Psychology Departments to give guest presentations in classes, seminars, and meetings. These presentations covered the basics of what synthetic biology and iGEM are all about. We talked about how standard parts work, using legos as an analogy, and the breadth of applications of iGEM projects. We also gave a run-down on some of our team's past research and why being a part of an iGEM team is a great experience, from late nights in the lab to having fun and learning at the Jamboree.

Exploring Synthetic Biology Activities

In April 2011, our iGEM team went to the local high school and presented to their Science Olympiad team about synthetic biology and iGEM. We did an Exploring Synthetic Biology activity with the students and advisors of the Science Olympiad team. The activity explained how different systems could be put together using different parts, and how using different parts yields systems with different functions. The activity also demonstrated the concept of using standardized parts for easy biobrick assembly. Both students and advisors seemed very interested. We were happy to find that both groups learned a lot from our presentation and activity.

Our team also performed the Exploring Synthetic Biology activity with a high school leadership group that was visiting campus. After the event, several of the students expressed interest in participating in iGEM or synthetic biology research in the future.


Speak UP Speak OUT for Synthetic Biology

Missouri S&T's Leadership and Cultural Programs organizes a peer education program called Speak UP Speak OUT. The goal of the program is to facilitate open discussions among students about current and sometimes controversial issues that are relevant to our lives. Our iGEM team suggested synthetic biology as a topic of discussion. During the synthetic biology Speak UP Speak OUT, students from different backgrounds came together to discuss different aspects of synthetic biology. Most students did not even know what synthetic biology was when they arrived. The discussion moved from dangers and benefits of synthetic biology to public perception of synthetic biology, especially in media and worst-case scenario movies. It was an interesting discussion, especially since most students involved had "outside" perceptions since they did not have much biology background. At the end of the discussion, the whole group agreed that it was a very interesting topic of discussion and that Speak UP Speak OUT should host another discussion about synthetic biology.

Bio 375 - Biological Design and Innovation I

Our iGEM team created a course through the university called Biological Design and Innovation I to teach student about synthetic biology. We had two main goals when we created the course: (1) help students understand theory and concepts behind procedures that we use in iGEM research and (2) develop synthetic biology research project proposals. The course was offered for the first time in Spring 2011. We broke up into groups and developed five synthetic biology research proposals: Glucose Sensor, Honeybee Project, Biofilms Project, Biofuel Production in Algae, and the Effect of Education on Synthetic Biology. From these projects, we decided to pursue the Effect of Education on Synthetic Biology as a human practices project and the Glucose Sensor as our main project.

Undergraduate Research Conference

In Spring 2011, different team members from our team presented project proposals that they developed in our Bio 375 course. We presented the Glucose Sensor Project, the Honeybee Project, and the Effect of Education on Synthetic Biology. The Honeybee project won first place in the Research Proposal category. The Effect of Education on Synthetic Biology project was approved for funding through a competitive OURE (Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experience) Fellows program.

Participating in the Undergraduate Research Conference was not only beneficial to our team's students, but also to the organization as a whole due to the fact that hundreds of people attend this conference and were exposed to our research efforts.