Mathematical modeling is a key component of synthetic biology. However, efficient collaboration between modelers and experimentalists is not always easy. The challenges we faced ourselves in combining our modeling and wetlab efforts inspired us to study this topic further. To get some insight on how iGEM teams tackle this issue, we launched a questionnaire. We were interested in how the teams were able to integrate their wetlab and modeling efforts, what kind of problems they faced in this and how they approached these problems.
As we found the share of respondents with a mathematical background surprisingly low compared to our own team, we decided to go through teams from 2014 to find what study fields iGEM participants are coming from. We then compared the results to professional synthetic biology groups to see whether there were any differences.
To read more about the questionnaire and its results, see our page for Combining modeling and experimentation in iGEM.
On top of the Human Practices study, we also wanted to spread the word of synthetic biology. As the only iGEM team in Finland, we reached out to both high schools and universities across the country, giving presentations on synthetic biology and iGEM, in hopes of inspiring students to start teams of their own. To increase the layperson’s knowledge on synthetic biology, iGEM and our project, we held a talk and workshops on a Science picnic mainly aimed at families. We were also active on social media and featured on several media outlets. While looking for partners in the scientific community, business and industry in Finland, we also increased awareness of synthetic biology.