Beyond the bench
Human practices is a big part of iGEM. As a scientist, we mainly focused on scientific research and laboratory work. As we create new applications and products which should be used by the average consumer in an ideal situation we also have a great responsibility what and how we provide them. As heavy metals and date rape drugs are dangerous for people upon consuming, we also need to create awareness. So we discussed with lots of experts about the dangers of heavy metals and date rape drugs. They also were helpful with advice on how we could improve our system (the information is integrated in the corresponding section). As we deal with sensitive information about date rape drugs, we also wrote a report about dual use. For communication with the average consumer, we were also present in the media, created awareness on the "Street Science" day (an event to communicate science to the public in downtown Bielefeld) and presented our topic in front of students. Furthermore, we imagined future scenarios for the market introduction of our product. Take a look what we have done regarding human practices.
Human practices projects
Biosafety and Biosecurity are essential aspects of research. As a part of biosecurity, the dual use dilemma is an increasingly discussed topic. Several recently published studies raised questions of necessity of regulation and oversight. We wrote a report on the definitions, national and international laws as well as ethical questions. We analyzed the current situation within the iGEM competition and proposed the implementation of biosecurity risk assessments including questions of dual use risk for iGEM teams. We provide the complete 28 pages report as a PDF for the iGEM community and any interested citizens. A short summary of our findings is presented on the wiki: iGEM can be a role model for international collaboration - aiming for a safe and responsible research community.
How could our easy to handle biosensor with its simple evaluation change the world of tomorrow? To answer this question we worked on future scenarios for the application of our biosensor. These fictitious scenarios in form of newspaper articles are based on actual news and interviews with experts.
Street Science is an event to communicate science to the public. This was where we presented our topic in the public for the first time. We offered several small experiments for children and got into conversations with many people. We informed them about problems concerning drinking water and about our strategy to tackle them. Moreover, we did a survey to find out which water contaminants are most important to people and which requirements they have regarding a biosensor.
Students academy - At the end of June the Center for Biotechnology in Bielefeld hosted the 4th students academy. 20 students from all over Ostwestfalen Lippe (OWL) visited us to learn more about biology in general, as well as synthetic biology and this year´s iGEM project. We all had a lot of fun while doing experiments in the laboratory and afterwards at social events.
Press Review - In this page, we show you where we appeared in the media. As the discussed issues are relevant to many people, we went public with our project. We were mentioned in the newspaper, in online magazines and had interviews on radio and on TV. Take a look!