TheAtlanta Science Festival is a week-long event dedicated to the celebration of science and technology. This year the festival attracted over 45,000 people
This year, GSUiGEM collaborated with the Georgia Tech iGEM team for this event. During the Exploration Expo, these main topics were discussed with Atlantans: What is iGEM/Synthetic Biology?; Ethical Concerns and Careers in Synthetic Biology. In addition, children (and even adults) could build their own Biobrick with legos
GSU Discovery Day
Day 1: Atlanta Science Festival
The Atlanta Science Festival consisted of over 100 events strewn across Metro Atlanta. This event brought together science lovers and the curious together to learn more about science. Events included nature walks, scientific movie breakdowns, and even a lecture from Neil deGrasse Tyson himself at the Fox Theater. This year, GSU-iGEM participated in two events to help educate the public about synthetic biology. The first event, Discovery Day, was held at Georgia State University. The team met hundreds of guests and unveiled our fun and educational game we called “BioBricks.” We also answered questions about bioethics and concerns people have regarding synthetic biology. Both the parents and their children learned a lot with us that day!
Day 7: Atlanta Science Festival
For the second event, we collaborated with GTech’s iGEM team to greet thousands of people in Centennial Park for the Exploration Expo. Once again, we hosted the BioBricks game and connected with people from all over the city. We answered questions and raised awareness for science literacy. We explained what iGEM is and how the program is beneficial to not only undergrads, but to everyone on the planet!
Assemble your Biobrick!
In an effort to bring synthetic biology/iGEM awareness to the public, the GSU-iGEM team, along with the GSU Synthetic Biology Club, developed a game that we could play with children and adults alike using Legos to demonstrate a standard, working iGEM construct. This involved lots of hours developing a game that was simple yet informative. We also spent a good chunk of time sorting upwards of 12000 Lego Bricks!
Legos were the obvious choice because, well, who doesn’t love Legos? It also mimics the iGEM standardized cloning sites in physical form. We created a key to help our new friends build their own BioBrick construct for a yeast or a bacterial cell. We had a lot of fun. It generated lots of questions from the kids and their parents. I think we really helped them understand how we work in the lab better with this demonstration. The hands-on aspect of it really aided in cementing the process into their heads (and ours too).
Six Flags White Water Education Day is an event in which the park celebrates the academic outreach of several organizations such as iGEM, Synthetic Biology Club (SBC), and the CDC. Each year, Six Flags White Water welcomes thousands of students grades K-12 to engage in fun educational activities. GSU iGEM viewed this as an opportunity to collaborate with SBC in order to present key aspects of the team while gaining broad exposure to those who wished to understand more about the ever growing field of synthetic biology. About 40 children ages 5-12 years old showed up at the event. Safety posters were setup to answer questions that adults may have about the synthetic aspect of biology and a game consisting of legos was organized for children so that they may better understand the organizational work that goes into creating a biobrick.
Due to the stigma and legality issues surrounding cannabidiol, our team decided to be proactive to avoid bringing any negative attention to GSU or iGEM. We first began by seeking approval from our university's biosafety committee by submitting our Institutional Biosafety Committee form. After we received their approval we began drafting a legislative handout about our project so that we could inform legislators about what we were doing and discuss the legal aspects. We then compiled a list of representatives to contact, and contacted their offices about scheduling a time to meet with the representatives. So far we haven’t been able to talk to any representatives directly about our project, but we are hoping to be able to reach several representatives before the Jamboree.
We spoke with Kylie Bucallo at the Botanical Gardens, who assisted us with creating effective plant tissue culture protocols. We also discussed the environmental impact of culturing transgenic plants.