Public Outreach, Engaging with Peers, and Interviews with Experts

Our team participated in various activities throughout the summer that fall under the spectrum of "Human Practices." At the Bay Area Maker Faire and the California Academy of Sciences, we discussed synthetic biology, iGEM, and our project with members of the public. We gave and attended presentations on research projects done by our peers at Stanford, NASA, and other Northern California schools. And, to better understand potential uses of and needs for biOrigami in space, we interviewed six experts from NASA and Brown University.

California Academy of Sciences
Interacting with the public in a science museum

BOur team went to the California Academy of Sciences, a museum in San Francisco, California and gave a presentation on our projects to several senior staff members. This also gave us the opportunity to get the perspective of Dr. Meg Lowman ("Canopy Meg"), a rainforest canopy researcher, on uses for biological, self-folding objects in her line of work. We were invited back to hold a demonstration of biOrigami in the museum, during which museum goers were invited to experiment with folding sheets of thermoplastic using an infrared lamp. We provided Shrinky Dink sheets and different colors of markers, explained the molecular mechanisms behind folding using heat, and asked participants to predict what shapes would be created from their designs. Members of our team were also interviewed and filmed by media specialists at the Cal Academy for a video on synthetic biology and our iGEM team that will be released soon.

Subproject Overview

2015 Bay Area Maker Faire
Synthetic biology as part of the Maker Movement

In May 2015, our team held a booth at the 2015 Bay Area Maker Faire. We discussed our team's project ideas, previous Stanford-Brown teams' projects, and synthetic biology as it fits into the Maker movement more broadly. We also led interactive activities such as origami folding and DNA extractions, and had posters with questions such as "If you could make anything with biology, what would you make?" with opportunities to write and draw answers. This was a great opportunity for us to get feedback from the public on our project ideas.

Poster sessions and presentations
Interacting with other researchers

We participated in several poster sessions and gave presentations during the summer to showcase our work and learn about the work of our peers at Stanford, NASA, and other school in Northern California. These events included presentations to the recipients of the Stanford Research Experience for Undergraduates in Bioengineering grants, the summer students at the NASA Advanced Studies Laboratories, and the attendees of the Sierra Systems and Synbio Symposium.

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Interviews with Experts
Input and ideas from experts in space missions

When conceptualizing and developing our project, we wanted to make sure that it could fulfill an actual need for NASA's missions. We are grateful to have been able to interview several scientists from NASA, the Rhode Island Space Grant, and Brown University. Four of their interviews were video taped, and are available to watch here. The transcript of these interviews are available here.

Copyright © 2015 Stanford-Brown iGEM Team