University seminar

"We arranged a seminar called "Synthetic Biology" at our university, which was open to all students and was awarded with 3 ECTS points. In this seminar we talked about our iGEM project and synthetic biology in general and the participants had to prepare short talks on self-chosen topics. Those topics included "Synthetic biological circuits", "Expression systems and their benefits", "Nanoscientifical approaches in synthetic biology", "Systems biology" and many more."

We organized an open seminar on synthetic biology during the summer semester, parallel to planning and realization of our project. Current research on the field of synthetic biology as well as methods and ethical controversies were presented and discussed in various lectures. It was a great opportunity for many students to widen their knowledge, as there is no lecture currently available about the field of synthetic biology in Hamburg.

Due to many request and the potential of such an event and with the help and support of our supervisor Prof. Ignatova, we were able to create and establish a complete course for synthetic biology at the University of Hamburg. Hence, the University of Hamburg now has a pioneering role in Northern Germany and we hope that many other interested students will follow our example and will benefit from our experience.

In the future course ‘Synthetic biology’ participants will not only work in the scientific context and current research but will also extensively deal with ethical issues and communication aspects. Furthermore, students will learn how to participate as a team in research projects (such as iGEM), accompanied by the challenges that will come along and how to master new problems and find solutions together. An evolving teaching concept will grow, which will give opportunities for students, according to their own interests and preferences, both scientifically and beyond. Synthetic biology is providing a broad framework and in the course of the iGEM competition builds concrete points of reference and assistance of which those interested can benefit. In the future, this concept should also act as an example for other divisions of our university, so many other young and talented scientists have the opportunity to participate.

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