Recruiting the public was done through a few channels: the adult population and the young population. The public community circles did not focus only in our city however outside the city and the district and even nationally.
The young population: the meetings with our team were in the framework of summer camps on Kibbutz Hagoshrim, Masade Village and Kiryat Shmona. At each meeting we tailored our explanations about our project according to the age group with a variety of games planned ahead for the meeting.
Meetings with teenagers: 200 students from 7th grade to 12th grade at our school met with our team and heard about the Synthetic Biology field, and of course our project. By the way, a large part of our students took part in our clip.
We held a convention on Synthetic Biology at our school, and representatives from other Israeli teams participating at the iGEM Giant Jamboree were there as well. The President of iGEM honored us with a video call with the audience. At the event we held a debate on the topic of using genetic modification not for saving lives. The audience was the judge. By using the audience we created a loud discussion about our project and about our necessity.
The adult audience: We conducted face to face meetings and conversations accessible to the media, for example – at the Day Center for the Elderly, the Center for the Blind we spoke about our project and the team achievements.
For the rest of the population we raised awareness of our doings through local newspapers, a radio program, television and other online media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat and more. Through all these channels we updated the public with great pride about our scientific work.
In order to recruit the general public we brought science to the street via “Science Night” where we put up an explanation booth together with fun activities for the general public. We have to admit that our booth drew a great amount of attention.
At all our interactions with the public we took saliva samples for the need of our research, every participant filled out a questionnaire
By giving samples the public took an active and very important part of our research. From that moment on they were partners. At the same, time community members filled out opinion polls about the use of genetic modification not for life threatening cases. These data were collected with the rest of the findings we presented and were processed together in order to understand public perceptions about the topic.
It is important to note that we raised approximately $100000 towards the project from banks and Israeli businessmen. At every fundraising meeting we gave a presentation about the project's purpose, the fact that we succeeded in raising such a big sum indicates that our public activity was good, because we were able to convince people to donate quite a lot of money.
In this section we decided to expand our operations in order to establish the data from the clarification of professional ideas of individuals with a connection to the topic researched by us.
- An interview with a nutritionist about the need for the "FLAVOFF" product - to determine the necessity of the patent in diabetics.
- Public opinion polls on the need of the population in a product that changes the sense of taste.
Interview with Dietician – Mrs. Meirav Ben Zaken
The purpose of the interview with the dietician, Mrs. Ben Zaken was required to show the need for our product. Mrs. Ben Zaken described the great difficulty in changing eating habits, this change takes a long time and sometimes the patient breaks down and does not succeed in losing weight.
According to her, by providing "FLAVOFF" it may possible to provide preventative treatment for patients with proven genetics of obesity.
Hello Meirav, How common is overweight?
Overweight is considered to be an epidemic. People invest a lot of money, time and energy to reduce weight gain. Overweight is common amongst children (and in on a steady rise), youth and mainly adults. I imagine it could be avoided if there was an option to receive guidance at a young age.
What is the importance of ensuring proper nutrition and avoiding overweight?
Good nutrition leads to a healthy lifestyle. Proper nutrition enables the rejection or postponement of chronic diseases that may break out because of a poor diet as well as the genetic component. As far as a proper diet is concerned we have the ability to influence, the moment a chronic disease breaks out then it is no longer in our hands. Then the disease is treated by medicinal means. Overweight can cause a wide variety of diseases – diabetes, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease and various blood vessel related problems.
Who has the most chance of suffering from overweight?
Genetics - Obesity in the family increases the chances of obesity in children. Environment - an unhealthy lifestyle in sports and nutrition. To my great regret in recent years the culture of eating is unhealthy. People are in a hurry to eat fatty foods, fried foods and tend to eat snacks, which in turn eating fruits and vegetables are disappearing from the menu in most of the population in Israel. The amount of fat in junk food is very high. A person who eats a lot of cheap fast food may find himself in the obesity graph even if genetics is in his favour.
How do you check who is a person that suffers from overweight? What are the indicators? (What Is The Definition)?
Weight in kg. /height in cm. = BMI. With this definition – if the result is 20-25 then it is normal. Above those numbers it is overweight/ obesity.
What can be done to avoid reaching a situation of overweight?
Keep a healthy lifestyle which includes a variety of healthy foods. Do sport. In the end every human being will consume unhealthy foods, the thing here is proportion.
A significant portion of people with high affinity desire to eat sweet food, others like salty foods or dislike bitter foods. Theoretically if we succeed in changing the desire for sweet things, would it be possible to maintain the desired weight?
Of course, most of the people fighting to maintain a steady weight are addicted to sweet tastes. Change could help them with their inner fight which exists while on diet. But .. how is that possible?
- That is our secret…
- I would be happy to use that secret to help ease the fight for my patients.
Opinion polls: whether genetic modification is a blessed or cursed act
(perceptions about gene therapy).
- 300 participants answered the survey we distributed.
- Participants age groups from 15 to 65.
- 100% of participants stated and demonstrated that they understand and know what genetic modification is.
- 100% of participants recognized the potential in the field of genetic modification.
- 80% of participants agreed that the field of genetic engineering should be explored.
- 33% stated they were willing to experiment on their bodies genetic modification for example using the product "FLAVOFF". Most of those who agreed were 25 years old and younger.