Policy and Practices
Our Policy and Practices team is made up of a group of multidisciplinary individuals that work together on trying to convey the use of our Gold-ion biosensor to the field. We take into consideration ethical, economical, security and social aspects following the implementation of our genetically engineered product.
There is a recent rise in illegal artisanal gold-mining and increased malaria prevalence in under-developed areas of some countries in Africa, Central and South America. The link between gold-mining and malaria stems from the open-pits left behind from miners that were not properly covered and get filled with rain water, thereby providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes. We propose that the use of our cell-free synthetic based bioactive paper for the detection of gold, which costs up to $0.04CAD to make, would help miners more efficiently search for gold. These gold paper biosensors would be distributed at community health clinics, where they would also offer free malaria testing for those who wish to purchase these cheap gold biosensors to raise awareness of this disease. The malaria testing would be of a similar design as our gold biosensor and therefore be a cheap diagnostic tool.
We also intend on developing a formalization policy for the artisanal gold mining industry. Following Synenergene's guidelines, we were granted 5000€ to help develop Application and Techno-Moral Scenarios with the use of our product in these at-risk communities. For outreach, our team is going to host a panel discussion with professors knowledgeable in the fields of Global Health & Ethics and Malaria epidemiology with fellow University of Toronto students.
Finally, we proposed to establish an undergraduate introductory synbio course at U of T as one of our long-term projects. The other long-term project is establishing an online network to connect professionals in the synbio field in both industry and academia.