Tuebingen provides a unique platform for discussion and research in Synthetic Biology.
Tuebingen is a town with one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Germany and worldwide. With every third inhabitant being a student, Tuebingen provides an excellent basis for research in science. At the same time, Tuebingen is a hub of the ecological movement in Germany, raising critical thoughts and opinions about specific fields of research, especially about synthetic biology, genetic engineering, and animal experiments.
We participated in Human Practice projects allover Tuebingen, Germany, and Europe.
We, the iGEM Team Tuebingen, try to counteract these tendencies and improve the communication between the scientific world and the public. To accomplish this, we organized and attended multiple events. Starting off with the Science Slam in Constance and the “Summer and Science” symposium of the jGBM in Marburg and the Symposium of Molecular Medicine in Tuebingen. These events gave us the opportunity to present our project to a student community in the life sciences. Therefore, it was also possible to get useful input for the realization of our project while getting a broad view on our project from multiple standpoints. In addition, we got valuable feedback from other iGEM teams and participants. Two of the events we attended, the iGEM Meetup Germany in Marburg and the “European Experience 2016” in Paris, gave us the opportunity to get feedback and new ideas about our project from experienced iGEM teams.
Human Practices do not only work outside of lab but also include in this year an integrated approach. We invited a high school student, with interest in natural sciences to join us with our work in wet lab for a two-week internship. This approach combines the effort to support the interest and curiousness of a high school student with the opportunity to educate him in synthetic biology. At the same time, our team gained profit from this cooperation by being challenged with the task of explaining our work and answering some fundamental questions, which gave us a new perspective on our project.
To sum up, we took the opportunity of the iGEM competition to spread the word of synthetic biology among all kinds of people from a general audience to life scientists. We gave basic knowledge of genetic engineering and broke down prejudices, while at the same time getting valuable thoughts and ideas regarding our project.