Our team understands that a survey with such a small sample size is not the most reliable of methods to gain information. However, we still decided to conduct a survey in order to gain a general public opinion on various aspects of our project. Applying synthetic biology components to open wounds can be a very sensitive subject that needs to be carefully evaluated. In addition to considering the ethics of our project, we also wanted to examine how exactly people in our community would respond to our proposed blood clotting agent. Mainly we wanted to gain an opinion on possible application methods for our product. We created paper copies of the survey, that we handed out to respondents in the city as well as a digital copy that we shared on social media in the hope of collecting a more diverse sample. In total, 40 individuals respondent to our survey. From the survey, we gathered that a bandage form is the most popular form for applying our product. This informed our final decision on the application of our product. We also learned that people have heard of snake venom being used for clotting blood, and are somewhat comfortable with using components of snake venom to heal a wound. People would also consider using synthetic biology as a clotting method. Overall we conducted this survey out of curiosity to learn what others would think of our product.
We believe an important aspect of iGEM is to spark interest in synthetic biology and iGEM in other students. This year, we decided to present to Grade 11 classes in several High Schools in Lethbridge about our project and the iGEM competition in general. As part of the Grade 11 curriculum, students learn about the components of blood and the blood clotting pathway. Our project and presentation therefore integrated very well into the their curriculum. Through our presentation, we raised students’ awareness for the application and significance of some of the concepts they learned in school and made them more interested to become involved with iGEM in the future.
City Council Presentation
In order to accumulate funds and some media coverage, as a team we resolved to present our blood coagulation project to city council members. Our goal was to ask for $1000 in order to aid the funding of our prototype construction. Although the money was not granted, we gained an invaluable experience at presenting in city hall to twelve councillors and the mayor. Having the opportunity to answer questions and hear the council members perspectives was truly an enlightening experience. The councillors expressed their interest and belief in our project, as well as perceived the value in iGEM even though they denied our request. Our visit to city hall certainly was still beneficial, as media such as the Lethbridge Herald and Shaw interviewed a team member, and we got a chance to spread the word of our funding page and project idea. Overall, it was a rewarding experience.
In order to ensure that all team members were familiar with the basis of our blood clotting project at the beginning of the iGEM season, we designed this dictionary including basic terms relevant to our project. Every team member submitted a few terms related to our project, along with their definition, in order to create this dictionary. In addition to helping our team members mitigate their uncertainties in some aspects of the project, we hope that this dictionary will also allow the community to understand our project and its significance in a more in depth manner.