Human Practices: Gold

Throughout our iGEM project, we took several steps to understand our project in a social context by interacting with experts in endometriosis and refining our project's design to better meet the needs of patients.

A Summary of Meetings with Experts

  1. Prof. Linda Griffith provided us with perspective on how patients struggle to receive an appropriate diagnosis. She helped us reframe our project from a gene therapy to a diagnostic that could provide much better help to patients.
  2. Prof. Asgi Fazleabas, one of the leading experts in endometriosis helped us reframe the specific biomarkers our diagnostic sough to detect. He helped us understand that progesterone resistance is one of the most robust phenotypes associated with endometriosis across most patients - even moreso than the miRNA dysregulation we initially wanted to sense for alone. This helped us realized that to make a diagnostic with high social value we needed to create sensors for not only estrogen signaling sensing, but also progesterone signaling sensing.
  3. Prof. Kevin Osteen, helped us understand some of the challenges associated with using microfluidics in a diagnostic and got us thinking about incorporating such a system into our diagnostic.
  4. The BU Hardware iGEM Team, helped us understand some of the challenges associated with designing microfluidics and provided us with valuable insights into how we could streamline the process in order to make our diagnostic robust and reliable.

Moreover, our interactions with Monsanto and Lab Central helped us better realize the legal and social considerations involved with bringing biotechnologies into the real world. For a full summary of how our human practices influence the design of our project, see our integrated human practices page.