Team:Pittsburgh/Human Practices

A summary of how our project serves the public. For more details about our activities, visit the silver medal criterion page. For more details about how we integrated human practices considerations into our project, visit the gold medal criterion page.

Public Engagement

Our team talked to a range of audiences, from preschoolers to parents, about synthetic biology and our project. From summer camps to the Carnegie Science Center, we spread the word about synthetic biology's potential to solve current issues including water pollution. Since the city of Pittsburgh has recently become more proactive about testing water for lead, we also talked about the dangers and possible causes of lead poisoning. Our goal was to provide the audience with a fuller understanding of synthetic biology and an appreciation for water testing for heavy metals, especially lead. Read more about our activities here.

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Product Design

Heavy metal sensors already exist. They're used in the laboratory, and lead tests for water can be purchased. We met with Professor Bain from the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Geology and Environmental Science to talk about some considerations for Hot Metal Switch. The meeting helped us better envision our ultimate sensor. Read more about our meeting here.

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Risk Assessment

Lead is certainly dangerous, but how how often should we test for it in water? We built a model to evaluate the effect of lead contamination on children's development over time. The model was informed in part by a meeting with Dr. Troesken from the Department of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh, who met with us to discuss considerations of modeling a population. Read more about our model here.

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