Team:Pretoria UP/Engagement




We organized the first synthetic biology workshop ever held at our University, presented by an international leader in the field. We reached out to over 50,000 listeners on radio, informing them about synthetic biology and our project. We engaged extensively with a number of industry partners at various events, among them SANEDI (South African National Energy Development Institute) where we presented our project, conducted surveys and interviewed the Center Manager, Dr. Karen Surridge-Talbot. We also exhibited our work at the Women in Energy Business Summit where we engaged with a number of stakeholders in the energy sector of South Africa. Similarly we exposed 40 elite grade 11 learners to science, renewable energy, synthetic biology and our project through the UP with Science program at the University of Pretoria. Finally, we created two videos on our project which was posted on Youtube in addition to maintaining active Facebook and Twitter accounts.

SynBio Education

ACGT Synthetic Biology Workshop and Symposium

The iGEM team at the University of Pretoria together with the African Centre for Gene Technologies (ACGT) and the Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) research group hosted a synthetic biology workshop and symposium. The synthetic biology workshop was hosted at the University of Pretoria’s main campus on the 5th of September and facilitated by Professor Fernan Federici from the University of Cambridge. Prof. Fernan gave an introduction to synthetic biology to the workshop attendees and went on to discuss the engineering of multicellular organisms and DNA fabrication, as well as TechnoX and the social impact and effect on collaborations.

The workshop was followed by the symposium the next day held at Irene Country Lodge. The keynote address was delivered by Dr Geoff Baldwin from Imperial College London. Presentations from the Pretoria_UP iGEM team, Amanda Dodd and Tumi Chale from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology group as well as Lazarus Takawira from the University of Pretoria then followed.

The workshop and symposium were both a success and the Pretoria_UP iGEM team met their objective of educating, informing and making people aware of synthetic biology and its applications.


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UP with Science

UP with Science is a science enrichment programme for high school learners presented by the University of Pretoria, and hosted by the Junior Tukkie Society and the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. We presented to 40 high school learners from the larger Tshwane area, educating them about synthetic biology and its applications. The learners were shown interesting 3D biology videos.





Spreading Public Awareness of Our Project


Media is an important source to keep society up-to-date with our project progress as well as with the events we are hosting and taking part in. We created and maintain a Pretoria_UP iGEM 2016 Facebook& Twitter page to spread awareness of our project and to keep our followers updated on everything and anything which took place in the lab as well as our events. We also had tons of fun while making two videos to explain what our project's about. They were shared on our Pretoria_UP iGEM Youtube channel.

iGEM Pretoria_UP - Project Description

GoPro: Generate electricity using plant materials

We had the great opportunity to be interviewed on Tuks FM - The University of Pretoria's radio station and one of South Africa's most respected community broadcasters - during their Campus Platform show held on Mondays from 3pm-4pm. According to the Radio Audio Measurement Survey (RAMS), Tuks FM has an average of 50 000 to 60 000 listeners. We discussed iGEM, our project, as well as the events we hosted.

You can listen to the full interview here.