Team:Carnegie Mellon/Hum-Outreach


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<a href="">Human Practices</a>
<a href="">Human Practices</a>
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<a href="">Overview</a>
<a href="">Overview</a>

Revision as of 14:19, 2 October 2012


Summer presentations to high school students

With the goal of reaching out to and educating Pittsburgh area high school students about synthetic biology, we organized several sessions where we introduced synthetic biology to students, talked about state-of-the-art, goals and obstacles of the field, and presented our iGEM project.

This was the schedule and audience of our presentations:

  1. July 18:
  2. July 20:
  3. August 1:

In these presentations (see our slides here), we used the built circuit kit to visualize and demonstrate the main aspects of our project.

Using the circuit kit, we demonstrated to the students a simulation of the fluorescent sensor, which reveals promoter characteristics. We plotted graphical representations of mRNA and protein production, and then analyzed the changes in the output when certain parts of the sensor model are removed or changed. Finally, we ranked a group of promoters that can be interchanged in the model by strength based on the graphical data we plotted.

From our presentation, the students were able to learn about:

  1. Biological systems and synthetic biology
  2. The interdisciplinary nature of synthetic biology
  3. Gene expression and the central dogma of molecular biology
  4. How the software measures properties of promoters
  5. How synthetic biologists tackle real-world problems


The circuit will be the basis for a kit to be used by HS biology teachers in classrooms in public schools in Pittsburgh. The goal is to incorporate Synthetic Biology in the HS curriculum. The kit will be implemented by DNAZone, the outreach program of CNAST, and become part of their lending library of teaching materials.

Educational Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to define and describe the importance of synthetic biology
  2. Students will be able to identify one real-world application of gene expression
  3. Students will be able to explain how technology is used to extend human abilities
  4. Students will be able to analyze the correlation between the input and output values of the sensor model
  5. Students will be able to list advantages and disadvantages of using models to simulate processes and outcomes
  6. Students will be able to discuss the contributions that different science fields make to the interdisciplinary field of synthetic biology
  7. Students will be able to discuss ethics aspects related to synthetic biology