Team:University College London/HumanPractice


Revision as of 11:24, 26 September 2012 by Zcbths3 (Talk | contribs)

Human Practice


Will the world be a safe place if we make biology easy to engineer? How do the lessons of the past inform the discussion going forward? Think beyond just convincing people that 'synthetic biology is good'.

Inspired by these quotes from the iGEM website, this year we set out to ‘challenge’ public perceptions about genetically modified organisms and inform people about synthetic biology by planning to collaborate with ‘biohackers’ or citizen scientists from the London DIYbio community to work on a spinoff component of one of our modules in a public lab during a 5 day period.

The public lab we have in mind will be easily observable from the street giving passer-bys a view into standard experiments that are otherwise hidden in the lab. By arranging such human practices activity, and thus enabling people to have a first hand experience, we are taking a step forward in giving people a real exposure of what synthetic biology as an emerging technology is about so we can have an informative public discussion.

By collaborating on a module, we are giving people ‘ownership’ of a small part of our project. In doing so we are providing the community with access to our project, and inviting their opinions and their ideas. There will be a reflective panel discussion at the last day of the event where people following our event can take part, and influence our work.

Besides this exciting collaboration, we also have a documentary and radio show planned. The documentary will tell the story of synthetic biology and iGEM to the public by tracking the progress of our own team, while the radio show will involve interviews with international teams giving people a sense of the global iGEM community and the breadth and diversity of synthetic biology projects.

In addition, we are working with Carina Tran, an architectural student from the UCL Bartlett, faculty of the Built Environment who is particularly interested in how plastics can be recycled in terms of being used as a constructive material. We hope such collaboration will help us to develop a better project, exploring iGEM in an architectural context.