Team:IISER-Tirupati India/Education

Science Communication

It is as important to communicate science as it is to practice it. This can be achieved by informing, spreading awareness, educating public or by writing journals that highlight certain important aspects in science. This year we tried to reach out to school, high school and undergraduate students across India to promote science, spread awareness against antimicrobial resistance and introduced them to iGEM. We also wrote three research articles for the iGEM Journal an initiative by Team iGEM MSP Maastricht.


Interaction with High School Students,
AGASTYA Foundation

We organised our very first outreach session in collaboration with Agastya International Foundation. We were privileged to be a part of Agastya Biology Workshops, virtually, for highly able Indian children. Agastya International Foundation is an Indian non-profit organization that aims to spark curiosity, nurture creativity and build confidence among economically disadvantaged children and teachers. We conducted two such workshops, one with PMILP Dhruv Tara gifted children and the other with NVS Navodaya Gifted children. The children were from 8th to 12th grade, from different parts of the country. A series of talks were arranged, starting from how research is done in Biology to genetic engineering and its applications. We gave them information about various fellowships, competitive entrance exams and as well as career opportunities in research.
The students were also introduced to the iGEM competition, as we gave them a brief idea about our present and past projects. We also talked about motivation and hard work put behind the projects. We had arranged breakout sessions in between talks for them to ask questions and clear doubts. About 50 students attended each of the workshops. The response from the students was exceptional, they participated actively in all discussion sessions. They were too enthusiastic and asked several questions regarding the talks. The interaction sessions were kept lively, encouraging them to ask as well as answer questions. They even had some ideas about the applications of Genetic engineering. From their feedback, the students seemed to like such sessions and were further looking forward to interacting with us. The students were enthralled by the thought of working in the lab on the project of their choice. Overall, we had an incredible experience in interacting with young minds.

Interaction with School Children, Nivdunge

Our team member, Yogeshwari Kshirsagar, conducted the second outreach. She got an opportunity to have an interaction with school kids from Nivdunge, a remote village in Maharashtra. The session began with a brief introduction about our Institute, IISER Tirupati. We discussed different career options in the field of research. In line with our project, we explained the theory of Antibiotics, what they are and how they work. We also highlighted the importance of completion of any course of antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor and showed animations of bacteria gaining resistance to antibiotics resulting in AMR. We introduced iGEM and the role of synthetic biology by playing exciting videos. The enthusiasm of the kids was incredible. They asked interesting questions during the session. These kids have a clear mind and a vivid imagination about bacteria. Most of them wondered about bacteria being an invisible living creature. That's so cool! Don't you think? The session concluded with a discussion on the curious questions asked by these kids. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and it was a great experience.

Interaction with Undergraduate Students,
Yeshwant Mahavidyalaya Nanded

Another team member, Tejas Borkar, conducted the third outreach. He got an opportunity to interact virtually with Professors and Bachelor's students of Biotechnology from Yashwant Mahavidyalaya Nanded, Maharashtra. The session began with an introduction to the iGEM platform. The need for synthetic biology in our daily lives and how it could solve the problems was emphasized. Unlike the first two, this session was more orientated towards discussions and debates, since the audience was biology enthusiast. Students actively participated, asking and arguing in a friendly fashion. The central theme of our project - Antimicrobial Resistance was presented. The project presentation was followed by a short description of various modules, giving them an overview of how the whole system would work. The students were curious and asked many questions and gave innovative suggestions. The experience of sharing our idea was indeed helpful. They appreciated our project and boosted our confidence. On the whole, the session was extraordinary!

Interaction with High School Students,
Manav Rachna International School

In collaboration with iGEM MRIIRS Faridabad, we conducted the fourth outreach session. Tejas Borkar, again, got an opportunity to interact virtually with Manav Rachna International School students. There were about 25 students. Talks were arranged by both the iGEM teams on a variety of topics encompassing synthetic biology and its applications. We introduced the iGEM competition to them and encouraged them to participate. Both the teams explained their projects in straightforward terms so the students could get an overall idea of the projects. Discussion sessions were arranged, wherein the students actively participated and asked questions. The session was a great experience and our first collaboration to reach out to students and shed some light on Synthetic Biology as a whole.

Articles for the Journal initiative

iGEM Journal: Team iGEM MSP, Maastricht University

Publishing research work is a very important part of doing science. The iGEM Journal initiative by Team iGEM MSP gave us a chance to show our potential and flaunt our writing skills! As a team, we wrote three reviews one of which summarized our project in detail. Moreover, not just writing, we also got to peer review some of the other articles for the journal and appreciate the work of other teams in the competition. This gave us a deep insight into the publishing process of a research article. Overall, the whole process was very enlightening!

Here are the three articles we wrote for the Journal initiative:

1. A synthetic biology based solution for combating antimicrobial resistance This article gives a detailed overview of our project work and exemplifies the integration of antibiotic degrading genes, surface exclusion genes and a tightly regulated ‘kill switch’ to engineer coli kaze. Check it out here:

2. An Intertwined Approach to Synthetic Biology and Synthetic Chemistry for Health and Welfare This article talks about how combinatorial biosynthesis and mutasynthesis based approaches have played a key role in the efficient biosynthesis of essential natural products and their complex analogues for commercial exploitation. Check it out here:

3. Promoters in International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) This article reviews all major types of promoters used in iGEM, with examples, to achieve certain functions, which might help readers choose appropriate promoters for future projects. Check it out here: