integrated human practices
Generation of the project idea invited us to follow many paths, however, our literature research and concern for the instability of the marine populations reaffirmed our perceived duty to focus on aquatic life preservation. Nonetheless, development of FlavoFlow had us facing many dilemmas. The nature of our project led us to putting a lot of thought into how our team could assist the aquatic life, while simultaneously expanding our scope of impact and collaboration to the broad communities. We knew that for our project to succeed, we had to combine and bring out the best in ethics, scientific principles, and community engagement. Our commitment to the task brought us to the company of many great representatives of business, STEM academia, humanities’ scholars, government officials and members of the general community, who deemed our cause noble and worthy of their generous support. The journey was filled with great opportunities for us to apply iGEM’s values in the field.
At the beginning of our brainstorming period, we had a unique opportunity to participate in an international science conference “COINS 2020” and have a conversation with renowned scientists, such as the Nobel prize in chemistry winner Aaron Ciechanover and Warren Alpert Foundation Prize winner professor Peter Hagemann. The discussion sessions allowed us to reject several of our obscure ideas, but most importantly we were encouraged to reach out to the professionals of the relevant fields.
Having garnered estimable counsel and with quite some literature research under our belts, we put the newly acquired knowledge to use and established contact with National Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment Institute (NFVRAI) which helped us narrow down our focus to Flavobacterium spp. and even gave us a few adjustment ideas for a possible prevention measure development.
Next followed a long and fruitful relationship with a “Fishnet” aquafarm. It all started with a long phone call, which grew into a virtual meeting and eventually - a live visit to the farm. Fishnet employees were extremely helpful in shaping our project into what it is now. They provided us with many useful heaps of information, which pushed us to focus on point-of-care test kit and subunit vaccine development. Most importantly – Fishnet attracted our attention to the importance of developing a quantitative measurement assay for the Flavobacteria detection. This led to the establishment of our measurement sub-project.
Another successful business relationship we established was with a company “Micromolds” – they kindly assisted us in the development of a test kit prototype, providing critical knowledge and even furnished us with a 3D template which other teams will be able to use.
During this project many more collaborations with scientists, creators and members of the public followed. Their ideas shaped our project and allowed it to become a multifaceted testament to what a passionate collaboration between people of diverse backgrounds can achieve. As we saw our project come to fruition, we were proud to know that after having taken many great inputs from our communities we were also able to give back by providing useful frameworks that our successors will be able to use and continue to build upon in their future ventures. We are honoured in knowing that our work has received great support from every person and organisation we have reached out to and was regarded as a highly desired solution to the issues we so desired to tackle.