IGEM Outreach:Synbio Problem Solving

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... How would you solve this?

  • Suitable for: College and high school students
  • From the UQ-Australia iGEM team's volunteer work with Biofutures and the PAIN UQ-Australia Physics Society

This activity was presented to undergraduate students in the PAIN- UQ Physics Students Society. Participants = 15 students and 5 tutors.

PAIN Physics Society at the University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia is a student society for students with an interest in physics at the University of Queensland. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of synthetic biology and the generality of physics, a brief introduction to a new field of science seemed fitting.

The aim of hosting a PAIN event is to promote synthetic biology as an emerging research field and to promote interdisciplinary on both the biology and physics sides.

This activity was also presented to students in Biofutures, a program hosted by the University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia. The students were yr 11-12 in high school and were interested in biology. Participants = 80 students and (5+10) tutors

Biofutures is a biotechnology forum for Year 11 and 12 students from Australia and New Zealand. UQ-Australia ran a workshop on 3 July 2011. This workshop included a presentation and a group activity. The aim of the contribution to Biofutures was to introduce iGEM as a possible option for them when they pursue their tertiary studies.

From this activity, students and mentors

  • drew analogies between synthetic biology and cybernetics (for the PAIN group)
  • went through some of the thinking process followed by the iGEM students when formulating a project
  • gained an idea of what has been happening for synthetic biology/ iGEM
  • were able to put synthetic biology into perspective with science and society

Lesson Plans and Activity Sheets


  • Activity works very well. Talk could be cut down a little more. UQ-Australia iGEM 2011