Competition Deliverables

Project Attributions

Project Description



Engineering Success


Human Practices

Proposed Implementation


Integrated Human Practices

Project Modelling

Human Practices

Proof of Concept


Education and Communication


๐Ÿ† Education:

We are eligible for the iGEM Education Prize because we taught students at the three education stages about Synthetic Biology. We have fully documented our activities on the Wiki page and explained why we meet the education criterion on the judging form. Our team deserves the best Education because we managed to break down Synthetic biology into three ways: (1). To be understood by college students (Ashesi University) (2). To be understood and applied by high school students (Africa Science Academy), and (3). To be understood by primary school students (Berekuso Basic School). We understood the value of educating different age groups using the means they can understand. For example, we used DNA extraction experiments for high school students who are studying science and performing experiments, a comic book for primary school students to learn while getting entertained, and Kahoot and PowerPoint for College students

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๐Ÿ† Hardware:

A biosensor containment unit was our project's primary hardware. Multiple capsules contain the biosensor. These capsules are inserted in a stake-like structure to detect gold and its pathfinders. The PVC stake has holes, so that particles can interact with the biosensor. Our developing design required users to remove the stake (many feet) from the ground to check for color indicators and then discard the entire stake. Our present design uses the TCS230 color recognition sensor module to detect the biosensor's color changes and determine the likelihood of detecting gold. With the help of the ball valve, the pole can be split in two, and the bit that contains the biosensor paste can be disengaged and reattached. An Arduino nano (ARM-based)microcontroller will interpret the color sensor and display percentages of 'gold likelihood' on an OLED screen. Furthermore, a 5V relay module will control the U.V kill switch. All electronic components were soldered onto a perforated board and placed in a suitable and robust package.

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๐Ÿ† Integrated Human Practices:

We interacted appropriately with stakeholders at every stage imaginable. These stakeholders were carefully selected due to their expert knowledge of mining and its disastrous effects. We spoke with members of the mining community in the public and private sectors. In the public sector, we had the Lands Commission of Ghana (a central body that controls all large/small mining companies). Then we engaged with one large and one small mining company (in two different cities in Ghana โ€“ Accra and Kumasi). Afterwards, we displayed our prototype to 'Engineers and Planners' (a private mining company in Ghana). Our presentation was so relatable and interactive that they granted us $5000 in cash! These and more are why we believe our integrated human practices was successful. Moreover, the numerous changes we made to our solution โ€“ from a drone sprayer to a high-tech gold biosensor stake โ€“ were all thanks to our extensive engagement and research.

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๐Ÿ† Safety and Security:

Firstly, we ensured that our design was safe for the environment by preventing genetically modified bacteria from escaping. Then, in our quest to encapsulate our biosensor using alginate cores and hydrogel, we considered cost-effective and resource-efficient methods for low-level laboratories. Though this is a work in progress, it is a milestone that will facilitate widespread adoption of the upcoming hydrogel encapsulation as a biosecurity strategy by laboratories in Ghana and beyond. Our design combines physical, chemical, and autolytic containment in a compensatory manner that will lower the chances of escape and vertical gene transfer to approximately 0%. We have created multiple levels of security to guarantee the containment of the biosensor: encasing it using a hydrogel capsule, using a methanol-dependent E. coli strain, and finally, UV promoters that activate autolytic enzymes. We are proud to say we are one of the five teams that won the $5000 iGEM 2022 Safety Grant.

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๐Ÿ† Inclusivity:

We nominate ourselves for the inclusivity award because from the beginning (during the team formation), our efforts were to promote diversity and inclusion. Our team is made up of students of different nationalities and majors. The team comprises students majoring in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and Computer Science, all with no background knowledge in synthetic biology. This demonstrates our efforts to include people with diverse backgrounds and identities in scientific research. When we organized a meeting with Ashesi University students, we made the meeting open to students of all majors so that they would learn about synthetic biology. We went to Africa Science Academy; a school where mainly Physics and Mathematics are taught. Through these activities, we broke the barrier that only students majoring in biology have a voice in Synthetic Biology, and our success is depicted by the number of students who showed further interest.

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๐Ÿ† Supporting Entrepreneurship:

By validating the miners' need for the Biosensor and its capacity to provide the value desired by the user, IGEM Ashesi Ghana went beyond the users' ability to use the Biosensor. The team achieved this by maintaining stakeholder engagement throughout the process. The initial step was to comprehend the demand for an economical, quick, and more precise prospecting method among miners. The next phase involved creating a biosensor that met the need and working with different stakeholders to gain their opinions on the designs. Maintaining stakeholder involvement throughout our project assures that the miners will actually need the bio-sensor we are developing and that it will give them a quicker, more accurate, and cheaper prospecting strategy. We saw signs of our support for entrepreneurship, as we pitched to a large mining consultancy firm in Ghana [Engineers and Planners]. They were certain that the product would be of use to them after our research, and gave us a grant of $5000 to ensure that.

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๐Ÿ† Sustainable Development Impact:

The team is eligible for the Sustainable Development Impact prize because our project focused on reducing land degradation caused by pre-exploratory mining. The fight to curb land degradation is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 15, which seeks to "protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss." Our team met with the Minerals Commission of Ghana, our major stakeholder that also shares the sentiments of promoting SDG15. Through our collaborations, partnerships, and interactions with stakeholders, we promoted Sustainable Development Goal number 17. SDG17 emphasizes the need for global cooperation to promote other SDGs, which our team fulfils. We collaborated with several iGEM teams to improve our project, consulted mining companies, and performed outreach activities which show the essence of working together. Therefore, we nominate ourselves for the prize.

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