Education &


Thanks to this criterion we were offered numerous opportunities for fascinating experiences. It is a special criterion that does not restrict us, the more the better. So we did, with every chance that we got we managed to reach out to the community with interesting actions, informing them about our project and the concept of synthetic biology. We tried to meet with various kinds of people, from little kids to top scientists. With individuals and communities, with people from every age group. We communicated our project in every possible way and audience. Everyone had something to teach us and something to learn from us and in the end, we all shared one common thing; our enthusiasm for synthetic biology.

Approaching inaccessible communities

After many meetings and brainstorming sessions, we came to the conclusion that a small, agricultural community would more easily accept a mysterious diagnostic tool if the information came from a source that is familiar to them. Having that in mind we contacted the president of LC, Kallithea Kalabakas, and informed him about our innovative technology and its future implementation. As the community’s main income originates from land cultivation he assured us that such a technology could save farmers a lot of effort and time, by avoiding the transportation of samples back to the Laboratory Facilities. We were excited when he informed us that he will also notify the community members about the technology of Lrr diagnostics and their benefits.

He also urged us to publish a comprehensive description of our project on his website in order for this information to be accessible to each one of the residents in the community.

Natural History Museum of Crete - University of Crete

Our visit to the Museum of Natural History of Heraklion was something to be remembered. With our holistic approach, we managed to instill the concepts of synthetic biology, immunology, and biochemistry and values such as respect for the environment, cooperating in a team spirit, and of course the love for science and learning! We orchestrated a series of activities specifically designed to be pleasurable and educating for children ranging from 6 to 18 years old. Our wet lab members demonstrated impressive experiments such as DNA extraction from strawberries, some cultivation of the microbes of our hands, and the unexpected use of a hot potato and the Elephant toothpaste! There were fun, educational games that we invented, interesting activities and quizzes, and a corner for a quick break for arts and crafts. Furthermore, a Pacman-like mini-game that we developed was available, which intrigued many children, though there was a catch: it was a perfect chance for us to inform them about our project!

The childrens favorite educational game: Spot it!

At this game we manufactured a TSWV-infected tomato, using a red ball. We gave facial features to our tomato, in order to be more appealing to the children. There were stickers on the tomato representing the black spots that are the main symptom of TSWV. Children should spot the right biological macromolecule/microorganism that was drawn under each sticker. If their guess was successful they would take the sticker, or else they should put it back onto the tomato and try to remember what they saw. The purpose of the game was for the children to cooperate both in a team and individually in order to save the tomato from the virus. Simultaneously they were getting in touch with synthetic biology and learning the basics of immunology in a fun and comprehensive game.

Visiting the Senior High School of Viannos-Educational Poster

Viannos is a mountaintop, rural municipality. During our visit to its senior high school in May, we educated students about iGEM, our project, and its implementations. We explored the wonderful concepts of immunology and synthetic biology, which they grasped and amazed. We had some enlightening conversations with the kids that were interested in the (job) life of a biologist, while we provided tips for their future choices.

Furthermore, we gave the school a poster in order to capture students' interest. The poster was made with fellow iGEM teams and each group translated the quote: The important thing is to never stop questioning (or learning) credited to Albert Einstein in their respective language.

Igem Crete on glykviannos blogspot

28th Scientific Society of Hellenic Medical Students (SCHMS) - 16th International Forum for Medical Students and Junior Doctors

Our team took the initiative to contact the members of the Scientific Society of Hellenic Medical Students (SCHMS) in order to participate in this year's Congress, this time in a session dedicated to the Greek iGEM teams.

On the 14th of May 2022 our team, along with other Greek iGEM teams, interacted with one another and presented ourselves at the 28th Scientific Society of Hellenic Medical Students (SCHMS) and the 16th International Forum for Medical Students and Junior Doctors, in Athens.

Throughout our presentation, we referred to both the iGEM Competition, as well as the social impacts of our projects. Our aim was to reveal our work to the public and acknowledge the applications and implementations of synthetic biology in future therapeutics. Overall, it gave us the opportunity to attend the rest of the congress, partake in numerous incredible speeches and keep up with the challenges of public health, while laying the foundation for additional fruitful partnerships amongst the Greek teams.

What is more, the gathering was extended to a lovely restaurant, where we had the chance to really get to know each other. We learned a lot about each team's origin, the tactics and way of thinking, and each one's future planning, and of course we had a great time together! Early in the night we began troubleshooting our projects and suggesting solutions but as the night went on, we found common interests and loved each other's company.

Interviews and the press

The media were of great help alongside our efforts to reach out to the community. We were in contact with more than 20 newspapers and sites of Heraklion. Among others, we were interviewed on ‘Creta live’, regarding various aspects of biology and our course in the competition, which was very informative and comprehensive, both for the public audience and for the more biology-inclined one. Furthermore, ‘Diazoma Portal’ and ‘Patris’, published articles about us, which gave us popularity and recognition. There was a brief description of our team and its cause, an update about our actions and initiatives, and our vision for the future. It was a true milestone for our effort, which allowed us to broaden our audience geometrically.

Igem Crete on

Igem Crete on Cretalive Igem Crete on Diazomaportal

AISEC Greece

The AISEC team contributed a great deal in the shape of our mentality and our choice of project. At the beginning of the team's formation, there was a fruitful discussion in which we were able to get inspired by the presentation of the 17 sustainable goals for development set by the organisation of the United Nations. The AISEC team members helped us connect our passion for biology with the vision of improving the world's society. Thus, our project was established by the will to follow goal number 12 - "ENSURE SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS" - while at the same time touching the grounds of other goals like number 1 - "No poverty". We consider the various meetings done by our team and AISEC Greece a fundamental step in our path, as they helped us get motivated, inspired us to work for a better future and, last but not least, helped us grow and mature by understanding how science and in general every human activity should be aiming to give back to society as long as humanity wants to experience a new era of enlightenment. Finally, they advised us to implement our ambitions both on a theoretical and on a practical level, as we did in the following actions.

Meeting with students in the Field of Agriculture

We wanted to stay in constant touch with someone that is a future user of our diagnostic tool, but also is closer to our age and comprehends our struggles throughout the competition. Thus, we contacted student groups of the Agricultural University of Athens and presented our project and our plans regarding its future implementation. Overall these meetings were the occasions for very intriguing discussions.

ESN UoC - iGem Crete

Presenting the idea of our project brought us unexpectedly a new partnership. The local section of Erasmus Student Network(ESN), an NGO with social activities run by students, approached us to ask for help. The idea was that our team members would help in the process of writing an ESC grant to be submitted by ESN UoC. The topic is sustainable agriculture, and the two main crops chosen for cultivation are potatoes and tomatoes. Our team gladly provided guidance and trained the volunteers on basic crop cultivation skills, especially for tomatoes. At the same time, we were able to provide first-hand field experience. The collaboration stepped even further, with ESN asking us to give a day conference about science and synthetic biology to the Erasmus people studying in Crete. Utilizing this chance, we spread the ideas of synthetic biology. Generally, our passion for biology happened with great success on 25/6/2022. At the same time, our team still has fruitful cooperation, which will continue growing even after the completion of the competition. It is essential for us and the local society that two groups of students share the same values and passion for changing the world into a better place for all. That's why the crops cultivated by the numerous volunteers will mainly support refuge campuses across Greece with the hope of improving people's lives.

Principal, biologists and local community of Chandras

We conducted a virtual meeting with the principal and the biologist of the junior highschool of a small, rural village named Chandras. As the principal wrote ‘Our biologist will inform our students and their parents about the useful diagnostic kit. Our school is in a semi-mountainous, rural area of Lasithi and the student's parents are mostly farmers, cultivating tomatoes and selling them to public markets. Thus, such useful information should be forwarded to them’, which really summarizes the goal of our meeting. Both the principal and the biologist were very helpful and supportive and we easily overcame some technical difficulties that occurred.


Trying to boost the visibility of our project, we proceeded with the organization of booths in the campus universities in Heraklion and Rethymno. At the same time, we had a stand in the city center of Heraklion. Local people, especially students, had the chance to learn about synthetic biology and ask questions about our ongoing research. In our opinion, the booths were characterized by great success as local media and newspapers spread the news.

Asking the experts

Considering how to approach a project with implementation prospects, we sought help from local agriculturalists seeking their advice. Presenting our idea, in the beginning, was challenging, especially at older ages, but through the promising results produced, we could show them our idea's vast potential. Most specialists always had helpful comments and helped us realize many points of view that we hadn't considered. The educational process thus happened in a two-way format from us to the agriculturalists and vice versa. The dialogue boosted the communication axis and made our work known to the field specialists.

How to communicate

Emphasizing the communication of our project, we used various social media as stepping stones toward our connection to society. Especially on platforms like Instagram, we were very active, posting fun facts about biology every week, quizzes about our project, and different games. This continued interaction helped us make complex meanings easy to understand, thus bringing us closer to the average person. We received very supportive comments from people of all backgrounds, which boosted our confidence that something good was happening.


Getting a better understanding of where we stood every time the key was the surveys. During our IGem journey, we conducted several stages of the project surveys to form a feedback loop helping us to see clearly what were our strong and weak points. The surveys managed to figure out the needs of society, leading us to a more sustainable design strategy. The surveys also helped the communication team make clear how the community reacts to our idea, and at the same time, the fundraising team found fertile ground to bring more economic support.

Reach out to Bioethics

We reached out to bioethicists such as Mrs. Tsinorema to be instilled with the values of bioethics and understand them better. We discussed ethical restrictions and how they are not always in agreement with the laws, and how something legal in one country can be illegal in others, so we should value the global ethical principles that we all have in common.

HeIMSIC gathering

It is a society, representing medical students. They organized a conference about immunology and vaccination policies in Greece. As our last year's project ‘edible vaccine’ was relevant they reached out to us in order to present our work there, communicate with them, and keep in touch. It eventually turned out that this year we also worked on a diagnostics project so that meeting, even early in the competition, was fruitful and relevant and gave us great knowledge in the field of immunology. The speeches of the experts were amazing and inspiring and they surely had to do with this year’s choice of project.

Debate with iGEM Thessaloniki

After our Meeting with Mrs. Tsinorema we were skeptic about the field of bioethics. It was then that we decided to share our point of view with our fellow iGEMmers from iGEM Thessaloniki. We organized a virtual debate in which we addressed the issue of whether rich people should be able to buy preferable genes for their children. How ethical will that be? Several opinions were heard about the issue. We came to a conclusion that if it is to become a reality, it would have to be only in extreme causes of rare genetic abnormalities and not for aesthetic reasons.

The Human Practices Committee and iGEM Community Science Communication Steering Group.

While communicating our project to the world is the main purpose of Human Practices, equally important for us was the opportunity to communicate with the iGEM community. Through a series of Workshops , hosted by The Human Practices Committee and iGEM Community Science Communication Steering Group, we enhanced our soft skills and felt ready to apply our knowledge to the world!