"Description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's" - Stephen King


In addition to our project, we have educated several target groups about synthetic biology. The first being primary school children, the second high school students, the third university students and the last is the general public. All these target groups have one thing in common, they learned about synthetic biology.
If you are interested in learning why we did this, what our experience was and what you can learn from this. Then click on the interactive image below!

Primary schools


High Schools


Elementary Education

Elementary Education

This year iGEM Eindhoven taught primary school children about DNA. Our experience, from the children and teachers, can be read below. Also, if you would like to have a more detailed description, have a look at the paragraph for future iGEM teams. Be aware this presentation is in Dutch, it does contain a lot of images.

However, if you are more interested in the DNA lesson, have a look at the engineering design page.

First elementary school visit

An elementary school in Haaren, the Netherlands, reached out to iGEM team Wageningen with the question if team Wageningen wanted to give a guest lesson about DNA. They had a running project for a couple of weeks about DNA and wanted to hear from more experienced "experts" about all the questions their teacher could not answer. Most of all what is possible with DNA. Unfortunately, iGEM team Wageningen had no time to provide this lesson, so iGEM team Wageningen reached out to us. We found this a great opportunity to make younger children as enthusiastic about DNA and its potential as we are.

Figure 1 | DNA lesson at a primary school in Haaren. Rian and Floor awnsering the questions of the children.

On the 16th of May three of our members, Floor, Famke and Rian, visited elementary school de Klim-op in Haaren, to give a guest lesson about DNA. In this lesson, we explained the concept of DNA and what research about and with DNA is done. To children in the 6th and 7th grades (about 10 to 11 years old). We explained that DNA is a code that encodes a person's features, and that the code consists of 4 letters, A, C, T and G. Besides, we explained the concept of complementary strands. With this information, we played a game where the children could form their own little DNA strands in front of the classroom. We brought small sign boards with the letters A, C, T and G, which the children could wear as a necklace. Four children were asked to form a sequence we presented on the board. Four other children were asked to stand in the right place so that they would form a complementary strand. For instance, A would be opposite T. When they had learned the concept of DNA, we told them about some research and what kind of changes in DNA already occurred with their consequences. Finally, we told them how a scientist can change DNA with the concept's restriction and ligation.

The children asked us tons of questions. Unfortunately, we could not answer every question, since a lot of information about DNA is still unknown. Nevertheless, it was very exciting for both us and the pupils to teach and learn something about DNA. The teacher was also very excited and asked if we can do this again.

The teachers like our presenting skills and our enthusiasm. Though they did have some tips to improve the DNA lesson. We will implement these tips in our next lesson. The feedback can be found below. Finally, we would like to thank the elementary school in Haaren, de Klim-op, for having us!

When you don't know how to anwser a question. Tell the students this.

- Teacher

When explaining the game, keep it simple. Explain it step by step. Besides, involve the rest of the class as well.

- Teacher

You taught the lesson in a powerfull and enthusiastic manner.

- Teacher

It was nice that a lot of time was reserved for question. You clearly answered all the questions.

- Teacher

Second elementary school visit

After a successful visit to the first elementary school, the school and us were very enthusiastic. Accordingly, we figured that we would like to implement our feedback. Therefore, we went looking for another school We found another elementary school in Uden ‘De Vlonder’ by using our network.

On Monday the 20th of June, we, Floor, Famke, and Rian, went to the elementary school ‘De Vlonder’. This time we gave the DNA lesson to one class, 6th grade (children are about 10 years old in this class). The lesson had the same content as the previous one. In short, we explained the concept of DNA, and talked about DNA research. Finally, we play the DNA game

Again, both the teacher and the students were very enthusiastic. This lesson took us about 20 minutes to give and the children filled in 30 minutes by asking questions. So, there were a lot of questions, for example, they asked if you could eat DNA. Then we answered yes because an apple also has DNA in it.

Figure 1 | Elementary school lesson in Uden. Children performing the DNA game.

Also, this time we asked for some feedback, which again was very positive. You can find the feedback below. Finally, we would like to thank the elementary school, De Vlonder, and the teacher, Merel Barten, for having us! To conclude, this was a succeeded lesson!

For future teams

As mentioned above,the lesson we gave was about DNA. The presentation can be found at the bottom, the presentation has little text but a lot of images so it is self eplanatory. Here are some tips and tricks from us but of course feel free to add your own twist.

For preparation take a few hours and make clear what you would like to teach the children. Also, figure out how you want to teach them. Since they do not have any knowledge of DNA (probably).

When teaching, take the time. In our case, the lesson was 20 minutes and we answered questions for 30 minutes. They are very enthusiastic and want to learn, they do that by asking a lot of questions. Therefore, take the time to answer these questions.

In the paragraph about our experience, you can also read some feedback the teachers gave us the first time doing this lesson. If you would like to use this lesson have a look at that.



University students' workshop

The last one of the target audiences was university students. There are several options for educating university students, such as giving a lecture or a workshop. Due to the interactive nature of a workshop, we opted for this.

The Experience

This workshop was given (25th of Augustus) during the bachelor introduction week. This week students starting their bachelors are getting in touch with student life, including study associations and a wide variety of student teams. As iGEM TU-Eindhoven is one of the few student teams revolving around chemistry/biology at the university, this was the perfect occasion to teach students about synthetic biology and to make the iGEM team more recognized among students. Therefore, the goal for this workshop was to make iGEM more known at the Technical University of Eindhoven and to teach students the basics of laboratory work, while also introducing them to some basic chemistry.

Figure 1 | workshop during bachelor introweek. A lot of different departments were present, every color stands for a different department.
Figure 2 | workshop during bachelor introweek. Students making caviar.

Figure 3| workshop during bachelor introweek. The 'caviar' looked like small red bubbles.

The workshop was called molecular gastronomy, or making 'caviar', the workshop was given 3 times. All workshops took an hour and students from several bachelor programs attended the workshops. This you can see in figure 1; every color T-shirt stands for a different bachelor program. On average many students partook in each workshop. During this workshop we made 'caviar'. This meant making alginate bubbles in calcinate. This forms a gel like structure which looks like caviar, as can be seen in figure 3. Because syrup is added to the alginate mixture the bubbles are edible. This is a very simple and easy protocol to teach students some laboratory work without risks and thus the need for external permits. The protocol is shown below, for future iGEM teams in case they would like to perform this experiment as well. Students enjoyed the workshops, and it was nice to see all of them work together!

For future teams

Below the protocol used for the caviar can be seen. If you want do this experiment you can use this protocol.

Molecular gastronomy.pdf

High Schools

Challenge day 2022

On the 14th of September 2022, iGEM TU-Eindhoven organized an event for high school students. The students that could join were in the 5th or 6th year of VWO (highest form of education for High school in the Netherlands). We believe these students are the next generation of synthetic biology engineers. Therefore, a lot of time and effort has been put into creating an event for these high school students. This was the first time in iGEM TU-Eindhoven history to do so. This event is called the challenge day.

The Purpose

To create an educational and fun day for high school students and, simultenously, for our team/ourselves, we set some learning goals for the students as for our team. These can be found below the experience. Also if these learning goals have been reached can be found there.

The Experience

The day consisted of a theoretical exercise and a practical exercise. First, a guide through the day. The theoretical exercise was a mini-iGEM project. The high school students had to make a poster of their own invented synthetic biology project. The following categories could be chosen for the project: healthcare, environment, or nutrition. Since they only had one day, they had to focus more on the ethical side, which resembles the Human Practices from the iGEM competition. They could have a look at how their project influences the world and vice versa. Furthermore, they could focus on the technical side of their project by asking themselves questions as how does it work?

Figure 1 | campus tour. High school students walking over the campus.
Figure 2 | poster making. High school students brainstorming for their synthetic biology project.
Figure 3 | E. coli Art. Students painting with fluorescent bacteria in the labaratory.
Figure 4 | making caviar. High school students making caviar at one of the practical exercises.

One thing to note, these ideas did not have to be relevant or directly applicable to the world right now. This was to promote creativity and reduce the time pressure, because they had only one day, and we did not want to make it too hard on the students. You can see this creativity in some of the ideas the students came up with. For example, making human cells with chloroplasts so a cell would make its own energy. The first group focused more on the technical side so, how would you make eukaryotic cells with chloroplasts.Another example, bringing back dinosaurs into this world. This group focused more on the ethical side, so what influence would bringing back dinosaurs have on the world? Overall, we wanted to show all the possibilities within synthetic biology. Besides, it was important that the students thought of the possibilities within synthetic biology.

For the practical exercises, we had two kinds of exercises for the students.That stated, students were not able to do both, because of time pressure. The first exercise was the exploration tour, being, a tour over the Eindhoven University of Technology campus. Students walked in groups around the campus. Photos and small notes served as indications for the route. The exploration tour also had a small experiment, which was called making caviar. We performed this experiment for university students as well during the introduction week.

The second practical exercise is called E. coli art. The name is self-explanatory. The students made art by painting with E. coli that could make fluorescent proteins on agar plates. They had six colors, GFP (green), eYFP (Yellow), mCherry (red), mOrgange (orange), eCFP (cyan), and Neptune (purple). At first, the students got safety instructions about working in the lab and working with GMOs, because GMOs were used and safety needs to be ensured. More information about the safety can be found at the safety page.

In the afternoon, the high school students had to present their synthetic biology project during a poster market. Judges walked over the network market and chose their favorite project. In the end, the winner, the group with the best poster in combination with the theoretical exercises, was chosen by the judges. A price for the 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place was given.

All in all, this was a very fun and educational day. Both for the high school students and us. This was a very good day for the university as well, we made students enthusiastic about the study of biomedical engineering as well as synthetic biology. All learning goals were reached. During the challenge day photos and a video were made. These can be watched to get an impression about the day and see all the projects the students came up with. The video you can be found at the top of this page. The photos are at the bottom of this page.

Figure 5 | E. coli Art. Students painting with fluorescent bacteria in the labaratory.
Figure 6 | poster making. High school studens making the poster of their synthetic biology project.
Figure 7 | poster market. At the poster market all students presented their ideas.

Pretty cool


Incredibly fun and I don't regret participating!


Learned a lot and gained more information about biomedical technology


super fun


Learning goals

As mentioned in the purpose, we made learning goals. These are listed below also is added if these learning goals have been reached.

Learning goals – for the students
  • Learn the possibilities within synthetic biology via examples and hands on experience.
    • The theoretical exercise, making your own poster of synthetic biology. The students were given some examples of synthetic biology projects. Furthermore, they had to think of all the possibilities with synthetic biology and make their own synthetic biology project.
  • Present your work to a jury.
    • The projects were presented on a poster on a poster market. Judges walked over the poster market and students could present their ideas.
  • Understanding the safety of working with GMOs.
    • Before going into the lab everyone had a small safety instruction about working safe with GMOs.
  • Learn to collaborate within a team.
    • The process of making a presentation, making a poster and thinking of ideas was all within a team. Collaboration made this all a lot easier.
  • Learn if this object is something you are interested in and if you want to study in this direction
    • During the challenge day students learned about synthetic biology via the exercises. Also, students had the opportunity to ask tutors which work or had worked in the field of synthetic biology. Following, students could decide if this is something they are interested in and want to learn more about.
Learning goals – for the TU-Eindhoven 2022 team
  • Organizing an (educational) event. Keeping in mind things such as planning, regulation, and communication.
    • The challenge day is an event, this had to be organized. The ones organizing it (team iGEM Eindhoven) received a lot of skills organizing this event. Skills such as planning, communication
  • Make educational exercises involving synthetic biology
    • During the challenge day 2 exercises were performed. The first being the theoretical exercise, making a poster of your own synthetic biology project. The second being the practical exercises to explore the campus and work with synthetic biology. Both exercises were made and tested by iGEM team Eindhoven.
  • Keep high school students enthusiastic and interested
    • During a day such as this it is important to keep the attendees interested. This was done by making both fun and educational exercises. Especially the practical exercises were present to keep the participants interested.

photobook challenge day

Interested in organizing a similar event? In the pdf file you can find a complete analyses of our event but also some advice when you would like to organize your own event. Besides, we wrote down our struggles so you can learn from it!.


Our team tried to engage with the general society in multiple ways. For instance, in our partnership with the iGEM BOKU Vienna team which can be found on our partnership page. Together we investigated the opinions and knowledge that people in the Netherlands and Vienna have of synthetic biology. We also researched whether they would care if certain products consisted of genetically engineered machines. One of our main conclusions was that age matters. It is extremely important to inform people at different stages of life about synthetic biology and teach them how this can influence their lives. We implemented this into our project by performing science communication and education in multiple ways. The extensive explanations of everything we did in the field of science communication and education of the general public can be found on our education & communication wiki page. A brief explanation is given below.

Social media

We published our results and iGEM news on our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram pages. Our team exists for already 10 years and therefore we have been able to generate a large audience on our social media channels. Furthermore, we organized an Instagram partnership week in which we published our joint human practices study ethical concerns on synthetic biology of both the general public and scientists.

Figure 1 | Social media posts.


During our project we presented our team and project !MPACT (Modular and Personalized Autoimmune Cell Therapy) at different events, such as the TU/e contest, Sustainable healthcare challenge and drinks demos and pitches. We won the audience award at the TU/e contest which was one of the highlights of this year! At some of these events we were able to not only present our project on synbio but also educate others on synthetic biology. We for instance participated in a demo day and pitched at university related events for our team. Lastly, we also hosted a Crash Course for scientists and students. Lastly, we won the audience award at the TU/e contest which was one of the highlights of this year!

Figure 2 | Presenting at the Sustainable healthcare challenge.


We were able to publish about our team and project in different articles and magazines. For instance we wrote an article in the vascuzine an information magazine for vasculitis patients and their constituency. Our project is to be published in the protatype, the article of the biomedical engineering study association of our university, and we got interviewed by Cursor and ICMS (the institute for Complex Molecular Systems). Lastly we were invited to the podcast of SynbioNL to talk about our project and team. All these articles and magazines helped us get more outreach about our project and team!

Figure 3 | ICMS article.


Next to our project we organized several events. We organized the Alumni drink for previous iGEM TU Eindhoven teams, the iGEM Dutch meet-up, and the Mini Jamboree. The focus of the Alumni drink was to connect with previous iGEM TU Eindhoven teams, having the common interest of iGEM and synthetic biology. The focus of the iGEM Dutch meet-up was to exchange knowledge with other Dutch iGEM Teams and explore possible partnerships. The mini Jamboree was organized with the focus to give iGEM teams the opportunity to practice their pitch in front of a big audience and judges, and receive feedback from them one more time before the worldwide Grand Jamboree. We believed these events were a great opportunity to educate, raise awareness, share information and promote. Along with entertaining the visitors. Interested to read more about these events? Check our Collaborations and public outreach pages.

Figure 4 | The iGEM TU Eindhoven alumni drink.