In the spirit of iGEM we aimed to build our solution in a cooperative, conscientious and responsible approach keeping in mind to make science more accessible and relevant to all stakeholders. We have a range of inclusive HP and modeling collaborations that are aimed at maximizing awareness on not only antibiotic resistance but also the realizing synthetic biology's potential for people and the planet.
All India iGEM Meet 2022
The All India iGEM Meet was a three-day Jamboree-esque event where Indian iGEM teams are invited to participate in a forum designed for discussion, collaboration, and improvement of our presentation skills. This year, our team handled the responsibility of managing the social media handles and publicizing the event. We also took part in the judging sessions where we won best ‘Dry Lab’ award and a special mention for our presentation, while also gaining significant feedback from the judges and the other teams that were present. Industry experts such as Mr. Vaibhav Bhatia, the CEO of Lamarck Biotech, also chimed in with their insights on improving our project before the final presentation. Overall, this collaboration provided us with a plethora of opportunities to learn from other teams and form long-lasting partnerships while receiving pivotal feedback and helpful suggestions during the judging sessions. The Meet also paved the way and helped us secure subsequent collaborations with IISER Bhopal and IIT Delhi.
Ethics in Synthetic Biology is a 3 part series on YouTube and Spotify where iGEMers from team VIT Vellore and IISER Tirupati interview renowned researchers and industry professionals including Dr Sivakumar A (Assistant Professor - VIT University), Mr Mayank Sharma (Researcher at Syngene), Dr. Vijaylekshmi Subramanian (Professor - IISER T).
Ethics in Synthetic Biology is a rather sparingly explored field in life sciences. Through this playlist, we delve into the concept of how integrating equity, humility, solidarity and sustainability into our scientific solutions can change the way we look at solving real life problems. An important takeaway from the series was highlighting the need for science communication at not only an undergraduate level but also for high schoolers being introduced to concepts of synthetic biology.
It is a well-known fact that farmers are the backbone of our country. The work of farmers makes the soil healthier, and they are in tune with the climate. However, soil is often an overlooked area of research that has gained global attention recently. Team VIT and IISER Bhopal an arena of discussion and brought forward a multi pronged educational collaboration so that soil management is not just an afterthought but in the forefront of our research.
- We created a handbook to expand awareness on preservation of soil health, why it is deteriorating and our solutions to soil conservation.
- Conducting surveys and knowledge transfer to generate more data on the feasibility of our projects.
- We conducted a panel discussion comprising Dr Gothandam (PI for VIT), Dr Arnold Emerson (Expert on Dry Lab Modeling), Dr Sourav (PI for IISER B), Dr Lavanya (PI for IISER B), Ms Sana Jalili (Human Practices Expert) for joint feedback on our progress on our respective projects.
We believe synthetic biology is the driver of the next generation of scientific researchers and synthetic biology education, beginning in high school, is an impetus to engage students to not only become familiar with the social, environmental and economic implications of synthetic biology but also pursue careers as engineers, scientists and policy makers. We worked together with MIT MAHE on a handbook for high schoolers and science enthusiasts to raise awareness on synthetic biology and motivate the cause to participate in the iGEM competition, drawing from our own experiences as part of this journey.
Our team facilitated IISc Bengaluru’s outreach campaign to make synthetic biology as inclusive as possible. As part of this, we worked on the Tamil translation of their manual, ‘SynC’. This booklet has 4 chapters pertaining to different aspects leading up to SynBio followed by scientific ethics and morals. Through this, we hope to remove language barriers in science. The Marathi version of the manual was translated by IISER Pune, while the Kannada and Malayalam translations were made by IISc Bengaluru.
This was a research collaboration to help envisions the models to understand various aspects of modelling and simulations. Both the teams, iGEM VIT-Vellore and IIT-Delhi, had worked on two shared aspects of dry lab, structural modelling and mathematical modelling. Team IIT-Delhi contributed python scripts for differential modelling and analysis. They assisted in the setup of bioCRNpyler, which is a chemical reaction network modelling library that hasn't been previously used in the iGEM competition! They also provided us with a base code to build upon to model their genetic circuit as a chemical reaction network. In turn, we provided IIT-Delhi valuable insights on simulation software to use for metal-protein docking and helped them in working with AutoDock Vina. This collaboration aimed at understanding the lacunae in modeling that is an integral aspect of determining our enzyme’s activity along with facilitating healthy discussions on molecular dynamic simulations and various other aspects of dry-lab tools.
William and Mary
A research collaboration wherein we supplemented data on soil specifics and iGEM WM yielded the ideal environment of what the soil should be. This was based on dry lab modeling.
Soil is one of the initial mediums of conduit for antibiotics through the food chain. Hence simulating the soil conditions in various environments helped us model our product better and to be suitable for various soil types/environments.
A human practices based collaboration wherein both teams interviewed doctors and gastroenterologists, and different experts to elaborate on the “Underrated Effects of Antibiotic Use”.
The side effects and after effects of antibiotic consumption is fairly unknown. This collaboration of ours brought to focus so many overlooked aspects of antibiotic use from certified experts that helped us target the problem better.
India is primarily an Agricultural country. Every year thousands of tonnes of pesticides are used on fields. This collaboration aims towards spreading awareness regarding the safe use of these pesticides as it is vital for the health of farmers as well their crops. Our team was able to garner important insight into how modern day agricultural practices degrade quality of food crops and how we cam make agricultural practices more sustainable.