As part of their summer project, the 2013 UCSF iGEM team participated in several outreach events geared toward educating their peers and the public about synthetic biology and how it pertains to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
During the Spring semester, the team ran a day-long workshop with peers at Abraham Lincoln High School, teaching them to use lab techniques to identify GMOs in common, everyday foods. The lab component was paired with a lecture as well as a pre- and post-learning survey to assess students' learning and attitudes about GMOs before and after their lab activity.
In September, the team was invited to present at the San Francisco Exploratorium's After Dark event under the theme of "Transformations". This event is attended by several thousand adults of diverse backgrounds, and the team prepared informational "elevator talks" to introduce them to concepts like the Central Dogma and basic synthetic biology techniques like bacterial transformation. They also prepared a multimedia presentation and informational bookmarks to hand out, and even showed bacteria transformed with genes encoding fluorescent proteins!
All of the materials from these events have been made available here for download for anyone to use at similar events or in classrooms. We encourage you to contact us if you would like help in developing them for your own needs:
Outreach Event at SF Exploratorium
Outreach at Lincoln High School