center for systems

& synthetic biology

an NIGMS national systems biology center


UCSF iGEM Team Presents Synthetic Biology at the Exploratorium

August 7, 2014

The UCSF iGEM Team presented an exhibit at San Francisco's premier science museum, the Exploratorium, focused on educating the general public about genetic engineering and synthetic biology.

The monthly AfterDark events held at the Exploratorium bring together special exhibits for a single evening centered around a common theme -- typically drawing up to 3000 attendees. The August 7th event was themed "Science Fiction", and using mutations found in superheroes in comic books and movies, the iGEM students were able to draw parallels from pop culture into real science. They dispelled scifi myths, showed examples of real lab genetically-modified yeast strains, and researched several "super genes" found in living organisms. Visitors were encouraged to create their own superheroes through random mutation or by selecting from an array of the "super genes" the students selected, and then were depicted with their new superpowers in caricatures drawn by the students.

This public outreach is one of many activities the students have been working on as part of the iGEM competition. They have made great progress on their research over the last two months and will present their work at the iGEM Jamboree at the end of October.