We thought that Human Practice means Social Responsibility we should fulfill as researchers and practiced the following projects. Our main purposes of them are a public relation (publication of our research and activity between researchers) and education for juniors (succession planning).
Specifically, we, team UT-Tokyo2010, accomplished these projects:
・Lecture presentation for high school students
・Made an open source version of our research
・Submitted the story of iGEM to a little magazine for young researchers
・Hosted iGEM Summer Meetup (Japan, Kanto region)
・Collected general ideas about synthetic biology from a large number of questionnaires, in cooperation with team Japan,
・Made a poster presentation in ‘BioExpo’ , a big exhibition in which most of bioscience companies meet, and increased the publicity of iGEM
The UT-Tokyo team held a science cafe in the university festival—May Festival(Gogatsu-sai) during May 29th and 30th ,2010.
Usually lots of the visitors who are not related to the university come to the May Festival, and so do people who seem not really interested in synthetic biology at all gather.
By holding the science café, we obtained a chance to discuss with unprofessional people deliberately and face to face. Some students major in biology, while most are not interested in it before coming. We have received various influences from them while affecting them a lot at the same time.
We cooperated with other teams in Japan (TMU, Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo-tech) for holding this cience café, and this also led to make an opportunity to strengthen collaboration between teams in Japan.
What we have done in the science café is as followｓ：
・conversations with iGEM members Visitors can talk with iGEM members freely within a group of three or four person.
・the exhibition of posters which were used during the iGEM Jamboree last year and the ones which were newly made for the science café
・taking an attitude survey (descriptive survey) towards biotechnology
Free talking（with free drink）
UT-Tokyo and TMU are mainly responsible for this part. There were always about ten members standing by in the room, introducing iGEM and projects belonging to teams 2009. Introducing iGEM is connected to adding frank opinions from the perspective of ordinary people to our activity, and we are convinced that it will also help enhance the popularity of iGEM convention.
Especially, because the UT-Tokyo team has the feature ”the belonging members are extending over various faculties”,various stories were able to be told from biology to the stories of chemistry, physics, general science and ethics. Moreover, thanks to the free talk, it was possible to talk flexibly according to what listeners would like to hear, while visitors were able to have a satisfied conversation with iGEM members(longer ones were over hours).
We have talked to about 300 people during two days, and have truly felt the science café really meaningful.
Besides free talk, we prepared many other posters and exhibits about iGEM for the visitors.
Contents of the posters:
・the introduction and concept of Bio Brick
・introduction of iGEM teams in Japan
・posters about projects belonging to Todai-Tokyo(team of the university of Tokyo for iGEM 2009) (two pieces)
・introduction and plan description for projects of iGEM UT-Tokyo team 2010
・poster for Jamboree Poster session of iGEM Kyoto team 2009
・Human genome map
Besides, various collections ,such as follows, which come from our team members were exhibited.
・encyclopedia summarizing structures of the prominent proteins
・photo collections including fungus
・pictures of brains of various creatures
Holding a seminar for students attracted to synthetic biology
We held a seminar for high school students and 35 students attended.
In this seminar, many people had got interested in molecular biology. Moreover, more than 10 students told us they had got attracted to synthetic biology and especially in iGEM. This means the seminar was successfully contributed to future iGEM participant.
The seminar was held on 30th July 2010 at a private school, SEG (Scientific Education Group), which is one of our sponsors. This was led by Ryo Taniuchi and Ryo Kariyazono, members of UT-Tokyo team.
We made a lecture of 4 hours on molecular biology and synthetic biology. For students to easily understand, we effectively utilized visual materials, for example CGs that was broadcasted by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). We also had a discussion time with students. It was an exciting seminar.
The contents of the lecture are below:
・About GFP ( its contributions to biology by visualizing molecules and cells. Hot topic of 2008 Nobel Prize )
・basics of molecular cell biology (about DNA, the central dogma, etc)
・an introduction to Synthetic Biology
Open-source project of Our Research
In addition to the iGEM official Wiki, we built an official Website in Japanese. This is caused by an idea, open-source of our experiments. We assure you that this leads to scientific development by abandoning intellectual property rights as possible and offering information quickly to many researchers.
This weblog carries possible every contents on our experimental notebooks. This open-source enabled us to deepen exchange between internal and other teams and have information in common. Besides, we became be able to search quickly past experiments and take part in an active discussion on the web.
Writing and Handing out the Journal for Young Researchers
With Tokyo-Metropolitan,We write articles on iGEM in the journal “in-cube", which is published by Leaveanest, a sponsor for UT-Tokyo and hand out them to students. This journal is the free paper for many people; undergraduate, graduate students, and young researchers. We placed the introduction of iGEM and outlines of internal teams’ projects here. To carry these timely articles in this journal will lead to raising our profiles, and we expect a lot of outstanding students to join us in the near future.(We’ll continue these activities.)
Summer Meetup at Kyoto （Japan Meetup in Kyoto）
On 18th August 2010, teams in Japan gathered together in “Summer meetup”. This year, the meeting was took place at Kyoto University (Hosted by team Kyoto), as last year University of Tokyo (UT-Tokyo（2010）/Todai-Tokyo(2009)) had been the host and meeting place.
The aim of this meetup was to cultivate ideas with other teams and to enhance friendship with them. Each team was supposed to give a presentation on their projects followed by a mutual discussion with other teams. 5 teams attended to make presentations (Kyoto、UT-Tokyo、Tokyo-Metropolitan、Osaka、KIT-Kyoto), and 1 team, Tokyo-tech, delegated an observer.
UT-Tokyo team made a presentation on two of our three projects : “Sudoku” project and “fundamental cure of allergy“ project. Especially on Sudoku, our main project, active discussion was heated with many questions and suggestions from other teams.
After the presentation meeting, we had a social party and made the bond with between teams tight.
Meetup at Tokyo institute of Techonology (Team Meetup in Tokyo)
In addition to meet up at Kyoto, meetup for Tokyo area team was held led by UT-Tokyo. This was because only a few teams in eastern Japan had attended the meetup on 18th August above, because of long distance to Kyoto.
This time, we gathered at Suzukakedai Campus of Tokyo Institute of Technology on 23rd August. All 5 teams in Tokyo area (UT-Tokyo, Chiba, Tokyo-tech, TMU, Tokyo-NoKoGen) attended, owing to close combination between teams and strong concern for project of UT-Tokyo.
In this meeting, the aim of our team was to have a direct discussion and to get familiar with Prof. Daisuke Kiga, the instructor of Tokyo-tech team and most leading synthetic biologist in Japan.
At first in the meeting, attendants were divided in four small groups, in which members from each team explained their projects and discussed together. Moreover, on the very day, two members of iGEM2009 Cambridge (Caitlin Cockerton et al.) visited to meet Prof. Kiga to make a research on the relationship between biotechnology and industry. We had a talk with them about jamboree last year and cultural difference between England and Japan.
After small group discussion, UT-Tokyo team made a full presentation, with requests from other teams and Prof. KIga. This was benefit for both sides, as other teams had long been interested in our Sudoku project. After the presentation, fortunately, Prof. Kiga gave us various advices. An impressive his comment: “I’d be willing to go over to UT-Tokyo from Tokyo-Tech immediately if I could”. It may just be a complement, but at least we got some confidence about our project.
Questionnaires (May festival/iGEM Japan)
Team iGEM Kyoto suggested "Human Practice iGEM Japan" project to team iGEM UT-Tokyo and the other iGEM teams in Japan.We , team Tokyo decided to conduct a joint survey. In Japan, it is said that most people are negative for genetic modification, especially for genetically modified food. Therefore, we made the survey to investigate the actual condition. The five Japan teams were participated in this project aggregating a number of surveys to obtain statistical data.
We discussed the contents of the questionnaire through Skype meeting. However, the contents of the questionnaire, a concrete plan remained undecided. Therefore, we, team UT-Tokyo proposed to conduct a survey in the lastest university festival. The questionnaire has many descriptive questions with extensive amount of information.
We later examined the contents of the questionnaire and accumulate lots of important information.
During the discussion towards the contents, we came to aware many unpredicted problems, such as the survey time, the number of the questions, the way to aggregate the statistical data, the image of genetic modification by the examinee could make a difference in the result. By making a improvement towards the problems above, for example, we made another questionnaire with multiple-choice questions, and then obtained a lager achievement on the number of the questionnaires received.
We, team UT-Tokyo have been trying to achieve a new value by examining the results of the two survey above (the one with descriptive questions and the one with multiple-choice questions), and that is the certainty from the voice of the examinees and the over 1,500 respondents to the descriptive questions. Other teams in Japan have truncated the results obtained in the university festival ( we call it the May Festival), we team UT-Tokyo aggregated the statistic data.
iGEM has not been known to many people in Japan yet. Our team, UT-Tokyo participated in BIO EXPO JAPAN with TMU during June 30-July 2 2010.
BIO EXPO JAPAN is Japan’s largest bio event, held at Tokyo International Exhibition Center. We discussed the present state of biotechnology with more than 230 exhibitors and advertised iGEM. At first, there were no people who had hear iGEM, but visitors showed an interest in iGEM after we talk with us. They gave us a lot of helpful advices and told us the field of development. Also, we formed strong personal relationships with exhibitors.
However, it was unlucky that in depression, most exhibitors did not offer to “invest” in our team although they were interested in iGEM. Fund-raising for the project of iGEM is one of the challenges In future. In Japan, companies are unwilling to invest in undergraduates, on the other hand, in America, the situation is quite different. So we Japan teams will challenge to change the state.
Team UT-Tokyo and other teams in Japan will continue such activities after Jamboree. In addition, we will keep the heat on, in order to help raise the profile of iGEM, synthetic biology and BioBrick and establish the support system for junior members. Then, because only 9 teams participate even this year, we would like to make the system that enable far more teams to join freely.
Furthermore, our much bigger goal is to lead Japanese educational organization, government or companies to establish some support system for young researchers including undergraduate students. A few Japanese universities allow undergraduate students (in spite of 4th-year-students) to research on novel thesis by themselves. Researchers in Japan are likely to educate only juniors of their laboratories, feeling obligated. Our continuous activities would promote developing outstanding researchers, especially young ones, in Japan.
As well, we will participate the following events for the other two months of 2010.
・To make a presentation in Japanese Society for Cell Synthesis Research, that is a conference of synthetic biology led by Prof. Kiga, the instructor of Tokyo-tech team, and so on. (UT-Tokyo, TMU)
・To continue writing up in ‘in-cube’ that is a little magazine for young researchers told in the above. (UT-Tokyo, TMU)
・To give a lecture in Science agora and Leaveanest exposition of experiment demonstration, whose targets are high school and younger students .
We also achieved some projects that collaborated on with teams in Japan. Each team in Japan discusses with other teams regularly and actively, using Skype and Wiki on the Web. These collaborations enabled every team to share information of all teams in Japan and activate one another.
The concrete projects are these following things:
・Submitted a story to a magazine for young researchers (in-cube)
Particularly UT-Tokyo and TMU wrote up the story, but 7 teams in Japan completed it.
・iGEM Summer Meetup in Japan (in Kyoto)
6 teams in Japan met in Kyoto University in order to practice presentation in English.
・iGEM Summer Meetup in Tokyo
UT-Tokyo asked Tokyo-Tech for cooperation to hold it. 5 teams near Tokyo met there. We hosted it for the purpose of the activity with teams that could not join the above.
5 teams in Japan, mainly Kyoto University, worked it. (In part, UT-Tokyo did by itself.) The purpose is to find statistically the relationship between an image of biology and one’s background, collecting answers from lots of people.
・Made a poster presentation in BioEXPO
UT-Tokyo and TMU made a poster presentation together in the exhibition for bioscience companies and laboratories. (Osaka University helped partly.)
Our whole project is executed only in laboratory. Especially, the assay of MS2 virus is done only in clean bench.
The parts we used including MS2 phage don't raise any issues because MS2 virus is not infectious to human or have toxicity. MS2 virus is infectious to E.coli but there is a lot of E.coli infected by MS2 virus outside laboratory and the function of our E.coli is not hazardous if one or several bioparts change their function or stop working as intended.
We have concluded that the method of containment the applicant implemented fulfills the safety requirements we have set forth. The applicant possesses the ability to practice laboratory safety, and the relevant equipment abides to Japanese law.