Team:Toronto/Human Practices


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Human Practices

This year, the Toronto iGEM team partnered with UTACCEL to bring synthetic biology to high school students in China! We designed a six-hour course entitled "Adventures in Biotechnology" which was delivered to two dozen high school students over the course of a 10-day academic conference. Our goals were threefold:

1. Spread the word about synthetic biology. 2. Experience a different perspective on the demand for energy. 3. Have fun!


University of Toronto Association for Canada-China Exchange of Leadership (UTACCEL) is an officially recognized student group at the University of Toronto. The organization’s goal is to develop programs that facilitate cultural and knowledge exchange between students in Canada and China. One of their main programs is an annual academic conference in China. Through an intensive interview process, UTACCEL recruits Seminar Leaders from the University of Toronto student body. Seminar Leaders design seminars courses and deliver them to Chinese students during a 10-day conference. Seminar Leaders and delegates also interact with each other in various other ways such as workshops, team competitions and social activities. This year's conference was held at Huamei International High School in Guangzhou, China from July 24th to Aug 2nd.

Adventures in Biotechnology - Course Description

The course introduces key concepts in biology which will be used as a basis to explore current topics in bioinformatics, systems biology and synthetic biology. High throughput science is generating data at an ever increasing rate and computers and software tools are now allowing us to better interpret this data. Our understanding of biological systems has matured. We no longer think of cells as largely random collections of ‘ugly bags of mostly water’. Rather, life is now understood to consist of complex, integrated systems of circuits and components. Our ability to understand complex systems coincides with extraordinary technologies which now allow us to not only read the genetic code but actually write it. This opens up enormous possibilities in biotechnology. The question is, what will we do with this power?