We welcomed the task of communicating our project and spreading awareness on iGEM with open arms. We felt like issues around methylmercury are not known well enough and we sought to make the public more aware of the scale of the problem. The discussions we had with the professionals of the field as well as the people who face these problems in their everyday life made us understand more and more how important communication actually is. This is a problem that we have a possible solution for and it deserves to be seen and heard.

On top of communicating on our project we loved to share the knowledge we have on synthetic biology and iGEM in general. We made a post series explaining some of the terms used in synthetic biology, went to give multiple presentations and visited fairs with different crowds to make sure that we reached as many people as we could. And we did all of it with joy. Our team truly shows versatileness on the different types of events and audiences we reached. Our main goal with this was just to make everyone aware of what synthetic biology is and how widely it can be used to solve today’s and the future’s problems.

Keeping these goals and ideas in mind, we planned and implemented all of our communication. Our communication included creating a website, contacting media for publications, using multiple forms of social media, taking part in events like Study in Turku and Science Basement, ordering team clothes and making info for the general public.


Continuing the tradition from previous years, we used our website in addition to the wiki page (Leg. 1). We found it easier to communicate about our project to the non-scientific community through that. We also used the website to collect sponsor logos and information about former ABOA teams on the same page. We made a point to write all the information on the website as clearly and popularly as possible so that people, regardless of scientific background knowledge, can understand it. That included the general public as well as future collaborators and sponsors. We also created a separate page for our partners to emphasize the significance of their sponsoring.

Legend 1. Our website.

Media publications

We committed to educating all groups of people on synthetic biology. To succeed in it, we used multiple media to reach everyone. In our social media, the audience tends to be younger. To better share information with the older population, we contacted newspapers like Helsingin Sanomat and Turun Sanomat, both of which published articles about our project. Helsingin Sanomat is the largest subscription newspaper in Finland. The news article about our project was freely available on their app and webpage. Turun Sanomat is the largest local newspaper. The news article on Turun Sanomat was also freely available on their webpage and app. In those articles, we shared education on ABOA, iGEM, synthetic biology and more. Legend 2 shows these articles. University of Turku made several media publications about us which woke the interest of smaller newspapers (Aamuset, Yrittäjä Magazine) and they released articles about us as well. Also one of our team members, social sciences student Henry-Paul Ontto-Panula was interviewed and the Faculty of Social Sciences in University of Turku made an article about the interview.

Legend 2. News articles in Helsingin Sanomat and Turun Sanomat about us.

Social media channels

We used four social media channels, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and LinkedIn in slightly different ways to benefit our project and to reach different audiences. The most active one was Instagram since we found it easiest to use and most used in all age groups and our target audience.


We found Instagram the easiest and most beneficial social media platform to us. Via Instagram we were able to reach a wide audience of our over 900 followers and thousands of more accounts. We created different posts, some just about what we had been up to, and others targeted to different people. That way we were able to make sure our content serves purpose to multiple different audience groups. We put a little more thought into creating posts than stories. We made the stories more approachable by creating them with a bit less serious touch. That way new students who will apply next year will have a little less polished look on what it means to be a team. The reels were made to support the goals we had with posts and stories.

We really liked and appreciated our last year’s team’s instagram posts and their aims for instagram. Because of that we were inspired to have the same goals for our posts. Our aims for Instagram were to educate, communicate, promote and share the team spirit . Those guided our use of Instagram through the whole project.

Education & Communication: We thought Instagram was the easiest platform to use with the widest reach for educational and communication posts. For education, we decided to go with a post series called Synthetic Biology with ABOA. In the series, we introduced things regarding synthetic biology and our project with simple terms. The posts were about synthetic biology, plasmids and vectors, restriction enzymes synechocystis, heavy metals and bioremediation. You can see the cover photos in Legend 3. You can read the whole posts on the education part of our wiki. In addition to the series, we made posts about important days like The Baltic Sea Day and shared information about the news. An example of these would be the EU ending the use of mercury in lamps.

In addition to posts, we shared educational Instagram stories and reels. In the stories, we celebrated national holidays and other traditions, shared collabs from other iGEM teams’ Instagrams and shared some moments from our journey. In the reels, we shared some of our team members' days and other stuff from TikTok, making the audience that saw them larger.

Legend 3. Our educational posts about synthetic biology, plasmids and vectors, restriction enzymes synechocystis, heavy metals and bioremediation.

Legend 4. An overview of our Instagram posts.

Promotion: Instagram was also used for our sponsorships and partner posts. Having a great number of followers on Instagram, we were able to use it to convince our sponsors about our significance in this field. Our page reaches people across the world, many of whom are highly educated young scientists, so the platform is a great advertisement for many companies and other partners.

Sharing the team spirit: We have managed to build an amazing team and wanted to share our spirit with the world. We did this through "The day in the Life of a team member” videos and stories about what we have been up to.

We did not have pay too much attention to follower counts and activity on our profile since we mainly wanted to focus on Instagram being somewhat casual and not guided by likes and followers but by our goals. However, this still worked. We started with approximately 850 followers, and now that it is September, we have overrun 900 followers. Our fundraising reel achieved the biggest audience, with almost 2k views. Some of our other reels also have similar audiences, and even if we did not have a big blow up we were able to reach people well.


Facebook we used less regularly since the audience we have there is not as large as in instagram. On top of that most of the people who follow us on Facebook are also able to reach us on Instagram. We also considered our audience over Facebook to be in general older than on Instagram. We considered that when making Facebook posts and made them a bit more formal even though the content published on Facebook was also published on Instagram. Facebook was used less and did not have the same goals as Instagram, but we did publish our main achievements and announcements there as well.


None of us was really familiar with TikTok as a creator but in the end we found that more intriguing than discouraging. We wanted to use TikTok actively since it is nowadays quite popular, especially among young people. TikTok was used mainly for the same purposes as Instagram, but with a more relaxed touch. Our videos on TikTok included collabs with other teams, my days, promotional videos and memes (Leg. 5). We mainly tried to have fun with the app, since we have noticed that those kinds of videos do well in TikTok and that way they reach a bigger audience of youngsters that may be interested in synthetic biology, iGEM and ABOA.

On TikTok we were able to gain dozens of followers and many of our videos were played about a thousand times!

Legend 5. An overview of our TikTok videos.


Team ABOA used LinkedIn as a more professional platform to promote our project and help with funding. On LinkedIn we shared our important achievements and milestones, articles about us, informational posts on our subject, and fundraising advertisements. That way people there were also able to follow our journey! On top of that we used LinkedIn to connect with specialists and new possible partners.

Study in Turku

In the autumn, we took part in the Study in Turku fair. Study in Turku is an annually arranged fair for the new students in Turku. This event is a great way to reach new bachelor's and master's students. The event aims to introduce student organizations, hobby opportunities, and other city services to new students. Our goal for the event was to promote ABOA and spread awareness of the competition. We were happy to notice that many people got interested in applying for future ABOA teams. On top of that, we were able to educate people on synthetic biology and science in general.

We had one workshop for pipetting at the fair. That way students from other disciplines got to try out and maybe get interested in iGEM, ABOA, laboratory work and scientific career opportunities. Another way we promoted these same things was a slideshow we had about everything we had already done. Other than that, we sold our merch and collected names of people interested in our laboratory workshops coming later this year. We were able to promote both the laboratory workshops and our team well, and many people found these interesting! To aid in contacting us, we delivered flyers that contained all relevant information about iGEM and ABOA. You can see pictures of the fair in Legend 6.

Legend 6. Our workshop and ABOA team members in the Study in Turku fair as exhibitors.

Science Basement

We had a presentation for the Afternoon in the Science Basement talk series with the Aalto-Helsinki team. The audience was mainly scientists who had just started their careers. Our presentation included information about synthetic biology, iGEM and our project topics. We had a meeting with Aalto-Helsinki before the actual talk. In this meeting via Zoom, we wanted to go over our joined presentation. On top of that, we had an indispensable opportunity to have a training session for presenting by The Science Basement. This training session and the actual presentation gave us valuable experience in making presentations more engaging and insightful.

Legend 7. Ami, Ida and Sara in Science Basement.

Team clothes

From the start, it was clear that our team wanted to express unity through team clothes. Luckily one of our schools, Turku University of Applied Sciences, was willing to sponsor our t-shirts with the three university logos we are from University of Turku, Åbo Akademi and Turku University of Applied Sciences. Originally we dreamt of more team clothes, for example, hoodies, but being passionate about sustainability, we went against it. Another way we took care of sustainability in team clothes is using Neutral shirts. That means that for example the shirts are made of organic cotton, they have EU’s ecolabel and they are fairtrade. Regarding communication, we used the t-shirts to represent ABOA in different events and to influence others to become more interested in and learn more about ABOA. Our goal was to make more people aware of ABOA so people could apply for our future teams and contact us regarding our project if interested. You can see our team clothes in Legend 7.

Legend 8. Our team clothes with the sponsor logos.

Study credits

We are in the middle of building a strong iGEM culture in Turku. ABOA is quite a new team. Even so, some of our universities are partaking in it for the first time! Thus the work on educating the universities on what iGEM and ABOA continue. Thanks to the ABOA 2021 and 2022 teams, this year's team members can now get 1-10 study credits from this project. In addition, our animator is doing his practical work for our team. Since our team does not get any money from participating in iGEM, this is a great way to motivate people and make their work more rewarding. We hope the positive trend continues, and maybe future ABOA team members can be paid for their work!

Leaflet on cyanobacteria and biosafety with Edinburgh iGEM team

To spread the knowledge on synthetic biology we made a brief summary leaflet about cyanobacteria in general and biosafety with Edinburgh iGEM team. The leaflet is called Photosynthetic microbes in biotechnology. The aim of the leaflet was to talk about cyanobacteria, explain terms regarding genetic engineer, have a brief summary about legislation and to show how safety is considered when working with GMOs in general and in our projects. We made the leaflet and advertised it in collaboration. You can find the leaflet here.