Introducing and educating about synthetic biology in various communities.


We are grateful to be able to communicate and share knowledge with students, residents, and stakeholders through our project and iGEM. We worked with the following objectives:

Cultivating successors to iGEM conceptsRaising public interest in synthetic biologyCultivating youth and public awareness of the risks of cervical cancerAllowing socially marginalized people to experience our projects and providing more opportunitiesInteracting with communities from diverse backgrounds

We believed that it was important to raise awareness of women's diseases among the dangerous diseases facing the world. In particular, we made efforts to spread awareness about the dangers of cervical cancer and the importance of early diagnosis. As the end users of our project could be anyone, we met and spoke to stakeholders from as many backgrounds as possible. Engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, including scientists, residents, feminine product sales experts, students, teachers in elementary education institutions, and consumers, provided valuable insights into the critical issues that must be addressed in the context of cervical cancer diagnosis. We sought to raise awareness of this problem and, at the same time, demonstrate how synthetic biology could solve this problem. We received positive comments about our project from people from a variety of backgrounds. Therefore, we were able to proceed with our research with pride that our project would be helpful to the world.

We tried to provide a variety of scientific experiences to students in underprivileged areas who lack science-related knowledge and experience. We informed students what biology and synthetic biology are and how they can be used to solve various problems facing modern humans. Furthermore, we discussed each other's opinions by coming up with various ideas together. Students were able to gain a broader perspective on synthetic biology and science. In addition, our team had a mutually beneficial time gaining ideas from new perspectives through the students and learning how to develop previous ideas. Young children and high school students have told us that they have become more interested in biology and synthetic biology, and we hope that this experience will help them grow into people who will have a positive influence on the future development of synthetic biology research.


We wanted to share our interest and passion for synthetic biology with exploratory children and young scientists.

We invited teenage students interested in science to teach a microbiology class over the summer. We taught the children what microorganisms are the subject of basic research in biology and what research can be done using microorganisms. In addition, we introduced a method of conducting synthetic biology research using microorganisms. We announced that we could create ‘completely new life forms’ that are different from before through synthetic biology, and this was enough to attract students’ attention.

We also asked students to imagine various types of research they would like to do using microorganisms. We talked about research into solving various problems facing all of humanity today using microorganisms. Students presented various microbial research ideas, including plastic decomposition microorganisms, Alzheimer's treatment microorganisms, cloth decomposition microorganisms, sea oil decomposition microorganisms, and crop production microorganisms.

We had time to research papers together based on the students' opinions. We looked into and discussed with the students whether what they were thinking was being researched, whether there was any prior research, etc.

We explained Gram Plus and Gram Minus bacteria as representative examples of microorganisms and tested them using a simple Gram test stick. The test used a solution and test stick that are harmless to the human body, and latex gloves were worn to prevent contact with the hands.

Students were able to learn more about what microorganisms are and what bacteria are and understand that there are various microorganisms in our lives. We were able to spend time together sharing ideas and discussing scientific research.


Students in Korea's central cities have access to many science experiences and lectures, but it is difficult for students in other cities to have science-related experiences. Therefore, it is very important in Korea to easily deliver science to areas other than the central cities where educational opportunities are unequal.

KUAS visited rural high school students who had difficulty accessing science experiences. We covered a variety of topics.

- Introduction of iGEM: The introduction of iGEM was a good motivation for students who had not been exposed to many scientific activities. We introduced the history of iGEM, the reason for hosting it, the research of the previous iGEM team, and the research of the past KUAS team. Students were aware of the existence of global science competitions and various scientific activities and were able to experience more science by participating in and observing these activities. - Scientist's research approach: We taught students the sequence of scientific research and scientists' research methods as follows: Look for problem situations around you and begin research. Create a hypothesis and plan an experiment with a protocol. Then we find an appropriate research method and conduct experiments. Finally, we draw conclusions based on the results. - Explanation of biology: Explained the basic contents of biology, the history and basic contents of synthetic biology, DBTL of synthetic biology, etc. - Description of cervical cancer risk and early diagnosis: Korean teenage students do not know much about sexual diseases. To prevent cervical cancer, both men and women should be vaccinated starting in their teens. So we let students know about this and how they can get support for the vaccine. Additionally, they were informed that since cervical cancer rarely has early symptoms, it is important to get diagnosed regularly. - Description of the development of cervical cancer diagnostic kit: Additional explanation was provided on the topic of ‘Cervical cancer diagnostic kit development’, a project our team is conducting. Focusing on this, synthetic biology research methods were explained in detail.

Students had time to understand specialized scientific knowledge that they had never encountered before. We wanted to arouse their academic desire so that each person could build their career path in more detail and have a keen scientific imagination.

Students responded that it was beneficial to gain more knowledge about uterine diseases, which are closely related to human life, in addition to biological knowledge.

Through this experience, we were able to feel that education is not only the transmission of knowledge but also inheritance and development. We were happy to have the opportunity to meet scientists who will solve future problems.


- The first topic of discussion is ‘How can we solve various global problems using synthetic biology?’ ° Synthesis of filter microorganisms that can artificially filter out ultrafine plastics. ° Through genetic manipulation of fruit flies, affinity for harmful substances is increased. Therefore, it is possible to determine whether a substance is exposed to hazardous substances. ° Synthesis of microorganisms that produce bioplastics. ° Synthesis of organisms that purify nuclear waste contaminated water. ° Genetically modifying ants to eat and decompose cigarette butts. - The second topic of discussion is ‘How can synthetic biology be used in drug development?’ ° Making a hair loss treatment by synthesizing a drug that strengthens scalp blood vessels ° Synthesis of microorganisms that inhibit cancer growth ° Synthesis of substances that purify the brain damaged by drugs. ° Synthesis of a drug that has a contraceptive effect for a certain period when taken by men

In addition, they gave various opinions. We were amazed by their innovative ideas and creative thinking. We discussed synthetic biology methods and imagined new methods, such as using microorganisms and bacteria, manipulating genes, developing new drugs, etc.

Students responded that they liked being able to approach synthetic biology in an easy and fun way. We tried to convey a variety of content to them, but the students' diverse imaginations gave us a lot of inspiration. We were able to look at problems from a different perspective than before.

We were excited to have an opportunity to engage in serious discussions with our students about synthetic biology and the challenges facing the world.

Moreover, the discussion focused on the attitudes of synthetic biologists was arranged during the school visit program. The session covered the significance and relevance of synthetic biology, encouraging students to engage in imaginative discussions about potential advancements in drug development through synthetic biology. A key emphasis was placed on fostering an ethical mindset among aspiring scientists in this field, underscoring the importance of adhering to societal safety policies given the constantly evolving studies with potential societal impacts.

Microcystin Detection Experience Program in MIDDLE SCHOOL

We wanted to interact with a more diverse range of age groups and topics. For this project, we chose middle school students as our target audience and set the theme as the environment. We brainstormed ways to convey the concepts and applications of synthetic biology to middle school students easily and engagingly. The high school we visited was located near a river, so we wanted to create a program that linked the river and synthetic biology.

We designed a program to detect cyanobacterial toxins in the river. We introduced students to a microcystin detection kit based on synthetic biology methods. As a background, we taught them concepts of synthetic biology, synthetic biology research methods, microcystin, and the global issue of algal blooms.

After the lectures, we took the students to the river for a hands-on experience. We collected samples from different parts of the river, including upstream and downstream. We then spent time using these samples and the kit to detect microcystin. Since the river was well-managed, we did not extract a large amount of microcystin, but the students were able to extract a small amount, especially since it was summer.

The hands-on experience with the kit was enough to capture the students' interest. We provided detailed information about the LFA (Lateral Flow Assay) used in the microcystin detection kit. Since the students were middle schoolers and were not familiar with concepts like antigens and antibodies, they found it challenging to grasp. However, as they were familiar with COVID-19 self-test kits, they felt a connection to the LFA and became interested. We explained LFA to the students and described our research on diagnostic sanitary pads based on it. With their background knowledge, the students naturally became more interested and better understood our project. We discussed together what diseases could be diagnosed using LFAs, and the students showed a keen interest in the topic, leading to enthusiastic discussions.

Through this experience, the students learned that synthetic biology has a close connection to our daily lives and expressed interest in learning about new scientific methods. We felt that by interacting with them, we took one step closer to nurturing future scientists.


As mentioned earlier, in Korea, educational, political, cultural, and environmental opportunities are concentrated in central cities. Because many scientific experiences and opportunities are concentrated in central cities, our team believed that it was very important to provide equal experience opportunities to students outside the central cities.

Therefore, we invited students living outside the central city to the campus. We toured the school campus so that we could experience historical places related to science. We introduced various scientific research to students by informing them of scientific experiments and research achievements conducted in each laboratory.

Afterward, we had time to discuss science topics with students and promote synthetic biology. We were able to inform students about the science of life and history, and by giving them opportunities to experience scientific places, etc., we were able to increase their familiarity with science. We helped them expand their thinking by creating positive perceptions about synthetic biology, iGEM, and our team. Additionally, we talked with students about cervical cancer and women's diseases. Because the young students did not know much about women's diseases, we explained them to them in various ways.

We helped inexperienced students grow further by stimulating their knowledge in various ways. We were asked knowledge questions that students in underprivileged areas generally have difficulty obtaining, and we answered them. They asked us questions about scientific activities in the central region, university entrance exams, career plans, etc. Our team answered all of their questions and was able to deeply understand what knowledge and projects they needed. Our team was able to plan a knowledge transfer program that could be provided to students in underprivileged areas to narrow the gap between central and underprivileged areas.


Since we wanted to develop and showcase this project not only in iGEM but also in the future, it was important to check the feasibility of our project. Our team contacted and discussed with many experts to produce ‘diagnostic sanitary pads’ as the final product of our research. We were able to meet with women's business experts and hear their feedback on the sanitary pads we were developing, and we received positive feedback about distributing the sanitary pads after development.

According to experts, it was important to make people more aware of the importance of our sanitary pads. Experts said we need to raise awareness by providing people with information about cervical cancer. In particular, they advised to focus on the following points:

- Cervical cancer is destroying women’s health. - If cervical cancer is diagnosed early, the fatality rate can be greatly reduced. - Anyone can be infected with the virus through just one sexual intercourse.

We learned that it is important to inform more people about this and those who need these sanitary pads in the form of an awareness campaign.

Experts gave a lot of praise to the idea of 'sanitary pads that can simply and easily diagnose cervical cancer on your own.' Since there is currently no such easy and convenient diagnostic method in Korea or other countries, it was thought that if this sanitary pad were developed, it would be helpful to women in many countries.

Experts opined that the research and development of diagnostic sanitary pads should ensure that they represent both consumer and government positions and attract consumers' attention, we must present that 'the incidence of cervical cancer among people in their 20s and 30s in Korea has recently been rapidly increasing. In order to attract the government's attention, it is important to mention the 'problem of Korea's low birth rate' and sufficiently present the justification that women in their 20s and 30s of childbearing age should not develop cervical cancer. It taught me that it is important to sufficiently present the information.

In Korea, people in their 40s are given many opportunities and support for health checkups, but those in their 10s to 30s do not have many opportunities for detailed health checkups. Accordingly, it was found that the detection of cervical cancer in young people is becoming more difficult and the need for early diagnosis is increasing.

The expert said that for our team's sanitary pads to help more people and to distribute sanitary pads to more people, we need to resolve issues such as cost. Therefore, we distributed an online questionnaire based on expert opinions and tried to obtain responses from as many stakeholders as possible.

We were able to get more feedback. The target of our diagnostic sanitary pads needs to be expanded to include not only women of childbearing age but also postmenopausal women and adolescents. Additionally, there is a need to devise various forms of inserting biosensors to absorb even consumers who do not use sanitary pads.


We wanted to meet and interact with more stakeholders and potential end users. We gave a lecture to university students who were interested in synthetic biology and women's diseases. We explained to them our research, iGEM, and synthetic biology. Afterward, we were able to receive feedback on our research. They gave the following feedback:

- “It is a really good idea to diagnose cervical cancer using sanitary pads, which we always use in our lives.” - “We want to purchase and use your diagnostic sanitary pad if it comes out.” - “I think it would be a good idea to set the selling price of your sanitary pads at a low price.” - “I think it would be a good idea to think about where to sell the sanitary pads you make.” - “It would be better not to sell it, but to distribute it as a donation to the socially disadvantaged.” - “I think it would be good if your team worked with the government to run a project to support women with your products.”

Although it was a short discussion time, they were able to give feedback and share opinions on our project through the eyes of students and members of society. Thanks to their realistic feedback, we were able to start thinking specifically about how to make the project a reality. They expressed their desire to use this sanitary pad regularly in their daily lives and expressed their opinion that if this product were to be realized, it would be good to provide it to underprivileged countries, regions, and women so that they can receive a diagnosis at a low cost. The students' positive opinions allowed us to think about how to return our team's research results to society.


We introduced our team's project and synthetic biology to residents who were interested in our research. Meetings with residents were held several times both offline and online. Residents gave the following feedback:

- “It is difficult for the public to know about cervical cancer, and it is difficult to recognize the disease in the early stages.” - “Therefore, I think it is a really good idea to conduct a project on the topic of cervical cancer at KUAS.” - “I am concerned about the safety of your sanitary pads.” - “I wonder if the sanitary pads you made can be used on skin.” - “If you make it, it would be good to have it verified as safe and promote it more.”

Residents were concerned about the safety of sanitary pads, and our team gathered these opinions and devised a way to make diagnosis safer. Therefore, we were able to direct our research towards removing special solutions and bacteria that may be unpleasant to the public from sanitary pads.

Residents wanted more publicity about the study among their neighbors. We were able to make concrete plans on how to further promote our products if our research were realized. In addition, because safety issues were pointed out with our sanitary pads, we plan to promote the safety of our products by further improving them. Feedback from residents encouraged our team to promote more. We put up promotional posters on campus to promote not only the product, but also the research itself and the risk of cervical cancer, and conducted a campaign to inform various people.


 - Seminar in the lab We had the opportunity to hold several seminars and receive feedback on our research in the laboratory of the Department of Biotechnology at Korea University. It was an opportunity to continuously inform and communicate our research with professional researchers and scientists. Through several seminars, we were able to learn how to express important parts of a project concisely and accurately. I began to think more about synthetic biology methods and was able to learn a lot about the legitimacy of this project, its progress, biological mechanisms, research development, scientific results, and conclusions. Through these experiences, we learned a lot about how scientists communicate, how to present scientific research, and how to answer scientific questions. We had a lot of fun with the presentation and were able to develop our activities through various trials and errors and feedback.



  Scientific popularization We also consider scientific communication with people on social media to be important. I thought it was important to carry out science popularization activities among random and diverse people. By popularizing science, we have been able to make ourselves known to people all over the world. Therefore, we regularly posted our team's projects. In addition, card news related to safety issues in scientific experiments, risks of cervical cancer, early diagnosis methods for cervical cancer, scientific research methods, project quizzes, etc. were presented. To encourage diverse thinking and discussion among social media people, posts on a variety of topics were posted regularly. A variety of people expressed interest in the card news, and people were able to access synthetic biology content more easily and simply. We were also able to receive surveys through social media. Through surveys and other surveys, we received very supportive comments from people from a variety of backgrounds, which brought positive energy to our team.


We wanted to numerically determine how much the public understands about cervical cancer and how to prevent and treat cervical cancer. - Therefore, we created an online questionnaire and distributed it to various stakeholders, including business experts, scientists female scientists, welfare agency officials, religious agency officials, residents, young women, college students, high school students, etc. We ultimately received 211 responses.

Many people are afraid of cervical cancer, but they are unaware of the issues related to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

These results made us realize that we needed to educate others about the risks of cervical cancer and the importance of early diagnosis, and this realization led our team to put more emphasis on social media promotions and campaigns.

If diagnostic sanitary pads are developed and commercialized, cost must be considered when distributing or selling them to ensure easy use by everyone. We didn't want to expand our diagnostic sanitary pad business, but we wanted to make it available to more people and make it easy and convenient to purchase and use. Additionally, we wanted to collaborate with government agencies and various welfare organizations to distribute diagnostic sanitary pads. Therefore, I wanted to know the price range that would not be a burden on all stakeholders.

We survey to see what price range it should be so that more people can use it. We created a questionnaire considering research costs, production costs, and market prices.

According to survey statistics, 64.45% of respondents wanted to set the individual price of diagnostic sanitary pads at 5,000 to 6,000 won. As a result, the average fair price was set at 6,194 won, and the average maximum price was set at 6,991 won. Through this survey, we were able to search while considering various aspects such as economics, time, and research and development.