Human Practices



Our human practices journey began with surveying stakeholders of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)- caregivers, researchers, physicians and patients. The two main takeaways from these interactions were the lack of funding and research into neurodegenerative diseases since the pandemic. Our second conclusion was the lack of caregiver support and resources provided by the American medical infrastructure.

Our human practices effort is a neuroethical report outlining the ethics of genetic engineering and our project. Our integrated human practices effort is an app that consolidates patient data and routines while remaining HIPAA compliant.

Sustainable Development Goals tackled

Our overall project tackles six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3) -

    Developing a pre-emptive therapeutic to treat AD could help promote healthy lives and well-being. The focus on holistic well being to prevent neurodegenerative diseases supports this goal.

  • Quality Education (SDG 4) -

    Our education drive, ‘Synthetic Biology in Space’ encourages high school students to look into STEM drive careers with a hands-on lab collaboration with minipcr. These sessions are available on Youtube.

  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9) -

    Using innovative approaches like synthetic biology, quantum machine learning (QML), and mobile apps builds technological capabilities and infrastructure. The QML algorithm is available open source via GitLab.

  • Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10) -

    The integrated app improves access to patient data and medical records, reducing inequalities in Alzheimer's care.

  • Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12) -

    Engineering a probiotic therapeutic promotes responsible production and raises awareness about neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17) -

    Collaboration between engineers, social scientists, patients, and clinicians in this project strengthens partnerships to achieve the goals.

SDG goals

Neuroethics Report: Examining the Ethics of Genetic Engineering

Team NCSU has authored an extensive neuroethics report analyzing the ethical implications of using gene editing to treat neurodegenerative diseases. The report provides a nuanced exploration of topics like germline vs. somatic gene editing and the potential risks and benefits of technologies like CRISPR. It thoughtfully weighs concerns about "playing God" against the potential to alleviate human suffering from diseases like Alzheimer's. Connecting with medical experts, the report provides an ethical framework for using tools like synthetic biology responsibly.

This builds upon and is an update to the 2013 UCL iGEM report, ‘Spotless Mind.’ It has been peer reviewed by experts in the field. This supports SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing) by considering both scientific advancement and bioethics.

Read the report here!

Integrated Mobile App to Improve Alzheimer's Care

Through surveys of patients, caregivers, and medical professionals, the team identified fragmentation of health data as a major challenge in Alzheimer's care. In response, we developed a mobile app to integrate patient health records and connect care teams. The app centralizes medical data and makes it easily shareable between providers with the tap of an NFC card.

To make patient care resources more accessible globally, we created and translated educational materials on Alzheimer's. Our "Forget-Me-Not" journal helps patients record memories and routines to support their care. By providing these free materials in Spanish, Tamil, and Hindi, Team NCSU promotes SDG 4 (Quality Education) through knowledge sharing that transcends language barriers.

Find the journal here!

Translation- Tamil!

Translation- Spanish!

By streamlining data and care coordination, the app aims to improve treatment outcomes and reduce the burden on caregivers. This app exemplifies the team's commitment to SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities) by improving accessibility and equity in healthcare.

Educational Outreach on AD and Synthetic Biology

Team NCSU initiated educational posts on the social media channels to educate audiences about the microbiome and the Mild Cognitive impairment stage. We participated in the End Alzheimer’s walk 2023.

Additionally, we hosted an Educational series, ‘Synthetic Biology in Space’ in collaboration with Genes in Space and minipcr. This event aligns with SDG 4 (Quality Education) by providing an accessible learning experience that sparks students' interest in pursuing science careers. By cultivating young scientific talent and demonstrating synthetic biology's potential, it helps build a foundation for the next generation of responsible, ethical researchers.