Team:Purdue/Policy and Practices/Outreach



Christamore House

Policy and Practices determined that youth awareness of technological innovations critically guides the development and ultimate degree of commercial success of these technologies. Thus, the incorporation of youth perspectives of Purdue iGEM’s research project could present Policy and Practices with new paradigms elicited by their research question. In collaboration with Christamore House, a partner located in Indianapolis, Indiana, Policy and Practices created an engineering and synthetic biology curriculum for youth. The curriculum contained both lecture and laboratory portions, and allowed for significant interaction between individual pupils and the instructors, who were members of Purdue iGEM. The excitement and interest demonstrated by the youth participants made clear their positive view of the technologies discussed. The instructors specifically described Purdue iGEM’s research project to the pupils to the same effect, indicating the students’ belief that microbial soil ecology management is a viable option for increasing nutritional content of crops. (To learn more about Christamore House, visit

Minecrobe- based Video Game

Consistent with acknowledgement of youth awareness of a particular technology as critically important in the technology’s long term acceptance and use, Policy and Practices programmed and published a video game directly representative of Purdue iGEM’s research project. This game elucidates various biological principles in an engaging and intuitive manner, especially those relevant to microbial soil ecologies and plant nutrition. In the game, available free for Windows 8 devices in the Windows App Store (see link underneath this paragraph), the player controls a bacterial cell that represents Bacillus subtilis. The player travels through a soil environment, converting nutrients to a form that plants can use. In the process, the player gains health, demonstrating the symbiotic relationship between the bacterial cell and crops growing in the soil. At certain stages of the game, the player can absorb DNA, symbolizing the incorporation of foreign DNA into the bacterial genome. After this absorption, the player converts nutrients more efficiently to provide greater benefits to the crops, similar to Purdue iGEM’s transformed Bacillus strain. Thus, the video game introduces its players to the principles of synthetic biology applied in Purdue iGEM’s project in a natural and informative fashion. Monitoring players’ responses to the game, particularly their questions about the particular mechanisms depicted, provided Policy and Practices with new investigations to be effected regarding the systematic management of microbial soil ecologies.

Link for video game:

Synthetic Biology Based Card Game

A card game created to describe transcription and translation of genetic information was also utilized to this effect. The focus of the game was protein creation from DNA.The game featured specially designed cards with the four bases of DNA as suits, which can be seen in the picture. Biological concepts were incorporated into play, including transcription and translation of codons. The playing cards can also be used to play any other card game that can be played with a standard deck

4H Group In- Lab Day

Another method utilized by Policy and Practices in analyzing their research question involved giving tours of their research facility and the building containing it. Purdue iGEM hosted groups including members of a local 4H chapter in this capacity. These groups received a tour of Purdue iGEM’s research facilities and an overview of the project and were also taken into the lab to do a BioBuilder workshop that taught them about important genetic engineering concepts.