Genetic and biotechnology have always fascinated me. They offer many advantages for agriculture, the food industry and medicine that could be useful. And now there is synthetic biology, a scientific discipline that has even more potential! Simply amazing! It has to be experienced to be believed that simply by replacing one amino acid with an enzyme can do so much. I think the most exciting are the experiments with the new enzyme. It requires a lot of creativity. Factors such as temperature, ph-balance and many other conditions result in a wide spectrum of tests, but we never run out of ideas. It is exciting up until the very end. Only then will it be clear if the “improved” enzyme will have eventual uses. I am sure that synthetic biology will play an important role in the future. Science never sleeps!
This is my first time participating in a GBT project and I am really excited! Before this, I never thought that so much work could be this much fun. The cooperation with the researchers at MBI – Birgit and Miche – was the best part. They gave detailed answers to our many questions that even we pupils could understand. Another point: our ideas were always welcome and always taken seriously. We were allowed to plan our own experiments and to carry them out as well, which made the whole thing that much more exciting. The importance of critique was never forgotten, and we also spoke of any possible risks. In my opinion, this is especially important, since everything needs to be looked at from more than one perspective. All in all, a super interesting, well organized project!
"Synthetic Biology". The name itself fascinates me, as it is almost a contradiction in and of itself. As the thrown-together group of pupils from four different classes threw themselves into their work so much that they got our partners at the Max-Planck-Institute Martinsried sweating we kept on wanting more: Producing a synthetic catalase, and then amylase, and then do something to protect the climate, encouraging new laws, discussing security questions and much more. An amazing dynamic came to be. Everyone brought their own strengths, everyone fought when time got short. People worked over the holidays, on Sundays and into the night. A true team that wanted to avoid being connected with Frankenstein, because: anyone who says such things has not understood synthetic biology or recognized the value of our work.
I have only been thinking about synthetic biology since I found out we were going to have it as our topic for our project this year.
I checked it out a little in the internet and was fascinated by all the possibilities. I didn’t realize there was so much more to find out about synthetics
biology, but the more I worked on our project, the more convinced I was/am about synthetic biology. Imagine being able to change the external demands and
transformational force of industrial enzymes at will.
How much money could be saved? Whole industrial tasks could be eliminated to save energy, which is better for the environment.
We are not ready to go about it in such a targeted and fast way, but this kind of research should not be forbidden just because some of those not in the know are afraid and think that synthetic biology might be hazardous to the environment.
We, for example, worked with autotrophic organisms, that would die immediately if they left their nutrient solution. How is this kind of research supposed to move forward otherwise? It just requires time. Maybe someday mankind will be for synthetic biology, and won’t be damned as Frankenstein-science. I am really excited about synthetic biology, I must admit. I might still be a pupil and not an expert in this area, but in light of what I have learned from the internet and newspapers and in the course of this project, I think that this kind of science must be continued and refined and used. But this will only work when people deal with their fears and it is made clear to them what endless potential there is in synthetic biology.
Our report on this project is an example of a step in this direction. Since this is the first time I have worked on a project like this, I was excited from the very beginning by how well our team worked together. I am also thankful that Birgit and Michael from the Max-Planck-Institute came and helped us with the complex lab work, explained everything and knew answer to all of our specific questions. I also want to thank Konrad Steiner, because the project would not have been possible and the students and specialists would not have come together without him.
In this year’s project we are learning about “synthetic biology”. Since none of us really knew what that was all about, we had to start by learning more about it. We had many ideas, many suggestions, and we just couldn’t do it all. But, in the end, it was a really educational and exciting project. I especially liked the work in the lab.
I have always been interested in the natural sciences and have been amazed by them time and again: Physics, Chemistry, Biology and lately Genetic Engineering. But now I am part of a project that is giving shape to a new discipline: Synthetic Biology. All that with the help of the Max-Planck-Institute What a thought! Recently the legal
questions have fascinated me, also because my brother is studying this topic. Every once in a while I get a mini speech from him about the law and I always can take this from them: the government regulates almost everything. That made me that much more amazed by the fact that synthetic biology has no rules or regulations yet. That means people can do whatever they want in this area, as long as it isn’t against some other kind of law That is what I almost think is cooler about our project: that we might send a message to get the lawmakers interested in this new branch science, so that laws can be made before it’s too late and rash decisions are made. I also would like to end by mentioning Mr. Konrad Steiner, who brings a lot of energy, motivation, understanding and competence to all projects. He is the one who gets students to give their very best.
I come out of an agricultural region, and that is why my interests have always been somewhere outside the lab. In the beginning I only worked on this project to try something new. But after a short while, I really began to enjoy the project. One exciting part was to see what kind of things scientist get to do in the lab; another was, for me – and I think for the others as well – to work together on such a great project. During the preparation, we found out from our “pilot”, Mr. Konrad Steiner, what role synthetic biology plays in the world already. Unfortunately there isn’t much being done for the research of synthetic biology in Austria. That makes me believe it is even more important that we students have already begun to work on it and collect important technical expertise.
While working on my Doctorate, I have collected a few experiences with counseling students in the lab and with their
When I volunteerd to help lead this project, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was very impressed by your professionalism, your grasp of the subject, your technical knowledge and your readiness. I was truly very impressed, what was realized within the context of a school project when the participants are really behind it and give it all they’ve got. I wish I had had a project like this when I was in school! I really had a lot of fun working with you! I also learned a lot!
Create something totally new? I have always been interested in the invention of mechanisms. Until I became interested in biology. And now: both combined is the perfect niche. Synthetic biology. Indisputably an area of research for the future. It was a dream to be able to take the first steps in our own school.
I was excited by the topic of synthetic biology from the beginning of the school year on, even though I didn’t know exactly what the differences between SynthBio and previous genetic engineering methods were at the beginning of the project. But it was that much more interesting to learn about those difference by dealing with this highly interesting topic. And what is better than going straight to the lab and trying these techniques out?
“SynBio? – What is that?” I asked myself this question at the beginning of the school year and knew right away: I want to know more! This is my second time working on a GBT project and I can truly say that the thirst for knowledge doesn’t go away afterwards. Like every year, we had a motivated team. You can really tell: if the team hadn’t been so excited and motivated, we wouldn’t be writing it today. I would also like to congratulate Mr. Steiner, who supported us and made this project possible.
This year we have started another great project for our elective Genetic- and Biotechnology course. Genetic- and Biotechnology might sound very NEGATIVE for some people, but there is a lot more behind those words than you may think or than you may hear. After our huge success with our project “When a Lifestyle Makes You Sick” I knew right away: I had to be part of the next project. Projects are always a lot of work, but they have shown me, that you can get a lot done with a good team and a good leader. Through the great cooperation within the team and with the Max-Planck-Institute, this project was a success and a great experience for us all. A look into new material: Synthetic Biology. Maybe it sounds creepy, but it is really interesting and we were astounded at what we were able to do in our own school science lab. All the results were anxiously awaited, and of course the Photos and lab reports documented everything exactly. ;-)
I was especially happy to be part of the SynBio project, since I could only whet my appetite for this topic last year due to scholastic complications. Because of the high requirements for working in the lab, I decided to further my understanding of the ethical areas of our project.
We knew very little about SynBio – that made the work with this technique even more exciting. It is, of course, very interesting to work in a completely new area. I am very happy that we play a pioneering role for Austria. Even in the lab we got to work with and learn from real experts.
My whole student carrier, I have been really interested in science courses like Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Genetic- and Biotechnology. And at the beginning of the year we began again to search for a new, super exciting topic. In the end, we decided to deal with synthetic biology. After studying a few texts on the topic, we were already fascinated by the indescribable possibilities offered by this technology.
Of course, we started to think about all the possible risks uncontrolled use of it might bring about. I think it is especially important that people are interested in new technologies like this, and that they understand, learn to make a critical stand, understand the advantages and estimate the possible risks. I hope that, as soon as the topic of synthetic biology begins to be discussed in public, there isn’t simply another wave of panic like there was with genetic engineering. A common sense, critical discussion about the topic of synthetic biology is one of the most important goals of the project. I would also like to thank our project leader Dr. Konrad Steiner, the motor of this project. He set up the important contacts to scientists, and without his help, we would never have gotten so far. He pushed us and he made our success possible with his ability to make motivational speeches .
This is the second time I have been able to participate in a Genetic- and Biotechnology project at our school and I am really amazed what a
group of motivated pupils can accomplish! This year, we have dedicated ourselves to a new branch of science: Synthetic Biology. I was taken aback from the very
beginning by the amazing potential which is in “life from the drawing-board”. One need only think of the possibility of creating a new life form
in the lab from the ground up.
Bacteria could transform green house gases into fuels, medicines could be produced more cheaply than ever before – the spectrum of uses from SynBio is theoretically endless. A long-held dream of many scientists would be fulfilled. Of course the technology is still not ready, but we are moving forward in giant-steps toward promising results.
I hope that we can further the understanding of such a promising technology with our project, while we also want to push awareness of the ethical and security questions as well. Again the work in the lab was especially fun, and the researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute have earned a big thank you. Thanks for the great project!
I was very excited by the enthusiasm of the participants. Your motivation was truly endless and your interest in the research was
I hope for a similar excitement from my students. It was a lot of fun working with you. I think we were a good team. The great result of our work speaks for itself. I am also very impressed, that high school students want to learn so much about such a new technology.
On the one hand the learning of the technical methods (about which most students never even hear in their classrooms), and on the other hand, the ethical questions that new technologies always bring up. The discussion with Markus Schmidt brought these all to light. My Conclusion: It was an all-around successful project! It was cool, that I could be a part of it.
”Synthetic Biology”: When I first found out that that would be our project topic I was without a plan. I understood what biology meant, but had no idea what synthetic meant in that context. But that is also why I was so excited about the project: about the results as much as about the implementation. And my hopes were not in vein. The project was a success, which doesn’t mean that we were always only scientific. Especially the discussions with our colleagues at the MPI were often very interesting. I can look back and say that my talks with Miche ranged all the way from polymers to Scrubs! The project was informative in many ways for me. I didn’t just learn lab techniques, but also how to film and edit film from a pro, and learned a lot about different editing programs (Photoshop, Magix). What else can you hope from a project like this!