Gamifying Synthetic Biology: the SYNMOD mobile game

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Olga Radchuk, Camillo Meinhart, Markus Schmidt


Science gamification uses games in order to promote education, science communication and awareness raising. Its goal is to encourage people to engage and learn about particular technological and scientific developments in an educational and entertaining context. Scientific games can either have the potential for real research findings (e.g. Foldit), simulating real-life outcomes, and serve as means of science communication. They can create a funny learning environment, provide freedom to choose the level of complexity depending on the player’s background, help to adopt new technologies as soon as they appear and create positive competition among the users, which may facilitate solving a specific problem. However, some challenges should be addressed as well: each game must be tailored to a certain audience; they should not be oversimplified or overcomplicated; present an adequate learning curve and avoid misinterpretation by the users. We report (and live demonstrate) the design of a new educational synbio mobile game called „Synmod“ about the modular construction of new-to-nature Lantibiotics (a class of peptide antibiotics that contain the thioether amino acid lanthionine) by means of synthetic biology.