Ayesha is a rising sophomore majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, although she finds practically every discipline at MIT interesting. From iGEM, she hopes to gain wet lab experience of substance and a context in which to think about the endless possibilities of synthetic biology. She is particularly excited about the intersection of synthetic biology, computer science, and neuroscience. Beyond academics, Ayesha enjoys singing, photographing, being outdoors, and perusing Wikipedia.
Nick is a rising junior in the Biology department at UMass Amherst. At school, he works with electroconductive bacteria called Geobacter for biosensing applications. He is excited to be living in Cambridge and working at MIT over the summer, especially for synthetic biology. Nick hopes to develop new methods of metabolic wiring between multiple bacteria to create a highly integrated consortium with unique intercellular properties. He is currently working on achieving the world record for the tastiest stir-fry containing the most ingredients, and is also a shoe-in for the most likely to drop a beat while working in lab.
Molly Brennan is a rising sophomore at MIT majoring in Chemical-Biological Engineering or Biological Engineering. She became interested in synthetic biology after learning about the field through Lemelson-MIT in high school. iGEM seemed like the perfect way to begin contributing to the field of synthetic biology. She hopes that this project will reduce reliance on nonrenewable resources, such as those composed of methane. In the future, she hopes to further explore the medical applications of biological engineering and synthetic biology. In her free time, she enjoys dancing in MIT's DanceTroupe and sailing.
Marjorie Buss is a rising sophomore at MIT majoring in Chemical-Biological Engineering and minoring in Math. She is very excited about iGEM’s project this year because of its potential to contribute to alternative energy technology. She is also excited to learn about modeling metabolic systems and about synthetic biology, and to gain wet lab experience. Her previous experiences include working in a chemical engineering lab at MIT during her freshman year, and interning in a thermal coatings and contamination engineering lab at NASA Goddard last summer. Outside of iGEM, Marjorie is a member of MIT’s lightweight rowing team, and holds leadership positions in MIT’s energy club in Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority. She also enjoys running, playing tennis, reading, and being texted random things.
Ryan Chung is a rising Sophomore in Computational Biology at MIT. He is excited to work with the iGEM team as there are many opportunities to learn the cutting edge techniques associated with synthetic biology and hopes to apply some of his previous Computer Science knowledge for the project. He is interested in this project in particular because of the interesting applications of biofuels. In his free time he enjoys going out, staying in, chasing Canadian Geese and beatboxing battles in lab.
Alyssa is a freshman studying Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics (she doesn't really know what she's doing with her life). She had minimal biology experience in high school but has been excited about synthetic biology ever since she was given a tour around a biohack-space in London and learnt about the possibilities for "hacking" real living organisms, such as growing human chins on the backs of mice or maybe even mouse chins on the backs of humans. She is looking forward to applying mathematical computery techniques to the project and maybe picking up a few squishy lab skills too. Outside of iGEM Alyssa enjoys bobbing her head to electronic music and scavenging for free food.
Jesse Gibson is a rising sophomore in course 6-7: computer science and molecular biology. He became interested in engineering after participating on his high school robotics team and decided to explore synthetic biology as an interesting application of engineering to complex, micro-scale systems. He is particularly interested in the intersection of technology and biology as well as the design of genetic circuitry to emulate logical input-output systems. In his free time, he enjoys reading, biking, and playing Super Smash Bros. (Melee, of course).
Wendi Guraziu is a rising sophomore in the Biology department at MIT. She got hooked on bio in high school and learned about iGEM and synthetic biology in her high school bio and biotechnology classes. She is very excited about the potential of synthetic biology to improve quality and efficiency for the huge number of possible applications in both home and industrial settings. Wendi loves to travel and go on long walks, try tasty foods from every country Italy to Iraq, cheer on her Chicago Blackhawks, and dance like nobody's watching even when everybody's watching. Outside of iGEM, she is involved in Society of Women Engineers and her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega.
Nathan is a junior at MIT studying molecular biology and computer science. He came to MIT to study biology and is often asked how the two fields of his major work together. There are all sorts of great reasons to study biology and computer science, but he really just added it to his major for fun (he’s a believer that one ought to enjoy life, even work). He finds great joy in creating, whether it’s building a complex program up from simple keywords or an interesting biological system. His interest in these two fields led him to be captured by iGEM’s clever poster about programming life. Despite being interested in learning very many things, he’s focusing on biology because he hopes to use his biology and computer and any other sort of knowledge to heal people. On top of MIT and research, Nathan is very involved in his church; he served a two year church mission in Germany and would love it if you would speak German with him. He also enjoys sailing, hiking, learning everything, and wishes he knew robotics.
Ashti Shah is a junior at the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough, MA. She is intrigued by the combinatorial possibilities of synthetic biology. She aspires to pursue a career in medicine. Being the foodie she is, you will most probably find her sampling the best places to eat during her lunch breaks. Ashti is a very jubilant person and enjoys a variety of activities including swimming, speech and debate, baking, travelling, reading, and any DIY project.
Niam Shah is a rising junior at the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science. He is excited to be part of the iGEM team as he is very interested in synthetic biology –combining DNA to construct interesting and useful organisms to carry out constructive tasks is fascinating. He hopes to study medicine in college and become a cardiologist when he grows up. When Niam is not doing homework or sleeping, he is probably playing tennis, snowboarding, or attempting to solve senseless, convoluted math problems.
Sivateja is a rising high school senior from Texas who is passionate about molecular biology, neuroscience, and linguistics. He qualified as a Semifinalist in the 2015 USA Biology Olympiad and was a Scripps National Spelling Bee semi-finalist. He has interned with a cognitive linguistics professor last summer. His favorite sport is Basketball.
Joshua Charles Woodard
Joshua is a rising sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Biology and Chinese. He's particularly interested in the intersection of biology and technology, especially as it pertains to prosthetic systems and mechanical chassis that will host SKYNET AI. He found iGEM particularly exciting for the first hand exposure it would provide in utilizing the synthetic biology toolkit and discovering the plethora of applications it could have to problems around the world. In his free time, he's a jazz violinist, freelance photographer and graphic designer, and often finds himself matching with the upholstery of his immediate surroundings.
Lyla Atta is a rising junior in Biological Engineering. She is very interested in cellular biology and biochemistry, and especially interested in applications of these areas to neurobiology. At some point in the far (or near?) future she wishes to find science-based answers to questions that were previously thought to be philosophical: what is thinking, understanding and learning? How do all these processes occur in systems that are made up of mere chemicals. Lyla was part of the 2014 MIT iGEM team. It was the first time she had the opportunity to get some laboratory experience (which she was in dire need of, having never worked in a lab before). She is now working with some of her fellow 2014 iGEM team members on a spin-off project while mentoring this year's iGEM. Outside science-related things, Lyla is very interested in education policy and enjoys outdoor activities.
Kathryn Brink is a rising junior at MIT majoring in Biological Engineering. She is excited to be participating in this year’s iGEM competition since she thinks that synthetic biology is a really interesting field with a lot of great applications to medicine, agriculture, and the environment. Kathryn was first introduced to Synthetic Biology through a project-based class where, as part of a team, she designed a genetic circuit to regulate iron absorption in the small intestine, with the goal of helping patients with iron-deficiency anemia. Kathryn was previously an undergraduate researcher in the Ploegh Lab at Whitehead Institute, studying the effects of nanobodies on the activity of glycolytic enzymes from S. cerevisiae. Outside of iGEM, Kathryn is treasurer of Stop Our Silence (a student group concerned with sexual assault awareness), mentors high school girls in science and engineering through the Society of Women Engineers, and is a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
Erik Ersland is a Junior majoring in Biological Engineering. Erik is participating in iGEM because it offers a good opportunity to contribute useful work to the scientific and engineering community and because it provides training and perspective that will help him continue to contribute in the future. Previous experience includes two summers interning at Clearwater Analytics as a software developer and numerous garage based projects. He is interested in research that will improve human quality of life, namely technologies with applications in regenerative medicine. Hobbies outside of iGEM include learning about new things, cooking (often for groups), sewing (things like plushies), and mechanical projects.
Eugene Lim is a postdoctoral associate in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. He works in the Soft Active Materials Laboratory led by Professor Xuanhe Zhao. He is excited to interact with the MIT iGEM community while learning the nuts and bolts of synthetic biology. In his spare time, he tutors high school students, falls off his surfboard (with alarming consistency), and roots for all Detroit sports teams.
Viirj Kan is a graduate student and researcher at the MIT Media Lab in the Tangible Media Group. Her research involves the development of interactive, material systems that enable humans to interact with digital and biochemical information. Currently she is working on organic materials that can be tuned, programmed and controlled for architectural, human-computer interaction, and biocompatible applications. Prior to MIT, Viirj was involved in a number of user experience and industrial design projects from consulting with early stage startups, to conducting human-robot interaction research at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design at Art Center College of Design.
Kyle Lathem is a rising senior in biology and physics at MIT. Gifted in building wieners in Cuba. Had moderate success investing in rocking horses worldwide. Set new standards for working with Virgin Mary figurines in Naples, FL. Have some experience researching hula hoops in Atlantic City, NJ. Have a strong interest in working on yogurt on the black market. Spent 2002-2009 working with wooden trains in the aftermarket.
Christian Richardson is a rising junior majoring in Biological Engineering. He is interested in using biological engineering and synthetic biology in the battle to develop new therapeutic and diagnostic tools for use in hospitals and in the field. Last year he became involved in iGEM as a competitor and now wants to pass on his knowledge and teach a new generation of students. He enjoys rowing, skiing, kayaking, climbing, backpacking and generally being outdoors.
Brian Teague is currently a postdoctoral research associate in Ron Weiss’ Synthetic Biology Group. He earned his B.A. in biochemistry and computer science from Rice University and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Brian has developed immense expertise in instrumentation for biological interrogation and his current research interests include the emergence of global behavior of population from local rules integrated into single cells.
Joined the BE and EECS faculties as dual associate professor (with tenure) starting in July 2009, having moved from Princeton University where he held comparable rank in their department of electrical engineering and with a joint appointment in their department of molecular biology. His degrees are double BA in Computer Science and Economics from Brandeis University (1992), followed by SM and PhD in EECS at MIT (1994, 2001). Professor Weiss is a prominent and widely respected figure in the emerging field known as ‘synthetic biology’, with emphasis on designing molecular circuits governing cell behavior using quantitative systems modeling approaches. He is expected to help lead MIT’s efforts in both synthetic biology and systems biology, and indeed to guide their integration.