Team:Sydney Australia/Team

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Lizzie - Guardian of the Team

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Lizzie is in her third year of a Bachelor of Science and Arts degree, majoring in Molecular Biology and Genetics, Ancient History, and Performance Studies. She is aware this combination is extremely strange but sees it as a safety net as she figuratively has one foot in every corner (well third), so if one thing fails she has backups. She would like to pursue a career in synthetic biology focusing on agriculture and food production to help decrease the level of malnutrition and food insecurity in developing countries. If that fails she will become a Roman historian spending her days in Rome eating pizza and gelato. She is perpetually amazed by the sheer variety of science, every discipline so different and unique, yet all interconnecting and depending on each other. Lizzie does not believe in such nonsense as spirit animals, however, she fully supports patronuses and hers would be Pascal, the chameleon from Tangled. If she could be any piece of lab equipment it would be a pipette tip because she feels like it would be fun to be shot off the end of a pipette and go rocketing through the air. Although she believes it would be amusing to be phenolphthalein used in titrations, mainly so she can frustrate first year students by suddenly turning from clear to bright pink skipping every shade in between.

Major area of contribution

Sending excessive amounts of emails, developing the Human Practices, organising the team, designing the wiki, searching for sponsorship, involved in outreach events, working in the lab and speaking at Rotary Clubs.

Email - eric9992 (at)

Mark - Wet Lab Ninja 1

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Mark is in the awkward no-mans land between third and fourth year of a Bachelor of Advanced Science majoring in Biochemistry and Biology. He wants to go into research and find ways to apply the crazy amounts of potential that synthetic biology has to solve problems in whatever fields he can conquer. His favourite aspect of science is the seemingly limitless potential to delve down into the nitty gritty of anything and find something fascinating about how it works. He thinks it’s incredible that even when you focus on the tiniest part of something that may never have seemed like much, there’ll be things that are unexpectedly beautiful, crazy, elegant and even broadly useful as the more you look the more there is to see. Mark’s spirit animal is a penguin as he loves freezing cold weather, enjoys seafood and wants to fulfill his life-long dream of getting places by sliding around on his stomach. If he could be any piece of equipment in the lab it would be the cool multi-channel pipettes as they are a wonderfully simple and clever solution to the problem of tedious pipetting. He would love to have that kind of elegance and wide-ranging usefulness as a person.

Major area of contribution

Wet Lab Ninja 1, Red Bull expert, and resident artist.

Email - msom2623 (at)

Sandi - Wet Lab Ninja 2

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Sandi is in her third year of a Medical Science degree majoring in Molecular Biology and Genetics, and Microbiology. She has finished her diploma in Molecular Biotechnology and has worked in Singapore for two years in environmental science and metagenomics. She likes science because it is true and it can help the environment and people in many ways. In the future, she wants to pursue a career in genetics, specializing in understanding and finding the cure for cancer and other inheritable diseases. Her spirit animal is a tiger because like the tiger hunts its prey, she likes to take time observing information and being prepared before doing important things. If she could be any piece of equipment in the lab, she would like to be a Nanodrop Spectrophotometer for its specificity and accuracy to a small volume and how it is helpful to many genetic projects.

Major area of contribution

Wet Lab Ninja 2 and official lab book manuscriptor.

Email - aybo3418 (at)

Gaia - Wet Lab Ninja 3

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Gaia is in her third year of a Bachelor of Science majoring in immunology and biochemistry. She aims to pursue a career in biomedical research to help better the lives of people around the world. Her love of science stems from the fact that it constantly challenges and engages the mind as there is so much new knowledge to uncover and it is exciting to contribute. But her ultimate favourite thing about science is Parafilm. What a phenomenal invention. She has been told far too many times that her spirit animal is an owl, which she disagrees with and prefers it to be a puppy. Gaia’s hobbies include spending an excessive amount of time on BuzzFeed, she particularly likes the DIY life hacks page and has transformed all of the Ikea furniture in her college room into masterpieces of home decor. If she could be any piece of lab equipment she would be a lab notebook as everyone would treat her right, keep her updated and depend on her when they are confused.

Major area of contribution

Wet Lab Ninja 3, and developing the Codon Optimiser.

Email - gher3195 (at)

Mahiar - Safety Warden

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Mahiar is in his third year of an Advanced Science degree majoring in Biochemistry and Mathematics. He aims to discover the mysteries of the universe, travel to the corners of the earth. He is interested in seeing how we can harbour mathematical computation in the field of biology as he believes that maths explains everything and that experiments can become faster and much more efficient if it coincides with mathematical modelling. To appeal to his humanitarian side, he wants to work on something which can benefit the lives of people and humanity. His favourite aspect of science is its ability to use reasoning to create a concrete model which can be applied to other areas to make the intended outcome. But more importantly is its ability to amend itself. It is not selfish and egoistic and can address its failures and shortcomings clearly with criticism and turn it into success after hard work. Most importantly, it can save lives and address the problems facing humanity whether it be pollution, climate change, food and nutrition and energy. Although Matt wishes his spirit animal was a unicorn, it is actually a pig. If Matt could be any piece of lab equipment it would be the humble paper towel because it is inflicted with so much mistreatment and lack of acknowledgment in regards to its contribution to the maintenance of the lab and the success of experiments. Alternatively he would be a centrifuge because he can make the world revolve around him, and keep going round and round and round.

Major area of contribution

Working in the wet lab, modelling, Safety Warden, and presenting to Rotary Clubs.

Email - mmah2050 (at)

Harry - Modelling Magician

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Harry is in his fifth year of a double degree in Advanced Science and Mechanical (Space) Engineering, majoring in Mathematics and Physics, though he plans to pivot towards the biological sciences for future study. Following graduation at the end of the year, he wants to pursue a PhD program centered on Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering, and through this work with small-scale companies to develop biological solutions and technologies which can solve problems across industries, for a more sustainable and healthy world. His favourite facet of science is the interplay of different fields of expertise, from quantum physics to cell biology, to arrive at surprising yet elegant solutions to tricky problems. He hopes that new inroads into Synthetic Biology will demonstrate its vast potential to be used in such applications as a versatile and adaptable tool. Harry’s spirit animal is the Mudskipper, which as a fish / frog hybrid demonstrates impressive adaptability to changing situations and environments, though it appears to have taken on many of each animals worst features during the hybridisation process. If he could be any piece of laboratory equipment he would be a Petri dish, as they get to experience the wide variety of samples which pass through the lab, without being squeezed and abused like the pipettes.

Major area of contribution

Modelling and coding King, creating a 3D-printed gel electrophoresis timer, developing the business proposal.

Email - hste3178 (at)

Nick - Supervisor

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Nick is a senior lecturer in Microbiology at the University of Sydney, and the head of an Environmental Biotechnology Research Group. Nick’s lab is focussed on bioremediation and biocatalysis, but has also taken on diverse other projects in microbial ecology, microbial genetics, public health microbiology, and agricultural microbiology. A major focus of the lab is the isolation and study of microorganisms able to biodegrade hydrocarbons and xenobiotic chemicals – such bacteria have unique enzymatic capacities, which have practical applications in the cleanup of contaminated sites or the “green chemistry” synthesis of fine chemicals. These bacteria are also intrinsically interesting due to what they can teach us about evolution, and especially the ways in which Nature adapts to meet chemical challenges. Another focus of the lab is on the biology of mobile genetic elements (MGEs, including plasmids, transposons, insertion sequences, integrons), which are key players in bacterial adaptation to industrial pollutants and antibiotics. A better understanding of MGEs would allow us to better predict and manage bacterial evolution, whether this is controlling the spread of antibiotic resistance, understanding the fate of recombinant DNA in the environment, or harnessing the power of MGEs for biotechnology. Nick is also the chief scientific officer of the Institute for Genetic Nefarity, a largely imaginary non-for-profit foundation which aims to use genetic technologies to create exceptionally heavy guitar riffs.

Email - nicholas.coleman (at)