<!DOCTYPE html> Yale iGem 2015: Team


Click each name to view my bio!

Wet Lab

Colin Hemez

Colin is a member of the class of 2018 majoring in biomedical engineering and art history. His hometown is Los Alamos, NM. On the team, Colin focuses primarily on gene knockouts and cyanobacteria culturing methods. He is interested in the development of novel therapeutic proteins. When not in lab, Colin loves going for runs, visiting museums, and sending routes at the climbing gym.

Danny Keller

Danny is a Computer Science major in the class of 2018. His hometown is Rye, NY. On the team, he primarily works with cyanobacteria, software development, and literature searches. He has no clue what he wants to do with his life, but enjoys synthetic biology research.He once sang lead vocals in a progressive metal band.

Lionel Jin

Lionel is a sophomore looking to major in Molecular Biology and Computer Science. He grew up in Singapore, where he served as an infantry officer before starting college. Lionel hopes to combine his interest in science and in entrepreneurship, and he has had "great fun" working with friends on the wet lab team to engineer rhizobium.

Dan Shapiro

Hailing from Northbrook, Illinois, hometown of notorious rapper Chief Keef, Daniel is a sophomore majoring in Physics. He has always been interested in biology—his favorite childhood present was the complete videography of naturalist Sir David Attenborough. He believes GMOs will save the world, and is particularly excited about this project because he thinks Cyanobacteria are key to powering the future.

Jessica Tantivit

Jessica is a rising sophomore from the lovely town of Weston, FL. She hopes to major in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology in order to become a doctor or a global health professional. Or both, because why not. Her favorite restriction enzyme is BamHI because it reminds her of the Bahn mi Vietnamese sandwich.

Erin Wang

Erin is a sophomore from Rochester, New York majoring in Anthropology. She spends her time in the lab working on exonuclease and ligation-free cloning (ELIC) and playing "Toxic" for her bacteria. After college, she hopes to go to medical school and find a career that combines public health and mindfulness. You can usually find her in the kitchen or in the WYBC broadcast studio.

Holly Zhou

Originally from Southern California, Holly is a sophomore in Silliman College who plans on majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She focuses on engineering Rhizobia. Holly hopes to do volunteer work abroad in public health and contribute to the improvement of organ transplant systems. While on the East Coast, she enjoys googling images of In-N-Out burger when she is hungry.


Joe Lanzone

Joseph Lanzone is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science. Originally from Georgia, he now spends his days in front of his computer in Pierson College, a beautiful building based off of Georgian architecture. Clearly, he cannot escape the South. Joe likes video games.

Andrew Saydjari

Andrew is a sophomore from Wisconsin, majoring in Chemistry. He has a keen interest in biochemical modeling, and is also keen on posting chemistry jokes on Facebook. He's a peer tutor for Yale's Organic chemistry classes and his favorite quote is "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less" by Marie Curie


Alex Buhimschi

Alex Buhimschi is a junior from Columbus, Ohio majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He is very interested in research for clinical applications and hopes one day to become a physician scientist. In addition to iGEM, he is involved with the Elmseed Enterprise Fund, which consults for small businesses in New Haven. In his free time he enjoys collecting records and thinking about cells.

Ariel Hernandez-Leyva

Ariel is a senior majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Currently, he serves as the research coordinator and undergraduate advisor for iGEM. He hopes to have a future as physician scientist, studying human gut microbiota and engineering patients' bacteria to treat their bodies. He is a semi-professional juggler and is often seen juggling fruit in grocery stores.

Edward Kong

Ed is a senior majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Economics. He hopes to become a physician-researcher and study ways that the healthcare system can do better by patients from an economics standpoint. Ed spends most of his time outside of iGEM practicing on the Yale fencing team. En garde.

Stephanie Mao

Stephanie is a junior majoring in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and was a former Philosophy major. When not in lab pipetting like a pipeline, they are involved in many feminist and queer organizations on campus. They enjoy making origami dinosaurs and writing science fiction novellas. Their feminist writing can be found at Broad Recognition, Yale's feminist online magazine.

Graduate Mentors

Natalie Ma

Natalie is a 5th year doctoral student in the Isaacs Lab and currently the lead graduate mentor for the iGEM team. Outside iGEM, her research explores emergent properties of organisms with altered genetic codes. In her spare time, Natalie can be found cooking or baking (with a particular emphasis on replicating or modifying recipes from and, or foraging for wild food and mushrooms.

Jaymin Patel

A member of the Isaacs and Crawford labs, Jaymin is interested in discovering novel small molecules biosynthetically produced by the human microbiome.

Corey Perez

Corey Perez was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He employs single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) coupled with total internal reflection microscopy (TIRFM) to explore the complex dynamics of the ribosome recycling stage of translation.

Faculty Advisors

Steve Dellaporta

Stephen Dellaporta is a professor of Mollecular, Cellular, and Developmental biology at Yale University. His lab is interested in the study the pathway of sex determination in maize, a process that involves cell death and cell arrest. Hi is developing Trichoplax adhaerens as a new model system for primitive animal studies along with comparative genetic data from sponges, cnidarians, and choanoflagellates.

Farren Isaacs

Farren J. Isaacs, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University. His research is focused on developing foundational genomic and biomolecular engineering technologies with the goal of developing new genetic codes, and engineered cells that serve as factories for chemical, drug and biofuel production.


Project Support and Advice

All iGEM team members, as well as advisors Natalie Ma, Dr.Farren Isaacs, and Dr. Stephen Dellaporta, participated in the formation of the idea for this project and the research required to design and carry out this work

Project Advisor Support

Dr. Farren Isaacs and Dr. Stephen Dellaporta were the official advisors for our project--they helped us troubleshoot our setbacks and guided fundraising efforts.

Lab Support

Ben Akhuetie-Oni, Edward Barbieri, Ryan Gallagher, Adrian Haimovich, Paul Muir, Jaymin Patel, Corey Perez (Yale Crawford Lab), and Ariel Hernandez.Leyva helped with running lab experiments as well as lending resources. Natalie Ma, in addition to aiding with experiments, was also instrumental in keeping the team on track by helping us set daily and weekly goals.

Cyanobacteria Support

The Jordan Peccia Lab at Yale University provided us with the UTEX 2973 cyanobacteria strain and gave us advice on growing and culturing cyanobacteria.

Rhizobia Support

The Handelsman Lab and the Jacobs-Wagner Lab at Yale University provided us with the Rhizobium tropici strain CIAT 899 and Sinorhizobium meliloti 1021 strains 356, 370, and 371, respectively.

Web Design & Development

Colin Hemez and Cameron Yick designed the website, and Cameron implemented the designs. Colin also designed the team "Tree" logo.


Amy Mulholland and Natalie Ma helped us arrange meetings with our PIs as well as order lab equipment and experiment materials.

Corporate Sponsors