The Team


Katy Davis

Katy is a first year biochemist that has done extensive outreach work as well as working with the phosphate assay team. She is part of the university's concert orchestra and ballet society.

Ivan Gyulev

Ivan is a final year geneticist, and has overseen most of the molecular biology experiments and has designed the synthetic gene constructs. He enjoys molecular biology and microbiology.

Abi Rowbotham

Abi is a first year biology student and has worked on the growth assay aspect of the project, the outreach program, as well as becoming a master animator. She has also been part of the social media team. She enjoys the Great British Bake Off, and consequently hates soggy bottoms.

Adam Brain

Adam is a second year biology student and has worked on two main aspects of the team. Besides working with the growth assay team to develop a functional test, he has done extensive work on the wiki page. Well known as an avid owl enthusiast, he keeps busy as Chief engineer of the University of York radio station.

Kristina Aare

Kristina is a final year biochemist. Her responsibilities included confocal microscopy imaging and fluorescence-based sensitive assays for measurement of micromolar concentrations of polyphosphate. Aside from iGEM, she is highly dedicated to cancer research. Outside the lab, she is known as an essayist, polyglot and art critic.

Liz Alexianu

Liz is a second year genetics student and has worked on several aspects of the project. While working in the lab with the molecular biology team, she maintains the social media accounts for the team and works to organise various team events. She has also been part of the wiki team to keep the page updated. Outside of work, she enjoys running, cooking, travelling and working on various society committees at the university.

Clare Draper

Clare is a first year biochemistry student and has a keen interest in biologics and regenerative medicine. As part of the molecular biology team, she has carried out research and lab work for the project. Her responsibilities included organising the travel to Boston, securing sponsorships, maintaining supplies for the lab and general budgeting. She has also been involved with outreach and other Human Practices aspects of the project.

Matthew Higgins

Matthew is a first year student studying towards a BSc in Biochemistry. His responsibility was in organising the analysis of our engineered E.coli. This involved creating a phosphate and polyphosphate assay. Apart from analysis Matt has an interest in business so took on the role of writing the team’s business plan. In his free time, Matt enjoys the outdoors and getting ready for rugby season.

Mat Milner

Mat is a final year geneticist. He has assisted most of the various aspects of this year's project, from working on the growth and phosphate assays to wiki work and outreach, he has been involved in practically everything. In his free time, he is an avid gamer and enjoys a nice whiskey.

JunHee Jung

JunHee is a first year biologist, and has worked on the phosphate assay and wiki page. Working with Mat, he achieved the a record time of growth assay preparation. He has a fascination with canned tuna, even maintaining a popular instagram of his finds.


Erin Cullen

Erin Cullen graduated from the University of York in July, and has thoroughly enjoyed acting as an advisor to the team this year. She was involved with dry lab research at the start of the project, and had a major role in co-ordinating and participating in outreach activities with the local community. Taking the project to Badger Hill Primary School and holding an ‘iGEM open day’ at St Helen’s Church in York were particular outreach highlights. In her spare time Erin enjoys volunteering, yoga and playing flute.

Joseph Tresise

Joseph Tresise is the only Chemistry student on the team and has recently recieved his Masters degree. His main responsibility has been dry lab research before the start of labwork and advising the team based on his past experience with the iGEM team.

Robyn Whiting

Robyn is a second Year Genetics student, this is her second year taking part in iGEM, and this year she is acting as an iGEM instructor. Robyn was partially responsible for getting the team funding and recruiting new members as well as liaising with members of staff. Robyn is a keen baker and cook and likes trying international cuisine while traveling, she also enjoys taking part in quizzes and can get very competitive about winning them. Her passion is politics, foreign affairs and international relations, and she intends to pursue a career in this area.

  • Henry Nicholls - is a PhD student working in the Dr. Chong lab at the university.
  • Rachael Evans - is a first year PhD student working in bacterial community evolution. She participated in the 2013 iGEM competition with Dundee.
  • Sophie Rugg - is a first year PhD student working on developing a biosensor to detect the herbicide glyphosate. She has been invaluble to the team, helping us troubleshoot many lab problems, supervising and providing much needed advice on various protocols.


  • Dr. Alison Parkin - is interested in the mechanisms of electron transfer in biology and how we can use the analytical chemistry tool of electrochemistry to study such redox reactions. She enjoys helping the iGEM team find chemical solutions to analysing their biological reactions.
  • Dr. Gavin Thomas - is a molecular microbiologist who has been tinkering with E. coli for nearly 20 years, with no sign of stopping anytime soon. He mainly likes to tinker with membrane transporter proteins. Outside of the lab he likes walking & running and is interested in the history of microbiology and of the City of York
  • Dr. James Chong - is a molecular biologist with a particular interest in anaerobic microbial communities and how these can be exploited in industrial settings. He has been running the York iGEM team since it was founded three years ago.
  • Prof. Maggie Smith - is a molecular microbiologist with a research interest in the antibiotic producing bacteria Streptomyces. By studying the interactions between bacteriophage and their hosts she has made discoveries that have had direct impact on new tools for cloning antibiotic clusters and in understanding the innate antibiotic resistances in these organisms.