iGEM Amsterdam 2015

Meet the Team


Nicolas Vecchini

Nico, our Puerto Rican who managed to find his way to Europe all the way from the Caribbean. Making a pit stop in Spain to get his undergraduate degree in biology, Nico did an internship in genetics in which he tried to turn Pseudomonas Syringae - a nasty plant-killing pathogen - blue, supposedly with a brilliant purpose. He then went over to Germany do even more work in plant physiology, leveraging the potential of plants to save mankind one small step at a time. Nico also enjoys long walks, contemplating metabolic routes over tea, and sometimes secretly wishes everyone would just do the same.

Hugo Pineda

A bonafide true Spaniard, Hugo has also travelled a long way from his Spanish undergraduate education in Biology, to study a masters in the heart of the Netherlands. With his inquisitive mind and passion for all things undefined, he plays an irreplaceable role in our team. Fond of ants and bubbles, his strangely specific sense of humour and oscar winning smile adds to his already multidimensional personality. After iGEM, Hugo will be involved in the largest sequencing effort to date to map out the avocado’s complete genome - he calls it the human genome project, but for avocados.

Stijn Kok

Our member with the least international name. His interests include modelling stochastic processes in cyanobacteria, creating almost - but not quite - hipster targeted music, and pondering the intricate complexity of life, the universe and everything. So deviously handsome he could be a part time model (but probably would still need to keep his day job), Stijn plans to spend part of his time seducing/informing the general public on the implications of synthetic biology and part of his time distracting us while writing nerdy lab songs and making a model or two.

David Lips

David obtained his free spirited nature from his secular education at the Amsterdam University College, where he explored the boundaries of life as we know it in a revolutionary Biology/Physics/Math/Engineering/Psychology/Art joint bachelor’s degree programme. Swayed by evolution’s elegant design principles, he believes synthetic biology can solve mankind’s most pressing problems and is completing his masters degree in preparation to lead the way. When not working (never), David plays improv theater and tries to make people laugh so hard that triple DNA helices form spontaneously.

Christine Anyansi

Christine graduated with a Biology bachelors degree from the States. Prior to coming to Amsterdam for her master’s degree, she contributed to the growth and success of some of the most innovative biotech startups in Boston. By joining the iGEM team, she brings not only her love of Scrubs but also her joyous and peaceful spirit. She likes to think she is the team’s glue and without her, we would spontaneously combust into pieces of dutch and spanish castaways.

Tamar Huygen

With a degree in biology and several years experience studying mathematics, Tamar is the perfect bridge between our modelling and laboratory efforts. She can plot growth rates from second-order non-linear differential equations in her mind, and then directly translate the results into actionable steps in the lab. When not growing pathogenic bacteria in her garage, Tamar can be found climbing in one of Holland’s many indoor climbing halls, reaching for heights she will surely top with this iGEM project.

Joeri Joengblots *Honorary Member*

This master student is also known as the 5th beatle of our iGEM team. With his previous work on building the software for the turbidostats he enabled us to perform the experiments that demonstrated instability of the lactate strain, one of the biggest successes of our project. He has a background in computer science but this did not prevent him from going deep into evolutionary biology and wet lab. He likes to do things that at first sight seem impossible but he somehow manages to find a way to accomplish it. Funnily enough, when we came to the lab for the first time he, the IT guy, was teaching us, the biologists, how to culture bacteria and work aseptically. In exchange we helped him out in building software to analyze and visualize the vast amount of data that he gathers with his program. A perfect synchrony where roles are exchanged, this is the beauty of multidisciplinarity in action.

Assist. Prof. dr. Filipe Branco dos Santos


Words cannot express the utmost gratitude we have to these two scientists for entering into this endeavour with us. To them we owe all of our success. We are extremely fortunate to have such a confident and driven professor, such as Filipe, watching over us each step of the way. Because of this we were able to achieve much more than an ordinary group of six students could ever imagine. The constant push we received to expect better, to do better, to think better, to be better will stay with us for the rest of our scientific carreers.

Prof dr. Jeroen Hugenholtz


Qing Wang

Dr. Willi Gottstein

Wei Du

Parsa Mahallehyousefi