Team:Carnegie Mellon/Team

Meet the Team.

Biologists, engineers, enthusiastic people.

Students Advisors Attributions
Like all aspects of Carnegie Mellon, our team is diverse and interdisciplinary. All of our team members are studying one or more of the following: Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Material Science Engineering, Biology, Computational Biology, and Psychology. With the breadth of knowledge that the whole team together provides and the depth of knowledge that each individual person gives, the CMU iGEM team has worked hard the whole summer to complete a project that’s as cool as we are.

Niteesh Sundaram
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." -- Wayne Gretzky
Niteesh grew up in Pittsburgh and is a rising master's student in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in the spring of 2015. Niteesh's academic interests include computer hardware, embedded systems, programming, modeling of biological systems, biochemistry, pathology, and epidemiology. Outside the classroom Niteesh likes to watch Pittsburgh sports teams win, the occasional Netflix binge, pickup basketball, and going to the climbing wall and the gym. At Carnegie Mellon University, Niteesh is a teaching assistant in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, a member of Model UN, and participates in a handful of clubs dedicated at exposing middle and high school aged children to math and science.
Dominique Maccalla
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." -- Philippians 4:13
Dominique is from New Haven, Connecticut and is a rising senior studying biomedical engineering and material science engineering. After graduation, she wants to work as a cosmetic chemist developing hair and skin products. Her interests include beauty, dance, and issues of social justice. In her free time, she loves to attend church, watch YouTube videos, and going for runs. She would spend the last $20 to her name getting her nails done, has been a competitive gymnast for most of her life, and is also deathly afraid of bees.
Michelle Yu
"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice."
Michelle is a senior from New York majoring Biology with a double major in Psychology and a minor in Biomedical Engineering. She would like to eventually go to medical school and start her own clinic in a developing country. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, running, sleeping, writing, watching Netflix, and being a YouTube fanatic. Michelle likes to collects pennies from every place she’s traveled to. She had two differently shaped thumbs, and once when she was little, she was stung by a jellyfish in Maryland and a lifeguard peed on her leg to ease the pain.
Donna Lee
"A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them"-- John C. Maxwell
Donna is from Brooklyn, New York and studies biology with a double major in psychology. She hopes to go to med school and be a physician that interacts with people of all ages and from all backgrounds. Her interests include swimming, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. Sadly, she lacks the talent to actually play by any of these games’ rules. Some people compare Donna to a sloth. She hopes it’s because of their similar sleeping and lounging habits, and not because of any physical similarities. Donna also sleep walks, sleep talks, grinds her teeth, tosses and turns, and kicks people. She pasically exercises more when she’s asleep than when she’s awake. And of course, when someone likes sleeping, eating is probably that person's second most favorite thing. She loves cooking and trying new foods, despite all her random food allergies. Donna also likes listening to music and playing the piano. Despite being afraid of heights, she actually loves pra the thrills and sceneries that only accompany heights. She is proud to have been the first of her sisters to travel outside of the country.
Kenneth Li
Kenneth is from New Hyde Park, New York and is a rising senior studying Biology and Psychology. He is currently applying to dental schools and hopes to matriculate right after graduation. His academic interests include cell and molecular biology research, specifically within the topic of carcinogenesis, and he will be a teaching assistant for genetic and biochemistry lab courses. He is also a dedicated member of Global Public Health Brigades, which is an organization involved in building home infrastructure in under-developed countries to promote hygiene and healthy lifestyles. Ken enjoys playing tennis and swimming during his free time, and he loves watching Youtube videos and NBA games.
Wei Mon Lu
"I go to seek a Great Perhaps." -- François Rabelais
Wei is a Pittsburgh native studying Chemical Engineering with a double major in Biomedical Engineering. She aspires to either work in pharmaceuticals or consumable consumer goods (read: food). She is the vice president of the Society of Women Engineers, member of the Joint Funding Committee, a projectionist for AB Films, and is in her second year of being a Residential Assistant. She is a master cake decorator, hates running but still signs up for the Pittsburgh Marathon every year, and enjoys discussing and trying to remedy social inequality, race issues, poverty, and affordable access to quality education. She would rather spend her money on concert tickets than food, but still believes that she can definitively out-eat anyone in any kind of vegetarian-friendly eating competition. Wei is so uncoordinated that she almost fell down a waterfall once.
William Casazza
"Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation... even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind." -- Leonardo da Vinci
Will is a rising junior from Barrington, Rhode Island, and is majoring in computational biology. His ultimate goal after graduation is to work in industry either developing diagnostic models/tools or working with synthetic biology and genetic engineering. Will’s interests include genetic engineering, parallel algorithms, epigenetic regulation, and probably some sort of math. In his free time, he likes to go long distance racing and long distance running, playing the upright bass, and listening to jazz. And, you know, just hanging out. He plays an impressive range of instruments including guitar, upright and electric bass, trombone, piano, ukulele, and melodica. He’s involved with the jazz scene at CMU and around Pittsburgh once playing in a large ensemble and occasionally gigs in small combos. He is secretly very interested in ethics and social issues.
Max Telmer
"Everybody falls down." -- Walt Disney
Max grew up in Pittsburgh and now studies Material Science and Engineering. After graduation he wants to go into the world of manufacturing. His favourite sports team is FC Barcelona and he enjoys watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In his free time, he enjoys sports, movies, and camping. His family is from Canada, he’s twenty years old, and he used to be a swimmer.
Jordan Tick
"Part of me suspects that I'm a loser, and the other part of me thinks I'm God Almighty" --John Lennon
Jordan is from Buffalo, New York and studies Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering (and may pick up a minor, time permitting). After graduation, he wants to pursue a Masters in one of his majors before involving himself in augmented reality or signals processing. Academically, his interests are signal processing and graphics. Outside of the classroom, he enjoys listening to music, watching movies, playing video games, and is in Carnegie Mellon’s Archery, Parkour, and Taekwondo clubs. He’s studied French, Spanish, and Chinese and knows how to play the ukulele, piano, guitar, and trumpet. Previous research experience includes studying evolution by looking at the structural proteins of ribosomes. Jordan graduated a year early from high school and is the proud owner of three dogs.
Ruchi Asthana
"Sometimes the questions are complicated, but the answers are simple." -- Dr. Seuss
Ruchi is from Long Branch, New Jersey, and is currently a Biology major but is hoping to switch into Computational Biology this year. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in translational or research-based medicine. Her interest include probabilistic modeling for biological phenomena, reading ancient Latin works, and traveling to new places and trying new things. She likes to spend her free time with family and friends, taking long walks and listening to Ed Sheeran on repeat. Ruchi is an ice cream aficionado, loves The Color Purple, and keeps the pun game strong.

Our advisors were the fuel that kept our team going. We would not have been able to do the work that we did without their expertise and patience.

Dr. Cheryl Telmer
"I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that won't work." -- Thomas Edison
Cheryl's consistent support, knowledge, and enthusiasm has been our main driving force. Our project would not have made it very fair without her help.
Dr. Natasa Miskov-Zivanov
Natasa brought iGEM to Carnegie Mellon. She is our go-to expert for modeling our project.
Dr. Marcel Bruchez
Marcel offered up his lab space to us and served as a very wise and useful faculty advisor.
Dr. Diana Marculescu
Dr. Marculescu is a professor for and Associate Department Head for Academic Affairs in Electrical & Computer Engineering. She helped review applications & secure funding for the team.