Team:Elan Vital Korea/Members



Our team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to
a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.


I’m Young Chan Kim. I love the Big Bang Theory. The drama, I mean. When I’m not watching it, I read books, mostly science and math books. It’s exciting, but it’s sad sometimes, to realize that they’ve got everything nailed down. What am I supposed to contribute to the body of knowledge when they know everything? Science should not be all about rote memorization and recitation, but about discovery and invention.

It’s my second time attending iGEM. Last year, I researched one of the worst nightmares of humanity, MRSA. It’s deadly bacteria as it acquired resistance to antibiotics. If antibiotics are the fruit of heroic efforts to save humanity from disease and death, then antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA are the Mother Nature’s reaction, the Nature Strikes Back. Bacteria, like all other living organisms, evolves. Humans evolve, too. But, bacteria, by virtue of being so small and living so little, evolves a lot faster than bigger competitors like humans. That’s why we have antibiotic-resistant bacteria. So, it’s very Promethean, like endless swing between victory and defeat, heroism and tragedy. (WHO seems to say a different story that we have them partly because no new antibacterial drug is invented after the discovery of Daptomycin in late 1980s. That is, because scientists got lazy, but it’s a different story.)

It means the next antibiotic-resistant bacteria you encounter may not be the one that you’re familiar with. It most likely have evolved since! To recognize them in all of their evolutionary diversity, we must go deeper. That’s what we did last year: find the DNA sequence that gives the bacteria the antibiotic-resistance. This year, we took one step further: let a bacteria tell us if antibiotic-resistant bacteria is found in their neighborhood, using their own communication method, quorum sensing. Isn’t it fascinating? That’s what I love about iGEM and synthetic biology. You can actually make that happen! You can make an E coli to report to us if they find any antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their neighborhood. You create a life that does what you want! It’s a brave new world!

In addition to being a zealous iGEMer, I am a senior at Stanford University Online High School. Sometimes, you can find me playing viola, ice hockey or drawing pictures, but what you find of me in concert halls, ice hockey fields or atelier won’t excite you as much than in labs, libraries or even classrooms. Not in a Sheldon or Leonard way like in the Big Bang Theory, mind you, but because I’m a man of curiosity, easily excited over small discoveries, delicious food and fun stories and happy just being with friends who understand each other.

My name is Soo Jung Lee. My whole life can be characterized by one word, “diversity”. It not only represents the diverse environment I was able to encounter since childhood, but also has been the driving force for all my past achievements.

Although I’ve lived all my life in South Korea, the open-mindedness with which I view the world stems from numerous overseas travel experiences in almost 20 different countries and the five years I spent at an international school. The early exposure to cultures and people from various countries had a profound impact on my life and also served as a basis for my decision to enroll in the international program at Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies, a boarding school in Korea.

My interests cover a wide range of fields from academics to music, films and Baduk, but currently my major passion lies in mathematics and science. In math, I especially like algebra and geometry.

Complicated geometry problems can almost never be solved by a single-step calculation but once you reach a “Eureka” moment after staring into the figure for hours and applying every possible formula on it, the answer is just around the corner. Throughout my high school years, I represented Korea in many international competitions such as the IRML, WMTC and HMMT. In the 2015 HMMT, I led the Korean team as the captain and ranked individual 33rd, the first time ever for a Team Korea member to place in the top 50. Furthermore, I am a co-founder of the Korea Youth Math Association and am a member of the KGSEA Math Circle.

As for sciences, I have written 4 research papers, hold 3 patents, worked as an intern for 2 labs and won awards in numerous competitions. To name a few, I won the gold medal in the national round of the International Environmental Project Olympiad, and with that topic wrote a research paper and presented it at the ICEEA conference. Here I was the only student yet won the Best Paper Award.

While my interests in science were mostly focused on chemistry and physics, iGEM opened up a totally new scope for me. As a member participating in iGEM for the second time, I am grateful for both the professional knowledge and cooperative teamwork iGEM has provided. Synthetic biology is a newly emerging yet rapidly growing branch of science, and does not exist in nature yet creates mechanisms of life on Earth. My two consecutive years of iGEM led me to develop lab techniques that would otherwise never have been acquired until years later. This experience is also the main motive behind my hopes of majoring in biomedical engineering. My past two years would have been incomplete without iGEM, and I am grateful for making an end to high school with iGEM.

I'm Hyun Min Park. I would like to term myself with the word ‘diversity’ as I am interested in various fields not only in science but also in engineering and liberal arts. And also have diverging characteristics.

I am an easy­going student who loves to play basketball after school, loves to read books whenever time is available, and loves to take a nice cozy nap Huat lunch break.

However I am a person with enthusiasm when necessary. I am a passionate debater who never gives up; I am a person who respects logic, law and justice. And I am an active participant in group project.

I’m a senior who is willing to dedicate myself to upcoming events of IGEM and further research of this remarkable field known as ‘synthetic biology’. To be honest, I haven’t had a chance to deal with such field until I met my outstanding teammates who were already quite familiar with synthetic biology, and lacked knowledge. But the research we have conducted meant so much to me as a first complicated bio­lab experiment that I indulged myself into. It was interesting. I even considered it as my future career.

The past few months in participating in the team were valuable to be and I am willing make progress in our research.

My name is Sophie Lee and I am a member of the Elan Viatal IGEM team of South Korea. I am currently a senior at Miss Porter’s School, located in Farmington, Connecticut.

My main intellectual interests are in literature, social sciences, and languages, and I am seeking to study clinical psychology in the future. To me, science and social sciences seemed like very different fields that have an impermeable wall between them for a long time.

However, I eventually realized that in order to study psychology, I needed to gain research skills as well. Science and social sciences could be interdisciplinary. I had become interested in science through chemistry and biology, and I thought I would bring in what I learned in those science courses into the social sciences area, which is why I decided to participate in the 2015 IGEM competition. Research skills and the ability to conduct experiments are crucial to the study of psychology. I could use all aspects of my interests in different fields of study to enhance my future aspirations.

IGEM has been a valuable experience to me. I was able to work in a real laboratory environment and learn how to work with my teammates to work through hardships. I also discovered that science could be applied to people’s lives directly in the name of human development. I hope to use what I have gained as a participant in the 2015 IGEM competition to fulfill my goals in the future.

My name is Ji Hoon Kang. Since I was young, book has been good friend of mine. Through diverse books, Icould have learn knowledges in various fields, and also learn to think “critically”, while comparing my one opinion to that of the authors.

Developing this ability for years, I was able to get into the Global Leader Program at Bugil Academy. This program was the place where I was enable to boost my critical thinking ability, with rigorous everyday discussion­based classes, such as Argumentation & Ethics and AP European History, and diverse extracurricular activities, including Model United Nations club and investment club. With these experiences in high school, I believe that I have gained some knowledges in Sociology.

However, I hardly had any chances to apply my critical thinking ability in science fields. It was Team Elan Vital that offered me a chance to achieve my aspiration, while I was lamenting my lack of knowledges in science fields.

With this experience, I was able to gain overflowing knowledges about how bio­labs are conducted, and also the importance of well structured design in terms of experiments.

Although I am not an expert in Biology unlike all other teammates are, I believe, or, hope, that I had contributed to the team with endless yearnings for knowledge and effort. Again, I would like to thank all my team members for their hard work in the project.

My name is Brittany Lee and I am currently a sophomore at Yongsan International School of Seoul. During my spare time I enjoy listening to music as it helps me relieve my stress and let out my emotions. I also really enjoy taking long walks in the city as there are so many beautiful places in Seoul. Another passion of mine is traveling. While living in Hong Kong for three years, I had a chance to visit many unique places. I love seeing new locations and people.

Ever since I first encountered the subject of biology in 8th grade I have been interested in various areas of biology. I was introduced to iGEM by a friend that I have been friends with for over 10 years and I am very glad she told me about this opportunity.

When our team first met all together, I felt very awkward because we all go to different schools and have never met each other before. However, as we spent more time with each other we got a lot closer. The members were all very welcoming and helpful in many ways. Although the long lab sessions and meetings were tiring, I'm glad I joined because I was able to gain knowledge and many new friends.

Like I mentioned above, I love going to new locations and meeting new people. IGEM has been able to give me joy in those areas. I have never been to Boston so I am looking forward to it!

My name is Nu Ri Choi. I’m a sophomore who likes not just biology and science, but also football and rock music. I’m a big fan of Manchester United and Eintracht Frankfurt, the first of which I have been supporting since I was nine, and has been the cause for much passion and joy. As of for music, I love the Foo Fighters and Lifehouse. I love playing guitar, which I’ve been playing casually as a hobby since I was in sixth grade.

I also am an avid debater, and I will represent Korea at the National Speech and Debate Association Summer Tournament in 2016, as well as coming in the top three in numerous national tournaments.

Currently I live in Seongnam, Korea, a suburban city in the vicinity of the capital Seoul, where I go to school. Before that I lived in the Philippines, where I attended Brent International School of Manila, which helped me adjust not only to a world of different cultures and people, but also to an English­based education. Having spent my whole life international school, I’ve studied a more American­style curriculum of science, and I believe that has helped me get a lot more exposure to the science I needed to know in order to contribute to this project.

I’ve been studying biology for about three years now, and I started preparing for iGEM since last August, meeting up with other teammates at the lab and getting some hands­on experience.

Learning synthetic biology was something new and amazing for me, and the concept of modifying life was fascinating. I’m looking forward to participating in iGEM this year, and I hope that our group not only does well but also learns a lot from this experience.

My name is Seungmeen Choi. I am a member of the Elan Vital 2015 Korean Science Research Team. I am a freshman currently attending Seoul Foreign School. I am the youngest member of the team. My favorite hobby is photography. This is why I took a role as a photographer for the team. When I first joined the team, I felt very uncomfortable. This was because I was the youngest and I didn’t know how to start a conversation. However as time went by, the awkwardness faded away as my team members took care of me and started talking to me.

I did not have a lot of experience and knowledge in molecular biology when I first joined the team. However, throughout the course of experiments and research, I have accumulated a lot of knowledge throughout the year with my teammates and instructors.

I joined this club in August 2014 because of a recommendation from a previous member of iGEM last year. Coincidentally, the night before I was given the option to join the team, I had a dream where I ate a lot of medicine because I was sick. To me, this path seemed like destiny.

Being a part of ‘Elan Vital’ was a choice, which I took, and I don’t regret it at all. During the course of completing the project, many sacrifices were made but it was worth it on the long run. I feel like I have acquired a lot of social and scientific knowledge.

My name is Soo Ji Lee. I can introduce myself with two things: a violin and books. Since I was 8, I have played the violin. With a lot of effort, now I can play it well, so I usually relieve my stress by playing the violin. And I also love to read books and it became the motive energy to be curious to various fields, such as history, literature, science and math. I got a huge amount of background knowledge through books and it became a big help to me when I participated to the Igem-project as a member.

Unlike other members, I have never been to foreign countries or international school. So this project was another challenge for me. Though I have learned and used English since I was young, but I had more difficulties compared to other members. And what I have learned through the books supported me in many ways. It was easy for me to learn about bio-labs and I could understand this project exactly. So I could figure out the solution when our team faced the difficulties.

This project gave me an unforgettable memory. I did the lab experience for the first time, and I had some great team members whom I work with in the lab. I could cooperate with them by sharing each one's idea. This experience taught me not only scientific knowledge but also the methods how I can work with other members by communicating with each other. Though there were tough moments, but every moment was a priceless time to me.


Yu jin Hwang


Jeff Hannah


Yae sung Mun


Min Ji Lee