Meet the HKUST-Rice Team!

HKUST-Rice iGEM 2015 is a large team! HKUST-Rice iGEM 2015 team is composed of 31 student members- 18 from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and 13 from Rice University; and 4 instructors, 2 from each university. Our team is the first cross continental team in iGEM. The benefit of forming a large joint team is that we have members from different fields who contribute different perspectives to the project.

Greetings from HKUST!

Ming Fung Cheung Eric
Year 3 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
As a responsible team leader, Eric devoted a lot of his time to iGEM. He is impassioned and consistently keeps track of each modules’ progress, (EVERY SINGLE STEP, to be precise.) While performing lab tasks, Eric is extremely focused and serious. However, he has a hidden sense of humor which only comes out if you have spent enough time with him. He can keep his blank chipmunk-like expressions and suddenly come up with a one-liner that makes everyone burst into laughter. He also has a STRONG obsession with riboregulator and other synthetic biological questions and we simply wish him all the luck to fulfill his curiosities.

Siu Wang Ng Edward
Year 3 Biotechnology
Edward is a pure gentleman. When you feel confused and discouraged by challenges, he will always say that it will be alright. He can really encourage someone even if that someone is totally lost! We do not know how he can remain calm in the face of adversity and so considerate to his teammates. Although being the Wise Man of our team he was caught red handed making origami out of aluminum foil! Team Edward!

Rina Sakata
Year 2 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
A highly perseverant and smart teammate who actively engages in the project planning and laboratory work. A girl that brings lots of vitality to the team and her open-hearted character makes her easily approachable to everyone. She is also known as the Grandma because of the “buffering” time she needs to process when someone suddenly says something to her. Her priority and dedication to lab work is truly admirable.

Khandaker Samiha
Year 2 Life Science
Samiha is a really sweet girl and you can feel it especially when she smiles at you and blink her eyes. She is in the expression platform group where she ran a lot of gel and did a lot of checking to make sure every step is reliable and successful. She was so obsessed with cloning her constructs that she woke up in the middle of the night asking "So what do we ligate?". As a member of the design group, she also designs things unrelated to iGEM including building a snowman using leftover ice.

Kar On Cheng Karen
Year 2 Life Science
Karen, well let’s just say the lab runs smoothly because of her. Every single day she manages to come to lab by 8:30 and no has been able to beat her record. All our daily needs, including LB, plates, autoclaved bottles, agar plates etc, is monitored by her tirelessly and voluntarily. If we can’t find something, she is the first person to go to. She can be so diligent and at the same time be the most cute and gem of a person to talk to.

Men Yi Siu Mona
Year 3 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Mona is an intelligent graphic designer who was one of the members working on our team logos and T-shirt, using her profession in re-filling colors of logos using painting software. She has been very patient and helpful in modifying the wiki slider for numerous trials. While doing lab work, she highly focuses on her work to make sure everything goes right. However, the only area she needs to work on is improving her “eating speed”-one of the slowest eater.

Tam Lut Fei Phoebe
Year 3 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Phoebe is an affable, joyful and the prettiest girl ;) Besides working in lab throughout the summer, she has also come up with some of the beautiful designs in the wiki and banner. She is also named “the human incubator” as she cannot feel the cold. I think most of us could remember her as the person who wore a T-shirt in winter while we were wearing a thick down jacket. So, if our incubator is gets to crowded, we could always use her!

Yiu Pei Tung Stephanie
Year 3 Biotechnology
Stephanie boosts up the intense lab atmosphere with her humorous jokes and her greetings with “Yo peeps!. Her making up cute stories for remembering each protocol helps her group mates go through each day without panicking. Days when she catches a cold are the lucky days in lab as she uses her Mickey Mouse voice to speak. Her intentional frown face in every photo makes it easy to spot her. The girl who is also known as the “gel smasher” has another side which is a very independent and confident person. Despite all her “swag” she manages to not miss a single day of lab and helps others by her own will. If you are having a bad day, just go to her as she is the person who will know how to cheer you up. A multi tasked and a valuable member every team needs.

Brian Anugerah Urip
Year 2 Life Science
Brian is a year 2 student who is truly passionate in Biotechnology. He is sweet, smart, calm, and he can get everything under control. He is a good listener, a great friend to everyone and gives ideas to help others in their work. He loves eating dessert and he really likes Dinosaurs (weird). He is a member who is not only good at his “design” skills but is also good at many languages including Indonesian, English and Mandarin.

Lok Yi Tang Mandy
Year 3 Biotechnology
Mandy the girl with the signature braided hair, is a kind-hearted person who is always willing to answer people’s questions. She is so calm and pleasant it is almost shocking when she makes the randomest comments. Despite living furthest away from lab amongst the team, her passion brings her to lab one of the earliest in the morning. She also showed her creativity skills as one of the person in charge of the graphic design.

Ka Man Tam Sabrina
Year 3 Biotechnology
Sabrina Tam is so friendly and adorable! Sabrina is a determined person and is really good in her laboratory skills, she loves working in the lab! She is also one of the wiki page team members who organized all our content and monitored our website very well. For a person who looks so young, she is the most mature and responsible for all the outings we had as a team. Our appreciations towards her for always taking care of us kids patiently ;)

Felicia Samin
Year 2 Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Feli is an Indonesian sophomore majoring in Chemical Engineering and also the secretary of our iGEM team who is responsible for the “minutes” of every single long meetings we have. She is a cheerful and a joyful person, basically she laughs a lot. She loves animals so much that she once had a peculiar pet- a kangaroo!! She has made most of the creative diagrams made in our wiki. A great friend who is there whenever anyone needs help of any sort.

Qingyang Wang Alice
Year 2 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Alice, the girl who always smiles. She is optimistic when facing any situation. She always tries to learn new things and is persistent until she completely understands something in lab. She is doing IRE (International Research Enrichment) Program, have worked with professors in research Lab and what not, she is really one of the smartest people we have in our team.

To Yee Ki Alice
Year 2 Civil and Environmental Engineering
Alice is very amiable and helpful. She is always ready to help, in case you have a difficulty. She always talks about the mental health first aid course she attended, you may find her if you are stressed in the lab. Karen thinks people will find it’s lucky to have a friend like her.

Ho Yin Lee Thomas
Year 3 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Thomas is a person who is highly intelligent. Sometimes you might be confused by his brilliant ideas but he will kindly explain to you. By the way, he is so tall that you are able to recognise him at a glance. Though you have to speak with your head up, you will find the conversation really interesting.

Lok Chun Chan Justin
Year 2 Life Science
Justin is a kind and patient guy who is always willing to listen and teach his teammates. His specialty and passion is in mathematics and physics, which is why he is responsible for any “modelling” work in Lab. He also willingly reads numerous research papers to help his group go forward more efficiently with all the information he gained.

Amanda Liusnando
Year 2 Life Science
Amanda, another Life Science student, a crazily diligent and surprisingly humble girl. She is the sweetest person in lab and so caring that she can do anything to make others happy. She manages to be an active member in iGEM, even with her many other roles and duties in other programs in the university (how does she do it?!) Besides, she never stops working in lab, and always asks 'what other things should we do now?'

Agnieszka Monika Lesniak
Year 2 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Agnieszka, a Polish who somehow ended up in Hong Kong is one of the most fun person in Lab. One of her favorite procedure in the lab is microwaving the agarose solution to make gel for gel electrophoresis, a procedure she adores so much that she even made a historic gel with ddH2O instead of TAE Buffer (unintentionally!) and figured out the mistake after she ran the gel. Everyone’s laptop in the lab has tabs open for her to watch “cat videos” and read Polish news. Her strange catchphrase is “oh my God that’s disgusting!”.

Welcome to Rice!

Kendall Burks
Year 3 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Kendall is a rising junior studying Biochemistry and Cell Biology. As a plant researcher/enthusiast, she is excited to be part of a collaborative iGEM Team working on NPK sensors (which can help plants!). Additionally, she excels strongly in sending e-mails and discussing policy and human practices while staying organized. When Kendall’s not in lab or studying for the MCAT, she can be seen playing tennis for the club team or working out in the gym like a BOSS. Additionally, she is my enabler by supplying me with an endless stream of yummy potato chips.

Steven Hao-Jen Chen
Year 2 Bioengineering
Steven, a rising sophomore born and raised in the island of Taiwan, is an optimist who is absolutely in love with Rice experience. He is generally a laid-back person who’s up for anything interesting and loves meeting new people, trying out new things, and hanging out. Having a great passion for Biology, Steven enjoys doing lab work and is fascinated by the countless intricacies and opportunities that life offers. If not studying, the usual Steven can be seen jogging(WHAT??), hanging out with friends, and singing in a Rice A Cappella group called “The Apollos.” Steven cannot say no to Japanese food and the presence of shiba inus, and he strongly believes in the motto “work hard, play hard.”

Yongin Choi
Year 3 Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with Minor in Biochemistry and Cell Biology
On the outside, Yongin appears quiet, but he is a lean, mean cloning machine. Yongin, though a CHBE, takes difficult Biochemistry courses such as Biochemistry 1 and 2, notoriously hard at Rice University. He handles the classes with ease and calm, similar to the way that he works in the Segatori Lab. In his own way, Yongin is humorous and an active member of the Tea Enthusiasts Association.

Nikola Dyulgyarov
Year 2 Bioengineering
Member of Will Rice College. Avid photographer. Incredibly smart. Works in the Tabor Lab. No further description necessary.

John Luke Garcia
Year 2 Physics with Minor in Biochemistry and Cell Biology
John Luke is excited to go to Hong Kong and work on the NPK Project! Outside of lab, he loves to sing -- he’s in an a cappella group called the “Rice Philharmonics.”

Veronica Gough
Year 4 Bioengineering
Veronica left her native Southern California habitat to study bioengineering in Houston, TX. She spends most of her days in lab engineering viruses (don’t worry, they’re the not-gonna-kill-you kind). She’s always dancing, be it on the football field where she is captain of the dance team, in the library trying to memorize a complicated signaling pathway, or in lab during a wait step. She loves to be busy, which is good because school, lab, and dance consume most of her time. But, when she does get a break, Veronica enjoys reading fantasy novels, doing hot yoga, and eating yummy food with her friends (see picture).

Kenny Groszman
Year 3 Bioengineering
He describes himself as “tall, dark, muscular, and a liar”. Born in Argentina and residing in sunny South Florida, his aspiration for college was to escape the heat-- he ended up in Houston. On the rare occasion where he leaves the Bioscience Research Collaborative, the site of all of his bioengineering classes and his research lab, he enjoys rock climbing and being involved at his residential college.

Margaret Lie
Year 3 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Margaret, a rising junior, is pursuing a degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. A Louisiana native, Margaret has made Rice University her second home--specifically the lab where she works as an obliging slave to her constructs. If she’s not in the lab, you’ll probably find her lending academic pearls of wisdom to her fellow students as a peer advisor and teaching assistant. She enjoys many forms of entertainment in her (limited!) spare time--anything from refined orchestral performances to daring acrobatic feats posted on YouTube. (We suspect she’s collecting data on how to become the next American Ninja Warrior.) Margaret is incredibly excited to contribute to the revival of the Rice iGEM team--the school’s first since 2008--thanks to the support of HKUST!

Shilpa Nataraj
Year 4 Biochemistry and Cell Biology & Psychology

Lara Pferdehirt
Year 4 Bioengineering
Lara stayed in Texas to study bioengineering, but she tries to sneak off to her second-home, Istanbul, every chance she gets. Lara spends most of her time in lab engineering proteins. She can flow like no other, flow cytometry that is. Outside of school and lab, Lara enjoys spending time with friends, going on adventures around Houston (mainly in search of new places to eat), and watching Netflix. She needs coffee to function, and whenever there’s a cat around she finds a way to befriend it, making her a self-proclaimed cat whisperer.

Ashkan Rohani
Year 2 Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Who is the true Ashkan? We shall never know. All that we can gather is that he is a resident of Martel College and works in the Warmflash Lab.

Dana Smith
Year 2 Bioengineering
Dana lives a rather average life outside of iGem. She enjoys working out in her spare time and avoiding the freshman 15; however her chubby bunny, Buckwheat, has not. Dana's weaknesses include applesauce, jello, and slushies. If she's not studying or napping, she's probably on Pinterest.

Zilu Peter Tang
Year 2 Bioengineering
Some say he swam to the US from China without stopping. Some say he invented a teleporter and teleported over to the US, but promptly destroyed it because why not? Others say he disguised himself as a normal person and flew over here like the rest of us normal folk. But one thing is for certain, this originally Chinese native is in the United States. This being, or whatever you call him, spends a lot of time at the gym, perfecting his already perfectly chiseled body. He is a studious, party animal, one of the few who can go out on a Saturday night and still complete his differential equation homework afterwards at 3 am. He is currently a sophomore pursuing bioengineering at Rice University, and is already learning how to make bacteria perform his bidding. However, just like Superman has his kryptonite and Scooby Doo his Scooby snacks, Peter Tang does have his weaknesses. He cannot say no to a homemade cookie and is addicted, ADDICTED to Pirates of the Caribbean, this dude just can’t get enough.