Profiles

  • Eva Ottum

  • Franco Tavella

    I’m currently a graduate student in Biophysics at the University of Michigan. Originally, I’m from Argentina where I studied Physics and engaged in several research opportunities in synthetic biology. I’m passionate about working towards a more sustainable future by partnering with Biology.

  • Esther Jimenez

    I am a first-generation college graduate, now pursuing a Ph.D. at Rice University, from a Hispanic heritage that was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I entered Rice University as part of the Biochemistry and Cell Biology program and now have the privilege of being a part of the Ajo-Franklin, primarily focusing on furthering the field of Engineered Living Materials. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, caring for my corgi Mocha, and trying the wide diversity of food Houston offers.

  • Natalia Crystal Ubilla-Rodriguez

    Natalia is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. As an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, she was an NIH IMSD fellow (Initiative for Maximizing Student Development) and recipient of many awards including the UCSC Tony Fink Memorial Student Award and Koret Undergraduate Research Scholarship. Natalia is also a 2019 NIH Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) and a 2020 Rackham Merit Fellow. Natalia is passionate about DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) efforts and her research interest broadly includes the functionality between cargo and bacterial nano compartments and their applications in synthetic biology and food systems.

  • Bojing Jiang

  • Tyler Lucci

    I am a class of 2026 PhD student in the chemical engineering department at Northwestern University. My research primarily focuses on cell-free synthetic biology with applications in biosensing. Prior to joining Northwestern University, I worked for three years as a chemical process engineer.

  • Wilson Sinclair

    Wilson Sinclair is a Postdoctoral Scholar at EBRC working in the Security focus area. His primary interests are synthetic biology investment, biosecurity policy, building a robust bioeconomy, and microbiome engineering. He is passionate about breaking down barriers between research disciplines and building bridges between experts in engineering biology and social sciences across academia, industry, government, and advocacy to solve complex global problems.

    Prior to joining EBRC, Wilson was a Science Policy Intern at the NIH Office of Science Policy where he supported short- and long-term development of programs relating to bioethics, data science, and clinical research policy. His graduate research utilized bioorthogonal chemistry to study host-pathogen interactions in tuberculosis for therapeutic discovery. Over nearly a decade at the bench, he has applied his broad skills as a chemical biologist to several projects across the fields of glycobiology, synthetic chemistry, cancer immunology, and epitranscriptomics.

    Wilson holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stanford University. He also has a B.A. from Haverford College majoring in Chemistry with a Biochemistry concentration and Spanish minor. He is a Chicago native and enjoys spending his free time trying new restaurants, solving puzzles, and exploring museums.

  • Yuzhong Liu

    I grew up in Hangzhou, China and went on to pursue my B.Sc. degree in Chemistry at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where I developed chemical tools for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease under the guidance of Professor Mi Hee Lim. In 2013, I started graduate school at UC Berkeley and joined Professor Omar Yaghi’s group where my research interest focused on the design and synthesis of crystalline woven covalent organic frameworks with exceptional mechanical properties. Since 2018, I have been a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Jay Keasling’s lab working on biosynthesis of terpene-derived molecules in yeast.

  • Victoria Yell

    I am in my fifth year of PhD research under the advisory of Dr. Sirius Li at North Carolina State University in the Department of Plant Biology. The focus of my research is understanding the genetic mechanisms that lead to detrimental growth effects in lignin bioengineered plants. While my main project is largely focused on basic science, I am very interested in the industrial applications, regulation, and deployment of bioengineered energy and bioproduct producing crops.

  • Christien Dykstra

    Ph.D. candidate working on receptor design for metabolic engineering. Instructor at the Canadian Synthetic Biology Education and Research Group (CSBERG) where we teach engineering biology principles to highschoolers and undergraduate students. My project focuses on opioid production and detection in yeast.

  • Vivian Hu

    I am a third year BME PhD candidate at Northwestern University at Neha Kamat’s Lab.

  • Taylor Gunnels

    I am a fourth year Ph.D. student interested in making smarter medicines. My passion for research began as an undergraduate at Boston University in Dr. Xue Han’s neuroengineering lab, and shortly thereafter I learned my affinity for translational spaces while I worked in industry supporting preclinical pharmaceutic science research. After spending several years as a leader and officer in the United States Air Force, it has been my privilege to return to the lab as a graduate student working under my advisors, Dr. Josh Leonard and Dr. Neha Kamat. I’m currently passionate about therapeutic applications of mammalian synthetic biology and extracellular vesicles.

  • Caroline Ajo-Franklin

    Caroline Ajo-Franklin earned a B.S. in chemistry from Emory University in Atlanta, GA in 1997 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA in 2004. She trained as Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Pam Silver in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, MA from 2005-2007. From 2007-2019, she was a Staff Scientist within the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA. In 2019, she joined the faculty of Rice University in Houston, TX as a Professor of BioSciences with joint appointments in Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Her strongly interdisciplinary, highly collaborative research program focuses on exploring the interface between living organisms and non-living materials and engineering this interface for applications in energy, environment, and biomedicine. Prof. Ajo-Franklin was named as a recipient of the Women@ the Lab award in 2018 and as Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Scholar in 2019. She is on the Editorial Board of ACS Synthetic Biology and is an Editor at mSystems.

  • Hossein Moghimianavval

    I am a PhD student with an engineering background, and I am fascinated by biology and how we can engineer it with synthetic biology tools. I am specifically interested in intercellular communication and how novel mechanisms can emerge using protein engineering techniques.

  • Elena Del Pup

    MSc in Plant Sciences at Wageningen University. Visiting student at the Rhee Lab at Carnegie Institution for Science on Stanford University.

  • Lucas Fluegel

    Born and raised 30 minutes south of Minneapolis, I migrated into the city to attend the University of Minnesota and study synthetic organic chemistry with Prof. Tom Hoye. It was there that I recognized the power of biological systems to perform difficult chemical reactions in remarkably sustainable and efficient ways. Inspired, I moved to Scripps Research in Florida to start my current projects investigating the biosynthetic enzymes that perform these transformations with Prof. Ben Shen. I am also privileged to be involved with multiple science outreach and communication initiatives.

  • Tommy Primo

    Graduated from the University of Utah with triple majors in Chemistry, Physics and Applied mathematics, and currently a First Year Ph.D Student at the University of Washington pursuing Synthetic biology and as well as Tissue engineering

  • Tirupathi Malavath

    I’m a PhD student working plant pigment protein complexes

  • Matthew Williams

    I am a Masters of Biotechnology student at Northwestern University with a bachelors degree in biology from University of Chicago. Before attending Northwestern I worked as a bioformulation scientist at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics and a clincal lab associate at Tempus. I worked in a gut microbiome lab studying hsp25 expression during my undergraduate years.

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