• César Aarón Villalobos

    I am a biotechnologist interested in bioengineering, especially the application of mathematical modelling to biomolecular systems and bacterial population dynamics. I work on plasmids, antibiotics, and genetic engineering.

  • Massimo Bellato

    I got my Master’s in Bioengineering at the University of Pavia – Italy, in the BMS lab headed by Prof. Paolo Magni, with a thesis on modeling metabolic burden in Synthetic biology. I then started a PhD in Bioengineering and Bioinformatics in the same laboratory, focusing on CRISPR interference genetic circuits and metabolic burden. I also spent a visiting period at the Del Vecchio laboratory – MIT.
    In the last years, I moved to the University of Padova where I’m starting in collaboration with other Professors a research line in medical synthetic biology, focusing on quorum quenching and phage engineering against AMR. I’ve also been PI for the Italian iGEM team 2023

  • Joshua Atkinson

    Dr. Atkinson’s research aims to use approaches from synthetic biology, protein engineering, biophysics and electrochemistry to understand and control how microbes and proteins transport electrons. The Atkinson Lab seeks to elucidate the critical role electron transport plays in energy and information processing in cells and microbial communities and to use this knowledge to engineer new biotechnologies that address societal challenges in sustainability, environmental monitoring & remediation, chemical synthesis, and resource recovery & extraction. Areas of current emphasis are the development and application of design rules for (i) how microorganisms use proteins to regulate electron transfer in metabolic networks, (ii) how electron flows shape the structure of microbial communities that impact geochemical cycles, and (iii) how living electronic materials can be built that couple the information processing and catalytic capabilities of biology with electrochemical devices.

  • Feilun Wu

    I received my BS in Biomedical Engineering from University of Virginia where I conducted research in systems biology, tissue engineering, and neuroscience. I joined Lingchong You’s Lab at Duke University for my PhD where I studied microbial community ecology using synthetic biology approaches, machine learning, and microfluidics. I am currently a research scientist working with John Glass at JCVI on expanding the toolkit for whole genome transplantation, which is a foundational technology that enabled the construction of the minimal cells.

  • Hajar Estiri

    I hold a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine and currently serve as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Synthetic Biology Group at JCVI. My career is defined by a deep commitment to leveraging synthetic biology to combat diseases and create a sustainable, secure environment for future generations and all life on Earth. This dedication drives me to seek innovative solutions for a healthier, safer world.

  • Aishwarya itra

    Sparky is a Master’s student at Columbia University. Her research at the J. Craig Venter Institute has focused on climate-related applications of synthetic biology and genetically engineering JCVI’s minimal cell. She fills her time outside of the lab as a writer and activist finding unexpected allies in unexpected spaces to develop unexpected solutions to problems, such as housing and gun violence, facing the community at-large.

  • Nathan Lanclos

    Hi, my name is Nathan! I am a PhD student in the joint UC Berkeley and UCSF bioengineering program. I study metabolic engineering and protein engineering for the production of various chemicals and products. I have a background in economics, and I’d like to pursue commercializing industrial bioprocesses in the future.

  • Ilenne Del Valle

    Ilenne Del Valle is a Research Staff Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Chile and her Ph.D. in Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology from Rice University, where she worked in the Silberg and Masiello lab. Following her Ph.D., she served as a postdoctoral researcher in the Eckert lab at ORNL. Currently, her research focuses on engineering new synthetic biology tools to facilitate ecosystem engineering, with a specific emphasis on environmental, energy, and sustainability applications.

  • Leili Rohani

    Dr. Leili Rohani is a Stem Cell Scientist at the School of Biomedical Engineering, University of British Columbia, and upcoming Research Scientist at MIT Synthetic Biology Center and Department of Biological Engineering. Her research has been focused on stem cells, regenerative medicine, cell therapy, and cell-fate engineering with the intent to provide a platform for future gene and precision therapies for heart diseases. She is passionate about combining tissue engineering, single-nuclei RNA sequencing and synthetic biology tools to create a human single cell atlas of heart disease as a basis for understanding, diagnosing, monitoring, and treating heart diseases. Her end goal is to look at the SynBio platform (tissue engineering, single nuclei RNAseq, synthetic biology) as a new vocabulary for disease studies to determine the ways in which cells and disease genes act, which cells are disrupted in disease, which programs change in them, what mechanisms underlie their (dis)regulation, how their cell-cell communications are affected, and what would be the impact of therapies. Beyond her research, she is passionate about science communication, networking, and collaboration.

  • Cameron Kim

    Cameron Kim is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University and member of the Duke Center for Advanced Genomic Technologies. He received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering at Stanford where he studied protein and RNA-based control systems within alternative splicing devices for mammalian synthetic biology applications. Since coming to Duke in 2020, Dr. Kim has been researching ethics-guided design frameworks for emergent biotechnologies, including gene and cell-based therapies, to improve the classroom experience for biomedical engineering students through team and project-based learning. He serves as the research advisor for the Duke International Genetically Engineered Machine undergraduate research group to promote authentic research experiences and mentor the next generation of bioengineers. Currently, Dr. Kim and his undergraduate team of 15 students are initiating a project on developing high-throughput screening of novel protein secretion signals to stimulate chimeric antigen receptor T cells for signal amplification. He also serves as the Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies in Biomedical Engineering. In recognition of his teaching, he received the Bass Connections Leadership Award and the Klein Family Distinguished Teaching award in 2023. Overall, his work aims to advance the field of biomedical engineering through innovative education and research, with a focus on improving society through emergent biotechnologies.

  • Laura Guerrero

    I am interested in using cell free systems to better understand peptide-level disease associations.

  • Nidhi Mehta

    Nidhi is a graduate student in the Chemistry department at the University of Washington under the supervision of Jesse Zalatan. She is working on engineering synthetic bacterial communication for applications in biosynthesis and therapeutics. She graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington. Outside of research, Nidhi will serve as the Mentee Recruiting chair for EBRC.

  • Samantha Dyer

  • Bojing Jiang

    I am currently a third-year PhD student in the field of Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to this, I completed my MPhil degree in Bioengineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. My primary research focus lies in the realm of materials synthetic biology.

  • Brian Darst

    Brian is a PhD student in the Carothers lab at the University of Washington, where he develops dynamic CRISPRa/i-based programs for metabolic engineering of non-model bacteria. He received degrees in Biochemistry and Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from North Carolina State University. Prior to graduate school, he worked at a food technology startup leveraging synthetic biology to create dairy proteins via industrial fermentation. Brian is passionate about leveraging biology to help tackle environmental and ecological issues worldwide.

  • Zachary Harmer

    I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Utah in 2019. I joined the Cellular and Molecular Biology PhD program at UW-Madison in 2019 and joined the McClean Lab. I am interested in expanding the optogenetic toolkit by developing novel optogenetic actuators and combining optogenetics with laboratory automation techniques. I am developing methods for multiplexing optogenetic signals by taking advantage of the native differences in their kinetics and applying this to control microbial community structures.

  • Vincent Zaballa

    I work in systems biology and machine learning, with a focus on high throughput screening. If I’m not thinking about entropy reduction, I’m thinking about how proteins may fit together. Happy to talk probabilistic machine learning if anyone is interested!

  • Geoff Baldwin

    Geoff Baldwin is Professor of Synthetic & Molecular Biology at Imperial College London, he is Co-Director of the Imperial College Centre for Synthetic Biology and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in BioDesign Engineering. Research work in the Baldwin lab focuses on the development of synthetic biology approaches to facilitate the engineering of new biological systems for real-world applications. To this end he has developed foundational tools that transform our ability to rapidly prototype new biological designs, like DNA-BOT, automated DNA assembly based on the BASIC method. These fundamental developments are being applied across a broad range of projects that address gene circuit design; RNA feedback control and in vivo directed evolution for the generation of new protein specificity and functionality. Recently he has been developing new AI based approaches to enhance our ability to engineer new biological systems with human interpretable outcomes and only sparse sampling of the design space.

  • Adjo Kadjo

    Elodie Kadjo is a Ph.D. candidate conducting research in Dr. Alessandra S. Eustaquio’s laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before that she obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is interested in microbial engineering and bioinformatic.

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