Applicants, SPA

  • Mayra Ameneiros

    My name is Mayra Ameneiros and I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    I have a Bachelor’s Degree and an MSc. in Biochemistry. I have 13 years of experience in different Biochemistry areas (Molecular Biology, Hematology, Immunology, Clinical Biochemistry) in both the private and public sectors.
    I have six years of experience in scientific research and as a Professor at Buenos Aires University. I am currently doing a Regional Postgraduate degree in International Security, Disarmament and, Non-proliferation of WMD.
    I have two Professional Certifications from IFBA (International Federation of Biosafety Associations) one in Biorisk Management and the other one in Biosecurity. I am also a Mentor at the IFBA Global Mentorship Program 2020/2021. I also have experience in developing training materials and translating them into Spanish, I worked along with Sandia National Laboratories, Canada´s Ministry of Health, and other relevant institutions. I am a member of the Biosafety Committee and the Biorisk Management Committee at IRAM which is the “Argentine Normalization and Certification Institute”. I am also a member of the Biosafety and Biosecurity Subcommittee at the Argentinean Association of Microbiology (AAM). I am part of the APP3 (Action Package Prevent 3) group on Biosafety and Biosecurity from the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), I am a member of The International Working Group on Strengthening the Culture of Biosafety & Biosecurity and lastly, I am a member of the Safety and Security Committee at IGEM.
    I am Argentina Coordinator and Member of the Mentorship Council for the Next Generation Global Health Security Network, working on Health security and the concept of One health.

  • Michael Nute

    I am currently a postdoc in the Treangen lab at Rice working on algorithms for analyzing microbial communities. I’m currently applying this to the host microbiome in C. Difficile patients as part of an NLM fellowship, co-advised by Dr. Tor Savidge at Baylor College of Medicine. I am interested longer term in engineering microbial communities for chemical processes and in techniques to assess properties like community stability, function, etc… I did my Ph.D. in Statistics at UIUC in 2019 where I worked on computational phylogenetics and its applications to microbial ecology and was advised by Dr. Tandy Warnow, co-advised by Dr. Rebecca Stumpf.

  • August Staubus

  • Juya Jeon

  • Alicja Brozek

    I am a first year PhD student from Imperial College London modelling the gene network underlying stem cell differentiation and robustness in C. elegans. When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy horseback riding, climbing and dancing.

  • Cynthia Ni

    Cynthia Ni is a 5th year PhD candidate in the Prather Lab at MIT. She engineers biosensor-based strategies to use food waste as a biosynthetic substrate. Sustainability and waste minimization have motivated her research and personal pursuits since her undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia. In her free time, she plays ultimate frisbee, hikes and backpacks, ferments vegetables and beer, and does ceramics.

  • Fankang Meng

    My name is Fankang Meng, and I am now a PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London. I am now the founder of two synthetic biology-related companies: Regenesis and Bio-Tampon. I was also the team leader, advisor, instructor and PI of many iGEM teams from 2015-2021. My dream is to engineer living organisms to solve problems humans face and apply synthetic biology to help us become a multi-planet civilization.

  • Kshitij Rai

    I am a graduate student in Caleb Bashor’s lab at Rice University, in the Systems, Synthetic and Physical Biology (SSPB) program. I’m broadly interested in synthetic biology, but have a particular interest in the development of platforms for high throughput analysis and screening of genetic parts and circuits. I have a background in electrical engineering and biochemical engineering, as a result of which I have an active interest in the computational and hardware side of things as well, ranging from microscopes and microfluidic chip fabrication to 3D printers and large bioreactors. I’m also a gamer and enjoy playing FIFA on the weekends and watching live soccer matches.

  • Georg KA Wachter

    Hi there, I currently live in London, having moved here from Austria 5 years ago. I did my BSc in Biochemistry and wrote my thesis in mathematical biology. I then did my Masters in Systems and Synthetic Biology, and am now in my first PhD year. Throughout my BSc and Masters I participated in lots of SynBio competitions, including BIOMOD (DNA nanotech competition at UCSF), iGEM and a start-up competition at Imperial. I am also on the steering committee of SynBioUK ( and the vice president of SynBIC (synthetic biology society at Imperial College London). When I’m not engineering biology I love to surf, play lacrosse or climb. Looking forward to joining the community!

  • Svenja Vinke

    I am a PhD student at the Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec) Bielefeld working in xenobiology and synthetic biology research. I am an enthusiastic educator who integrates teaching biosecurity risks in life-sciences study curricula and synthetic biology competitions. Currently, I am a member of the iGEM Safety and Security Committee and run the Ethics, Biosafety and Biosecurity program for the international directed evolution competition.

  • Mingming Cao

  • Maxwell Hunt

  • Kiara Reyes Gamas

  • Benjamin Tickman

    I am interested in synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and nature. Im a student in James Carothers lab at the university of Washington working on CRISPR based transcriptional controls in CFS, E. coli, and yeast. My undergraduate education was in Bio-Physics, Chemistry, and Biochemistry. Before grad-school I worked with protein nanopores for DNA sequencing and single molecule enzyme kinetics in Jens Gundlach’s lab at the university of Washington.

  • Yuanchi Ha

  • Sebastian Castillo-Hair

    I am a postdoc in the Seelig Lab at UW. I’m using massively parallel reporter assays and deep learning methods to engineer synthetic biological systems in human cells. I obtained my PhD in Bioengineering at Rice University, where I worked in optogenetics and B. subtilis synthetic biology. As an undergrad, I studied Mechatronics Engineering at Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria in Lima, Peru, where I am from.

  • Sean Leonard

    I completed my PhD in 2020 at the University of Texas at Austin, in the labs of Dr. Nancy Moran and Dr. Jeffrey Barrick. In my PhD, I developed and applied new tools to engineer the gut microbiome of honey bees. I am now a postdoctoral scholar advised by Dr. Nancy Moran, and I am continuing my work to understand and manipulate symbiont communities for human benefit, especially the gut communities of insects.

  • Arturo Casini

    I studied biology in Firenze, Italy before moving to London, UK for a Master of Research in Systems and Synthetic Biology. I spent 5 more years in London doing my PhD with Prof. Tom Ellis on developing new high-thoughput DNA assembly strategies before moving to Boston, MA to join the MIT-Broad Foundry.


    I got my master degree in Northwestern University, Biotechnology program. During that time, I worked with Professor Danielle Tullman-Ercek. My focus was laboratory evolutionary experiment and the goal is to engineer Salmonella enterica, which can grow fast with only 1 2-propanediol as carbon source.

    Right now, I am doing my PhD in Rice university, Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology. My PI is Todd Treangen. My previous work is developing alignment-based approach to detect lab-of-origin of engineered DNA sequences. The work has published in Nature Communication this year. Currently, I am developing an algorithm to detect important species in metagenomics samples. The goal is to convert metagenomic samples from disease state to healthy state by fecal transplanting important species, which are predicted using our method.

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