Applicants, SPA

  • Alexander Ditzel

    Dr. Ditzel is a postdoctoral researcher at the US Naval Research Laboratory, where he is working on synthetic bacteriophage development, addressing the global challenge of antibiotic resistance. As the founder and chairman of the Gogec competition, he is deeply committed to democratizing synthetic biology education, fostering accessibility and inclusivity in the field. Beyond the lab, Dr. Ditzel is interested in a variety of topics, such as geopolitics, artificial intelligence, and psychology.

  • Connor Hines

    Doctoral Candidate studying Prokaryotic and Archaeal metabolism and metabolic pathways. Interested in improving Methanosarcina acetivorans as a model organism. Currently working at Los Alamos National Laboratory under a SCGSR Fellowship.

  • Liyam Chitayat

    I am passionate about building programmable and evolveable interfaces between systems. Inspired by the evolvability of living systems, I studied my double major degree in Chemistry and Biology and completed Summa Cum Lauda (ranking among the top 10 female students in the faculty of exact sciences) at Tel Aviv University. During My MSc in biomedical engineering, I co-led the iGEM TAU team and executed my thesis research aiming to encode differential expression into genetic elements transformed into a microbiome, in light of lateral gene transfer.

    I was selected in 2022 to serve as a program officer in the Bioengineering Unit of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, where I won the accelerator prize for pioneering innovation and was the youngest member of the 40 under 40 list of “the marker” Israel. I am passionate about biotech democratization and outreach, which I have done by starting a “by student for student” biotech entrepreneurship nonprofit called Nucleate.

  • Gia-Bao Dam

  • Jiwoo Kim

    I am a graduate student in Silberg Lab at Rice University. My thesis is focused on studying the effect of water potential on the behaviors of soil microbes by engineering them to act as gas reporters. Outside of the lab, I am involved in the graduate student association of my department, and I like to hang out with my pets.

  • Jie Zhou

  • Robyn Alba

    I am a graduate student at Rice University in the synthetic biology lab of Dr. Caroline Ajo-Franklin where I study exoelectrogenic bacteria. My research seeks to elucidate extracellular electron transfer mechanisms in the probiotic bacteria for applications in biosensing and biocomputing. Before my time as a graduate student, I spent nine years as a music performer and educator, teaching students of all ages! I have carried my passion for education into my science research and hope to become a professor in the future.

  • Jérémie Marlhens

    I’m a graduate student with a background in mathematics, biology, and synthetic biology. I’ve worked on machine learning and conducted research in labs worldwide, in different areas of Biology. I’m passionate about research, eager to learn, and committed to ethical science. I look forward to being part of the EBRC community and collaborating on exciting synthetic biology projects.

  • Neil Dalvie

    I completed my PhD in chemical engineering at MIT in 2022, where I improved the manufacturing of therapeutic proteins by protein engineering and yeast genome engineering. Now, I am a Fellow in the Synthetic Biology Hive at Harvard Medical School and am supported by a Schmidt Science Fellowship for postdoctoral research. I studied chemical engineering as an undergraduate at Northwestern University, and I am originally from San Diego, CA.

  • Abdul Muntakim Rafi

    I am a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of British Columbia. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology and later pursued my Master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Windsor.
    My current research concentrates on employing machine learning to design cis-regulatory models, develop methods to interpret them, and explore ways to enhance their performance, contributing to a quantitative comprehension of cis-regulatory logic. I have expertise in various programming languages and machine learning libraries, publications in top-tier ML conferences, and experience of working as a machine learning engineer in software companies and startups.

  • Maya Kaul

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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