Profiles

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Mart Loog

    Mart Loog is a professor of molecular systems biology. Mart received Ph.D. in medicinal biochemistry from Uppsala University, Sweden in 2002, followed by postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco. In 2006 Mart established his laboratory at the newly established Institute of Technology. He has received several international fellowships and awards including The Wellcome Trust Senior International Fellowship and a startup research grant from European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). In 2012 he received Estonian National Science Prize in chemistry and molecular biology. In 2015 he was awarded the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant and became a principal coordinator of H2020 an Horizon Europe projects SynBioTEC (2016), GasFermTEC (2018), and DigiBio (2023) to establish the multidisciplinary Estonian Centre for Bioengineering. Mart’s research directions include regulation of the eukaryotic cell cycle, enzymology of cyclin-dependent kinases, multisite phosphorylation processing, and synthetic biology of signaling circuit design. He is leading a laboratory of 20 people and undergraduate and master’s programs in bioengineering.

  • Vikramaditya Yadav

    Dr. Vikramaditya G. Yadav is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he directs Canada’s premier program in Sustainable Process Engineering. He has made notable contributions to research, education, commercialization and regulation of synthetic biology and environmental biotechnology. Dr. Yadav also founded Metabolik Technologies Inc., which was acquired by Allonnia, a Bill Gates-backed company, and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Tersa Earth Innovations, a mining biotechnology company. He is also the Chief Technology Officer of React Zero Carbon, a venture catalyst and capital fund for net zero solutions, and Hilo Bio, a performance biomaterials company. He was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2021 and received UBC’s highest teaching accolade, the Killam Prize, in 2023.

  • Keith Tyo

    Keith E.J. Tyo is associate professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and (by courtesy) Microbiology and Immunology at Northwestern University and founding member of the Center for Synthetic Biology. Keith received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University, PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a NIH National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow at Chalmers University, Sweden.

    Keith’s research interests are at the intersection of Synthetic Biology, Sustainability, and Global Health. His group is focused on understanding and engineering microbial metabolism to make fuels and chemicals from renewable and waste carbon sources. His group uses genetics, metabolomics, and computational tools to guide these efforts. His second focus is on engineering protein-based biosensors that enable low-cost, point-of-care detection of important clinical biomarkers in impoverished, rural settings. His work has been published in Science and Nature Biotechnology, and has been received the NSF CAREER award.

  • Milan Mrksich

  • Robert Ziman

    Robert is a research software engineer with a decade of experience supporting bioinformatics and computational biology projects in both academia and industry. He was a bioinformatics programmer at The Centre for Applied Genomics in Toronto, a bioinformatics associate at Genentech in South San Francisco, and a research associate in the Cohen Lab for Aging, Systems, and Statistics at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec. He co-founded and co-hosted the Longevity Biotech Show podcast and has been observing the longevity biotech scene since the early 2000s. Robert holds a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto.

  • Cătălin Voiniciuc

    y research in Vancouver (Canada), Jülich (Germany) and Versailles (France) identified novel plant genes controlling the structure of extracellular matrix polysaccharides. After moving to Düsseldorf in May 2016, I applied yeast Synthetic Biology (SynBio) to reconstruct plant polysaccharides. From January 2019 to February 2022, I led an independent research group at IPB Halle to gain further mechanistic insight into the synthesis of matrix polysaccharides. In March 2022, I joined the University of Florida to lead its Plant SynBio efforts and further the Designer Glycans mission.

  • Sheela Vemu

    Associate Professor at Biology, Waubonsee Community College, IL. I am a Bio QUEST curriculum consortium fellow, contributor to the development of the Scientific Teaching Course from the National Institute of Scientific Teaching (NIST) and Editorial Board member for CBE-Life Sciences Education (LSE) journal.My doctoral training is in Pharmacology and Molecular biology. Recently, my scholarship has shifted to science education. I enjoy working with all students, especially freshman/sophomores from diverse backgrounds in biology education research projects in the aspects of effective study strategies and metacognition. I am passionate about implementing Course -Based Undergraduate Experiences (CUREs) with the lens of a quantitative data literacy to foster inclusion in a community college classroom. I continue to use project based assignments and data interpretation modules with scientific contributions of scientists who are members of historically excluded groups. Teaching is the way I connect with people, especially young people. I learn so much from them in trying to figure out how to help them learn.I enjoyed co-leading the first ASCN Inclusive STEM Teaching Project ASCN Learning community in 2021. In my workings with various groups, I learned the skills of building learning communities to foster shared common goals and attitudes while promoting an equitable participation of all members. It gave me a platform to bring the voices of the community college landscape with STEM practitioners from other institution types. The opportunities to be informed by the lived perspectives from different stakeholders, led me to ponder about the aspects of implementing and scaling change. I see myself as a change agent at the grassroots level.

  • Kaitlin Dailey

    I am a Research Instructor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Eppley Institute for Cancer Research, hosted by the labs of Dr. Michael (Tony) Hollingsworth (cancer biology, immunology) and Dr. Ken Bayles (bacterial genetics, microbiology). During my doctoral studies, I became fascinated with the many advantages oncolytic bacteria have over traditional therapeutics. As a result, I pursued specific training in genetic engineering and anaerobic bacteria. I performed ground-breaking studies, accomplishing the first CRISPR-mediated modification of Clostridium novyi-NT and established methodologies that have added to the field of biologic therapeutics. I chose post-doctorate studies at UNMC to further my training in immunology, cancer models, bacterial genetics, and microbiology. My long-term career goal is to establish a diverse and equitable academic research lab focused on genetically engineering single celled organisms for pharmaceutical and biofuel development. Additionally, I ascribe to the teacher/scholar model and intend to use my expertise to generate graduate and undergraduate courses as well as to mentor students in a laboratory setting – while fostering inclusive environments in both circumstances.

  • Devin Camenares

    I have been interested in synthetic biology for over a decade – it has motivated much of my academic career and is highlighted by involvement in iGEM. Attending the Jamboree in 2006, I returned as a volunteer in 2013 and 2014, after completing a PhD in Molecular Biology (Studying trans-translation in E. coli under Dr. Wali Karzai at Stony Brook University). I have been the primary mentor for teams at the two institutions where I taught; Kingsborough Community College (2016, 2017) and Alma College (2019 to present). I have also participated in the iGEM community in other ways, acting as a judge in 2017 and 2018, and an After iGEM committee member working on the EduHall project and, most recently, the SynBio-101 project. In addition to iGEM and other synthetic biology research, I have active research in bioinformatics, self-taught in Java and other languages.
    When I am not in the lab, meetings, or teaching, I am either spending time with my wife or daughter, or I am on the tennis courts or at the chess board (I used to be a USCF rated expert and still an avid player).

  • Jorge Marchand

    Dr. Jorge Marchand is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He did his PhD work at the University of California, Berkeley in the research group of Michelle Chang, where he worked on the discovery of biosynthetic pathways for making terminal alkyne amino acids. His postdoctoral work was done at Harvard Medical School with the George Church group. Here, he focused on engineering translation and developing new sequencing technologies to study tRNA. He now runs an independent research group that aims to utilize fundamental approaches in synthetic biology, chemical biology, biosynthesis, and biomolecular engineering for reprogramming life at the nucleic acid level.

  • Ania-Ariadna Baetica

    Dr. Ania-Ariadna Baetica is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics at Drexel University. She received her BA degree from Princeton University in 2012 and her PhD from California Institute of Technology in 2018. Following her degrees, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California San Francisco.

    Dr. Baetica’s group leverages control theory along with systems biology, synthetic biology, and computational science to solve biotechnological and medical challenges. Her group designs robust and modular synthetic biological circuits by incorporating layered feedback mechanisms.

  • Ian Ehrenreich

    My lab studies how genomes encode organisms’ phenotypes. To do this, we use techniques from genetics, molecular systems biology, and synthetic biology. In the area of synthetic biology, we have developed new approaches for building synthetic chromosomes from natural DNA.

  • Chelsea Hu

    I’m a new faculty at Texas A&M studying synthetic biology and control theory. Before moving to Texas, I completed four years of postdoctoral training in the Richard Murray Group at Caltech. I received my Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Cornell University in 2018, advised by Julius B. Lucks.

  • Ava Karanjia

    Ava Karanjia is a current PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, where her research focuses on building transcriptional programs in bacteria. Ava is working on expanding CRISPRa technologies to improve methods of transcriptional signal conversion and transduction. She is also pursuing data science and astrobiology graduate certificates. Ava has undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and microbiology from Arizona State University, where she worked on quorum sensing regulatory systems and other transcriptional activators. She has also worked at NASA Ames Research Center, where she screened and engineered non-traditional yeast candidates for in-situ microbial space technologies. Ava is a big proponent of science communication and has been actively involved in DEI outreach efforts at the University of Washington and EBRC.

  • Seung Hwan “Allen” Lee

    Seung Hwan “Allen” Lee received Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Rice University and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at Ramon Gonzalez’s lab at the University of South Florida. Allen has a strong passion in leveraging the capabilities of engineering biology to convert waste molecules into value-added products in a sustainable way. He has a special interest in engineering one-carbon (C1) metabolism for efficient utilization of C1 feedstock in biomanufacturing. In his free time, he loves to listen to classical music and play squash.

  • Samuel MD Oliveira

    I am a Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and the director of the Oliveira Lab (www.oliveiralab.me), a recently created research group at Boston University (BU). In addition, I am the Senior Manager of the DAMP lab (www.damplab.org) at BU.

    The Oliveira lab investigates the emergence of microbial community complexity and their underlying interactions in varying environmental contexts and studies microbial community design principles and metrics to help build novel collective behaviors. We hope that breakthroughs in computational and synthetic biology methods will accelerate our knowledge of the links between genetic sequences and intercellular communication to study and engineer the spatiotemporal behavior of biological networks. Among my key collaborators: i) Prof. Chris Voigt (MIT) for improving the predictive DNA design automation tool named Cello (Genetic Circuit Design Automation with Cello 2.0. Nature Protocols).

    In my early career, I have published more than 30 articles in journals, conference proceedings, and book chapters, acted as the guest Editor for JoVE, and as a reviewer for Nat. Comm., ACS Synth. Biol., Synth. Biol. J., among others. In addition, I have directly supervised and co-supervised 7 research staff, 7 graduate students (none of whom received their Ph.D. with me), 3 master’s students, and over 14 undergraduates. I was one of the recipients of the Sao Paulo Foundation’s Best Innovative Biotech Product Award in 2019. Based on that, I co-founded a commercial synthetic biology, automation-based company named Doroth (www.doroth.com.br) in Brazil.

    Currently, with the support from a $1.4M NSF grant, BU’s Professor Douglas Densmore (co-PI), Prof. Andrews (PI) from UMass Amherst, and my team (technical lead support) are teaming up on an ambitious effort to create microscopic, programmable “living devices” which can detect and neutralize specific toxic contaminants found in drinking water.

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