Profiles

  • Joshua Atkinson

    Josh is a postdoctoral fellow in Moh El-Naggar’s lab at the University of Southern California. His research focuses on using synthetic biology and protein engineering to control electron transport in biological systems. Josh is a member of the EBRC Student and Postdoc Association Board and works as a liaison to the education working group.

  • Ying-Chiang Jeffrey Lee

    Ying-Chiang is a graduate student in the Donia Lab at Princeton University. He currently works on the capture and characterization of novel bioactive microbiome-derived peptides, particularly focusing on host-microbe interactions. The long term goal is to engineer therapeutic peptides from natural templates. Before coming to Princeton, Ying-Chiang completed his undergraduate work at Washington University in St. Louis where he worked in the Moon Lab and Virgin Lab. He then completed an MPH specializing in Global Health followed by an MEng.

  • Leah Davis

    Leah is a Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student in the Daringer Lab at Rowan University. Her research focuses on engineering mammalian cell-based biosensors for the detection of extracellular ligands. Before starting graduate school, she received her undergraduate degree in Energy Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University, where she completed four internships and worked full-time for a year post graduation. If she’s not in the lab you can find her with her pug, Nugget.

  • Yan Zhang

    Yan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Styczynski Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on interfacing cell-free biosensors with new materials to advance point-of-care diagnostics. Outside of research and EBRC, Yan is involved in the iGEM Mentoring Program and Women-in-STEM initiative.

  • Eric South

    Eric J. South

    As a graduate student in the Dunlop Lab at Boston University, Eric is developing optogenetic tools and feedback control strategies to improve how heterologous metabolic pathways integrate with native host cell physiologies. He is broadly interested in how synthetic biology and computer-aided techniques are being combined to accelerate the design of engineered microbes.

  • Eric Wold

    As a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Jeffrey Tabor’s group I am learning how to blend my undergraduate studies in biotechnology with my doctoral work in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology. This effort will hopefully lead to new ideas for antimicrobial therapeutics and chemical tools for precision control of bacterial sensors. Additionally, I believe understanding the interplay between biosecurity and accessible, scalable synthetic biology is critically important, and I hope to improve my understanding through EBRC membership.

  • Xinyan Li

  • Stephen Chiu

    Current Ph.D. student in the EECE Ph.D. program of WUSTL. Interested in synthetic biology and its application in industry. Have experience in Protein expression and CRISPR/Cas9 in Bacteria and Yeast.

  • Gianna Busch

    I am a 1st year Bioengineering PhD student working in the lab of Dr. Arjun Raj at UPenn. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Arkansas in May 2021. I completed my undergraduate honors thesis in the lab of Dr. Kyle P. Quinn.

  • Quanhui Ye

    I am Quanhui Ye, a third-year P.h.D student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Before this, I earned my master’s degree and then worked as a research associate in the School of Environment at Tsinghua University and Southern University of Science and Technology, respectively.

  • Zachary LaTurner

    I am a native of Seattle, WA, where, growing up, I had the opportunity to explore the many beautiful environments of the Pacific Northwest. This instilled in me a respect and admiration for the environment that drives my interest in environmental engineering. As an undergraduate and post-bac at the University of Washington, I then became fascinated with microorganisms and the multitude of ways they have evolved to occupy every conceivable niche on the planet. Now at Rice University, I combine these two passions, the environment and microbiology, to develop new environmental biotechnologies.

  • Ahmad Mannan

    I graduated with an MSci in Mathematics (Imperial Collage London, UK) and PhD in Microbial Systems Biology (University of Surrey, UK), and have a passion for understanding how biological systems work through mathematical and computational approached. In particular, I am passionate about learning from the designs of genetic control systems in bacteria and developing computational models to understand how they can be repurposed and engineered as synthetic genetic control circuits for various exciting biotechnological applications.

  • David Truong

    The Truong lab uses principles from synthetic and systems biology, cell fate reprogramming, epigenetics, and immunology. He and his team “rewrite” the human genome in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to build cell therapies and regenerative medicine. The group is developing an off-the-shelf chassis iPSC that can be given to any person without immune rejection. This chassis iPSC will enable large-scale restructuring of the human genome, introduction of large and more sophisticated genetic circuits for cell programming, and the production of any somatic cell for living therapies. The group currently focuses on developing programmable off-the-shelf Dendritic Cells from human iPSCs as an immunotherapy platform.

  • Nicole Buan

    Nicole Buan is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has broad expertise in microbial physiology, metabolism, and redox biochemistry. Dr. Buan recently co-founded the Archaea Power Hour virtual seminar series and serves as Associate Editor for Applied Environmental Microbiology and Frontiers in Microbiology (Microbial Physiology and Metabolism) journals. Dr. Buan began research as a high school student in Tucson, Arizona, where she did undergraduate thesis research on ATP-independent molecular chaperone proteins in plants under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Vierling at the University of Arizona. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow in the lab of Jorge Escalante-Semerena. There, she made key contributions to understanding protein:protein interactions involved in coenzyme B12 synthesis in Salmonella, discovered the only known iron-sulfur-cluster-containing B12 adenosyltransferase enzyme, and investigated the use of B12 mimics as chemotherapeutic “Trojan horses”. Her graduate work was recognized by the Department of Bacteriology Herman Smythe Award for Outstanding PhD research. As a NIH Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of William Metcalf at the University of Illinois, Dr. Buan received training in methanogen genetics and characterized the terminal oxidase heterodisulfide reductase enzymes. At Nebraska, Dr. Buan and her students study redox biochemistry, systems, and synthetic biology in archaea, bacteria, and plants on various projects funded by NSF, NIH, USDA, Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, Nebraska Corn Board, and the Water Environment Reuse Foundation. Buan lab research has been awarded two patents, and Dr. Buan is the owner of two biotech startups.

  • Xiaojun Tian

    Dr. Xiaojun Tian received his Ph. D. degree in systems biology from Nanjing University in 2012 and spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech and the University of Pittsburgh. In 2017, he joined the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University to start his lab and synthetic biology research. His lab has made outstanding achievements with several publications at Nature Chemical Biology, Nature Communications, and ACS synthetic biology. In addition, he recently received the NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) award.

  • Nima Hajinajaf

    Nima Hajinajaf is currently a Ph.D. student of Chemical Engineering at Arizona State University in Prof. Varman’s Lab. He received his master’s in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tehran. His previous work was on “Photobioreactor optimization for CO2 removal and wastewater treatment by microalgae”. Currently, his work is on the Metabolic Engineering of Cyanobacteria and Bacteria to produce chemicals

  • Rebecca Hershman

    I am currently a 4th year PhD student at Tufts University where my research focuses on intracellular drug delivery. More specifically, I work on isolating antibody binders for intracellular targets as well as protein engineering to enhance intracellular delivery of antibodies. I am passionate about teaching as well as research, and I’m excited about the possibilities for both after I graduate.

  • Janet Matsen

    Janet Matsen received her BS and PhD degrees in chemical engineering for synthetic biology with a data science specialty. She brings together knowledge of biochemistry, industrial biotechnology, and data science to accelerate the rate at which we can improve engineered microbes for renewable chemical production. Her work at Zymergen as a Senior Data Scientist involves developing software to predict which genetic edits will result in more productive microbes to help explore the DNA design space more efficiently.

  • Wendy Hall

    20 years senior government expert advisor in science policy and national security specializing in biological threats and life science research policy, both pre- and post- anthrax attacks
    14 years international experience in private sector multinational corporations and academia
    Interest in ways to streamline, simplify and modernizing current “jenga tower” of USG policies/regulations/rules/polices to enable robust growth in the U.S. bioeconomy while ensuring national security risks are addressed as appropriate.

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