SPA Board

  • 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.

  • Meagan Olsen

    Meagan is a PhD student in the Jewett Lab at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on improving cell-free protein synthesis systems in order to rapidly design and manufacture medical therapeutics. She completed her B.S. in chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas. Outside of the lab, Meagan enjoys cooking, reading, and hiking. 

  • Sanjeeva K Murali

    Sanjeeva is a PhD student in Mansell lab at Iowa state university. His research work focuses on developing novel prebiotic-probiotic pairs for gut microbiome engineer. Prior to this, he completed his masters from IIT Guwahati, where he focused on constructing metabolic pathway to convert dairy waste to D-Lactic acid. Currently, he serves as a member of the EBRC SPA Board and works as the liaison to the Policy and International Engagement group. In addition, he also worked as a downstream process engineer for monoclonal antibody purification at Dr. Reddy Laboratories in India. Outside research, he enjoys watching cricket, playing badminton, running etc. 

  • Kelsey Gray

  • Andrea Garza

    Andrea is a PhD candidate in the Chappell Lab at Rice University. Her research focuses on optimizing gene editing systems to study the genetic regulation and secondary metabolism of the bacteria Streptomyces. Prior to this, she graduated from the University of Houston with a BSc in Honors Biomedical Sciences. Outside of research, Andrea enjoys drawing, sewing, and roller skating. She is also a Mentorship Program Liaison and a Social Co-Chair for the EBRC’s SPA.

  • Yue Han

    Yue is a Ph.D. candidate at the Styczynski lab at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research is focused on developing computational models for metabolic pathways toward effective strain design. Yue completed her undergraduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University in Chemical Engineering. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and exploring the city.

  • 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 postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on engineering synthetic cells as the next-generation chassis to implement synthetic biology operations. Outside of research and EBRC, Yan is involved in the iGEM and science outreach efforts at Caltech to promote underrepresented groups’ engagement in synthetic biology.

  • Alexandra “Lex” Patterson

    Lex is currently a 3rd year bioengineering Ph.D. student at Georgia tech researching cell-free diagnostics. In the past, she has worked to establish large scale educational outreach events to encourage students to pursue careers in engineering. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis and pickleball.

  • Ryan Cardiff

    Ryan is a Molecular Engineering PhD student at the University of Washington in the Carothers and Zalatan labs. His research focuses on developing improved tools to precisely regulate gene expression in microbial and cell-free systems. Ryan fills his time outside of the lab on long runs, concerts, board games, or cooking. 

  • Ross Jones

    Ross is a postdoctoral fellow in Peter Zandstra’s lab at the University of British Colombia, where he is using synthetic biology to program pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into immune cells. He completed his PhD in Biological Engineering under Ron Weiss and Domitilla Del Vecchio at MIT, where he developed genetic circuits that impart robust, context-independent control of gene expression in mammalian cells. Ross did his undergraduate in Bioengineering at the University of Washington, and remains an avid Husky fan to this day – go Dawgs!

  • Xinran Lian

    Xinran is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of working under the supervision of Rama Ranganathan and Andrew Ferguson. She works on integrating deep-learning generative models and high-throughput assays to design novel proteins. Outside of research, she is an amateur artist and birder.

  • Andrew Hunt

    Andrew Hunt is a PhD student in the Jewett Lab at Northwestern University. His research centers on the use of Cell-Free Protein Synthesis to accelerate the pace of design and synthesis of new protein parts for synthetic biology. Andrew is a member of the EBRC Student and Postdoc Association Board and works as a liaison to the education working group.

  • Cholpisit Ice Kiattisewee

    Ice is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington working under the supervision of James Carothers and Jesse Zalatan. He works on developing a bacterial CRISPR tool for the genetic rewiring of various microbes mainly for application in Metabolic Engineering and Signaling. He is originally from Thailand where he graduated with B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Organic Chemistry before shifting into the Engineering Biology world. Whenever Seattle weather is permissive, Ice enjoys hiking and surfing apart from getting beaten up in Muay Thai training.

  • Arren Liu

    Arren Liu is currently a 4th year Ph.D. student in Arizona State University’s Biological Design Doctoral Program, in the School of Engineering of Matter, Transport, and Energy. He received his Bachelor of Sciences degree from Purdue University in Genetics with a minor in Biotechnology. Arren is co-advised by Dr. Arul Varman and Dr. David Nielsen, where he conducts systems and synthetic biology research. Arren’s research specifically focuses on the metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli and Corynebacterium glutamicum for the enhanced biosynthesis of natural products, such as polyphenols, from agricultural waste.


  • Kok Zhi Lee

    Kok Zhi is a postdoctoral fellow in Fuzhong Zhang’s lab at Washington University in St. Louis. He repurposes/engineers proteins in nature for biotechnology applications, tackling material synthesis and sustainability challenges. He completed his Ph.D. in Bioengineering under Kevin Solomon at Purdue University, where he characterized prokaryotic argonautes for novel gene-editing tool development without sequence-motif restrictions. Outside of research, Kok Zhi serves as a Social Chair in EBRC SPA, dedicated to creating diverse and inclusive environments for networking and career developments in the synthetic biology community.

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