The organism “Adam cerini” is a species of civil engineering student. The Cooper Union is his natural habitat, although he has been observed to migrate to Huntington, NY during the summer months. He appears to have matured to the “sophomore” level. One marked feature of Cerini is his intelligence, a characteristic shared by many species in the engineering family. This feature is suspected to be the cause of his interests in civil engineering, architecture, biochemistry, nanotechnology, environmental science, and biomimicry. Cerini has been shown to undertake complex projects of various types and levels of success, such as mimicking cuttlefish camouflage with LCD’s, constructing a marimba from PVC pipes, designing a bamboo hut for refugees, building an electronic game via breadboards, composing electronic music, and most recently, genetically modifying bacteria for iGEM.
Despite being from the bustling streets of New York City, Marjana was born to live in the wild. This nature lover and rising sophomore intends to major in Environmental Biology at Columbia University. In the past, Marjana's research has scaled a size spectrum ranging from immense invasive species to minuscule endangered species. As part of the Columbia-Cooper iGEM team, she is excited about her newest and smallest challenge yet, microorganisms.
Ciera is a rising junior at The Cooper Union majoring in chemical engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering. She joined the iGEM team because this competition provides an amazing opportunity to gain hands on experience in synthetic biology, an exciting field full of potential to improve the world we live in. In addition to her studies, Ciera keeps busy by playing foosball on Cooper’s newly acquired table, playing basketball with Cooper’s women’s team or organizing events with the engineering student council and Cooper’s National Society of Black Engineers chapter.
Anna Mai is a rising junior majoring in chemical engineering at Columbia University, with a minor in environmental engineering. She joined IGEM because it presented an interesting medium for interacting with engineers around the world and providing hands on experience in the highly applicable field of synthetic biology. In her spare time she enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee, building paper crafts, and serenading her neighbors (not well).
Yuta Makita is a rising sophomore at the Cooper Union. He is studying Chemical Engineering and has joined the iGEM team with an interest in research based study, the process of synthetic biology and the microscopic world. In addition to his academic studies, he enjoys taking part in orchestra related activities by playing the viola.
Nicholas Mannarino is a rising sophomore at The Cooper Union. He is studying chemical engineering, with a hope to specialize in biomedical engineering and biotechnology. He joined IGEM because it seemed like a great way to spend a summer getting acquainted with a field he is interested in. In his spare time, Nicholas enjoys playing the guitar and long-distance running.
When he’s not obsessively watching American Idol videos or playing tunes on his guitar, Aakash Mansukhani studies chemical engineering at Columbia University. As a rising sophomore, Aakash hopes that participating in IGEM will help him learn more about how principles from chemical engineering and synthetic biology can be combined to program bacteria. In his free time, Aakash loves to sing and reinvent pop songs by putting his own acoustic spin on them.
Joseph Mercedes is a rising sophomore at The Cooper Union. He is majoring in Electrical Engineering. Although iGEM isn’t directly related to his major, it seems like a great opportunity to broaden his knowledge in another field and unify multiple engineering disciplines. In his spare time, Joe enjoys playing tennis and billiards.
Steven Neuhaus is a rising sophomore who studies chemical engineering at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He’s quite fond of the idea of using little things to solve big problems, and joined iGEM because it provides a tremendous opportunity to do just that (and also time to play in the lab!). Steven also enjoys pointing out that writing about oneself in the third person is extremely awkward, is interested in most things that are interesting, and if you show him something cool, he’s usually more than glad to run with it.
Kirsten Nicassio just finished her freshman year at The Cooper Union. She is majoring in chemical engineering, with an intended math minor. She joined IGEM because of interest in the field of biomedical engineering. In her spare time, Kirsten enjoys reading, knitting, and swimming.
Ud Okorafor is a rising senior at Columbia University. He is majoring in chemical engineering and has interests in protein engineering and pharmaceuticals. He joined IGEM because he enjoyed the research he had done previously on genetic engineering of E. coli. In his spare time, he enjoys playing various sports, reading science fiction books, and watching movies.
Saimon is a rising sophomore at The Cooper Union. He is studying Chemical Engineering. He joined IGEM because it gives him the opportunity to apply engineering and creativity to biology. In his spare time, Saimon enjoys listening to alternative rock and watching science fiction television shows.
Jeffrey is a rising sophomore Chemical Engineering student at Cooper and an aspiring chemical/biomedical engineer. He hopes to discover a lot about current research and advancements in the biomedical field, and believes IGEM offers many opportunities to learn from and contribute to. During the (little) time he has when he is not breathing chemistry and understanding the vast enigmas of the applied sciences, he enjoys playing the violin, traveling and catching up with friends.
Vincent is a rising senior at Columbia University majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in applied mathematics. He is more interested in computational modeling than lab work and has been doing research in the applied math department since the summer of his freshman year. He decided to join IGEM because he thinks that it’s a good chance to learn something about biology, which is a subject he hasn’t studied since high school, and to get involved in any computational or modeling work. In addition to enjoying popular activities that college students engage in, such as eating and sleeping, Vincent does ballroom dancing.
High School Students
Richard Shi is a high school research student at Jericho High School. He had previously studied and written a paper based on the Dye Sensitized Solar Cell at Farmingdale University. He joined iGEM to vary his exposure to different sciences (moving from the engineering sciences to synthetic biology) and hopes to collect data for the upcoming Intel STS competition. He hopes to bring much to the table, despite being in high school.