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The Team

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Our team is comprised by students from the biological sciences, chemical and biomedical engineering, physics, and mathematics departments at the Universidad de Los Andes at Bogotá, Colombia.


Daniel Giraldo

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Daniel is an undergraduate Chemistry and Chemical Engineering double major senior at Universidad de los Andes. Although he decided to study Chemistry, he has always had an interest for science and is always eager to learn about other fields. He is very interested in learning more about organic chemistry applied to biological systems, which is why iGem is the perfect opportunity for him to explore a little bit into microbiology and synthetic biology. His very passionate about research and working at the lab. Currently he is working in the Ralstonia group at iGem Colombia.

Daniela Olivera


Daniela is an undergraduate student in Chemical engineering and Microbiology at the Universidad de los Andes. She is interested in bioinformatic and biomedical engineering research. Currenly, she is one of the outstanding students in chemical engineering department and there are too many proffesors that wants her in their research groups. She loves to spend her little free time playing with her cat (named Anastasia), working on iGEM with her lucky friends, going to cinema and burning calories in the gym.

David A. Ayala-Usma

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David is an undergraduate senior of Biology and Microbiology that, one day, simply was in the right place to get involved with iGEM and Synthetic Biology. He likes Molecular Cell Biology, Paleoecology, Geosciences, Astronomy, and some other science stuff. Also, he loves reading all kinds of tales and stories for children (like him), eating desserts, looking at the sky, taking pictures, playing at the PC, sleeping a lot, and talking, and talking, and talking... xD

He expects to eventually become a Ph.D. in Cell Biology, Earth Sciences, both or something in between, just to make a life and a living out of his passions, his favorite molecules, and discovering new exciting things. He also likes to be in contact with people around the world, and invites people with his same interests to add him on Twitter or Facebook.

Juanita Lara

Laura Rodriguez


Laura is an undergraduate student in Chemistry and Microbiology at Universidad de los Andes. She is passionate about science, likes organic chemistry and loves bacteria! She is also curious and a realll hard worker. For her, iGEM has been an opportunity to learn, practice lab skills and making good friends! Currently she is working in the Ralstonia group at iGEM Colombia. She is really excited to meet people involved in science from another countries, this will give her a perspective of science outside her country and will also be a cultural enriching experience.

Javier E. Vargas

Javier already finished his thesis for the B.Sc. in Microbiology, but also is currently a senior student of Design at the Universidad de Los Andes. During his Microbiology thesis, he worked with the S-layer protein of Lysinibacillus sphaericus applied to bioremediation of chromium using an immobilization matrix to improve the protein stability. In general, He is interested in molecular biology, synthetic biology, experience design and design of narratives. Also, he practices soft combat, fencing, climbing and enjoys painting (a lot).

iGEM is a great opportunity to apply his knowledge and creative instinct to demonstrate him self their capacities, gaining more lab experience while doing what he likes the most.

David Alejandro García

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David is pursuing a degree in physics and mathematics as a member of the University of the Andes` class of 2014. David decided to participate in iGEM because he felt it would be an excellent opportunity to understand and manipulate the brick of the life to solve a big spectrum of problems. Outside the lab, David spends his free time playing the piano, reading some philosophy and literature, swimming. David also participates in a wide variety of academic activities such as in the “problem clinic” where he helps other students to solve difficulties in the resolution of problems in physics and being a prefect in a class of nanotechnology. After graduation, he wants to pursue a PhD in theoretical physics or nanotechnology

César Augusto Quintana

Cesar was born in Popayan (Cauca), he is a Physics and mathematics undergraduate student at the “Universidad de los Andes”. He began participating in this project because of an enormous interest in life systems founding along this time a crescent fascination about the theme. Beside science he likes a lot to play the acoustic guitar and watch movies.

Luis Alberto Gutiérrez López

Luis is an undergraduate Physics student at the Universidad de los Andes. Since his school years he’s been interested in science, deeply fascinated by the way our Universe works and particularly by the mechanisms of life. His interest in biology led him to explore other fields like physics. This passion for science and knowledge made him a very devoted student which enabled him to be awarded as Best High School Graduate of Colombia in 2011.

Besides his enthusiasm for study, he loves physical activity, especially swimming and jogging. He also enjoys literature.

He decided to join iGEM because he considers it an excellent opportunity to become familiar with research and learn many useful things about molecular biology, mathematics and programming.

Roberto Moran Tovar

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Roberto is a second year undergraduate Physics and Mathematics student at Los Andes University. He loves physics since he was at high school and thinks that the science ( specially physics) is the most amazing thing that could exist. Recently, he has been interested in the study of life, evolution and in general the whole biology. He thinks his best quality is the curiosity because lets him to explore the universe in a very funny way! He is a good soccer player, likes to play video games and likes good Rock&Roll.

Gabriel Martínez-Gálvez


Gabriel is a last year microbiology undergraduate student with a minor in physics and half way through a double major in biomedical engineering. He is also a gamer to the bone, and a heavy soccer and basketball fan. Since high school he found it fascinating and exciting to think about programming cells into living bio-robots automated to perform specific actions inside the human body. For that matter he found systems biology and synthetic biology to be his main motivations for his studies and graduation thesis with the Biophysics Lab at the Universidad de los Andes.

He is very interested in the design of new biological processes through synthetic biology, dendritic cell information integration towards specific immune response coordination in humans as well as molecular psychology for a better understanding of emotions and aging phenomena. Feel free to follow him on twitter or challenge him in PSN (PSN ID: ksk_89)!

Grad Students

Silvia J. Cañas

Silvia is a M.Sc student in Biological Sciences (Microbiology) at the Biophysics Laboratory and the Mycology and Phytopathology Laboratory (LAMFU) at the Universidad de los Andes. She is a B. Sc in Microbiology and B. Sc in Chemical Engineering of the Universidad de los Andes (Minors in Bioinformatics and Bioengineering), where she worked with Metabolic engineering. Her main areas of interest are Molecular Cell Biology and Systems & Synthetic Biology. She is currently investigating the effect of Sigma factors transitivity on persisters generation in Escherichia coli K12 . Some of the approaches she is using are based on Molecular Biology, Systems Biology & Epifluorescence Microscopy

Vivian Bernal Galeano

Vivian is a M.Sc student in Biological Sciences at the Laboratory of Mycology and Phytopathology at the Universidad de los Andes. She is a Bachelor in Biology of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She has worked in the area of molecular phytopathology, in the pathosystem Cassava-Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. manithotis (Xam), for two and half years and currently she has studied the small ncRNA of Xam. Her role in the iGEM Team is to participate in the lab activities and to coordinate, plan and develop, with her teammates, the activities related to the human practices, she enjoys that!!

Paola Reyes

Paola is a pretty enthusiastic Master Student at the Laboratory of Mycology and Phytopathology of Universidad de los Andes. She has been working in molecular biology for more than two years now. Her research interest is the molecular interaction between plants and phytopathogenic bacteria. Her role in the iGEM team has been to help undergraduate students on wet lab activities and in diverse areas. She loves drama but she is kind of cool most of the time.

Laura Avelleneda Franco

Laura holds a B.Sc in Chemical Engineer, and a B.Sc in Microbiology, both from Universidad de los Andes. She is a second year M.Sc student of Biological Sciences at the Center of Microbiology Research (CIMIC) at the Universidad de los Andes. She is interested in biotechnology from molecular scale to industrial scale. She is excited for new branches of biotechnology such as synthetic and systems biology. She believes that the deciphering of new biological pathways from genes to signal cascades are highly important for the research and development of new products and processes.

Andres Felipe Simbaqueba Sánchez

Andrés Felipe was born in Florencia (and that’s at Colombia) and he is a Chemical Engineer and M.Sc student in Chemical Engineering at Universidad de los Andes. Actually, he has been researching in bioindustrial processes in order to produce biofuels from cellulosic biomass. He thinks that iGEM is a good opportunity to understand biological processes from a more scientific point of view. However, his life is not reduced only to full-time researching... also he spends his little free time going to the cinema, hanging out with some lucky friends, meeting new people and traveling around the whole world. Feel free to follow him on twitter


Silvia Restrepo Restrepo, Ph. D.

Silvia Restrepo, Ph. D.
Dr. Restrepo is the leader and main researcher at the Laboratory of Mycology and Phytopathology of the Universidad de los Andes. Additionally, she is the dean of the Department of Biological Sciences.Her main research topic is phytopathology, and her favorite organism is Phytophthora infestans, of course!.

Website:Lab. Page

Juan Manuel Pedraza, Ph. D.

Juan Manuel Pedraza, Ph. D.

Dr. Pedraza leads the Systems/Synthetic Biology division of the Biophysics Laboratory at Uniandes. His specialty is stochasticity in gene expression, but is getting more and more interested in evolution and the consequences of phenotypic variability.

Adriana Bernal, Ph. D.

Adriana Bernal, Ph. D.

Dr. Bernal is a Associated Proessor at the Universidad de los Andes, her main research topic is the Plant-Pathogen interactions of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. manihotis with its main host. She is the co-director of LAMFU with Dr. Silvia Restrepo.

Webpage: LAMFU Webpage