Team:British Columbia/Team


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British Columbia -

The UBC iGEM Team

We are a team of 9 undergraduate team members, 4 graduate student advisors and 2 faculty advisors. Our team is hosted by the Steven Hallam laboratory in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of British Columbia (UBC). We have 2 undergraduate team members from the Faculty of Applied Sciences and 7 undergraduate team members from the Faculty of Science.
Undergraduate Team Members

Cameron Strachan
I recently finished my undergraduate degree in Honours Microbiology and I am currently doing research in the Hallam lab at UBC. I have interests in metabolic engineering and environmental genomics, and my role in iGEM was designing and carrying out experiments to create a tunable synthetic consortium. I was also involved in modeling distributed metabolism in the environment.

Grace Yi
I am currently a second-year Pharmacology student interested in gaining insight into research in general. My interests include baking cookies (and eating them), singing along to the radio, and admiring luxury vehicles. Synthetic biology offers an opportunity to creatively solve complex issues, and iGEM is entirely unique in that it fosters interdisciplinary collaboration between students and faculty, and between top-notch schools. This chance to work with people of diverse backgrounds and participate in research in this novel field made iGEM a priority for me. I have contributed to the wet lab portion of our project, more specifically to creating new biobricks via standard assembly. I am working on the site-directed mutagenesis of the DszC gene to remove the two illegal PstI sites before submission to the Registry.

Jacob Toth
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Jacob Toth is a third year honours biochemistry student at the University of British Columbia. This is his second year in iGEM, and this year he has been focusing on generating and testing constructs, modeling (particularly the wet-lab side of things), trying to navigate the registry, and has found himself working with a kill switch project on the side. His other interests include philosophy, botany, and music. He also enjoys Shakespearean prose and reciting it in his sleep.

Joe Ho
Joe Ho is a fifth year Integrated Sciences student at UBC and a returning member from last year's iGEM team. This year, Joe is focused on generating biobrick constructs for engineering a microbial consortium which is capable of distributed metabolism. With this consortium, he will be monitoring its population dynamics through the use of standardized fluorescence proteins as well as assaying for its ability to cooperatively desulfurize organosulfur compounds, such as dibenzothiophene. Joe hopes that his experience with iGEM will allow him to excel in the field of synthetic biology in the future.

John Deppe
John is in his 3rd year in Chemical Engineering at UBC. Prior to UBC, he earned an Associates degree at Everett Community College and served in the US Navy. A board game enthusiast, John was a semifinalist in the North American division of the World Catan Championship this year.

Marianne Park
I am currently a second year medical student at UBC and this is my third year with the UBC iGEM team. This year, my contribution to the team focused on mentorship as well as wet lab work (once again) involving biobrick building.

Mehul Sharma
Senor Sharma came to Canada with a simple dream--to make it in the modelling industry. This competition is his big break, and he plans to wow the world at the iGEM jamboree this autumn. Prepare to be amazed. In his spare time Mehul is also doing a major in microbiology and immunology and is helping with the wet lab part for the UBC iGEM team. His contributions to iGEM includes the construction of the tunable consortia consisting of amino acid auxotrophs, transformed with complementing amino acid genes. He enjoys recreational activities, Lord of the Rings and loves the thrill of re-registering for his drivers exam every time he fails. Also, he hates talking about himself in the third person.

Rui Chen Xue
I majored in Chemical and Biological Engineering. For this iGEM project, my focuses are Modelling and Modelling related wet lab activities. I also contributed to the Industrial Insight section in Human Practice. Personally I am very interested in Clean Energy and Pharmaceutical Process, especially Bioenergy field. These are the areas that I want to devote my career in. Being a member of UBC 2012 team, I received tons of knowledge about bacterial engineering, and really enjoyed working with people of diverse backgrounds. Constant interdisciplinary collaboration and creative problem solving skill requirements made iGEM a valuable experience for everyone. I am really appreciative to this opportunity. For more information about me, please go to my personal profile.

Ting Chia Wong
Majoring in Integrated Sciences, I am currently a third-year student. My integration is between synthetic biology and human biology, so joining the UBC team happened naturally. In fact, my choice of specialization can be attributed to iGEM. As a competition that emphasizes innovation and exploration, iGEM was really what pulled me towards this area of research. This fascination with synthetic biology stems from both the exciting possibilities it offers and the creativity it demands. My contribution to this year's project include wet lab and human practice work.
Graduate Student Advisors

James Round
I'm currently a PhD student in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia. In the Eltis Lab, I focus on the use of bacteria biocatalysts to transform lignin, part of lignocellulosic biomass, into high-value aromatic compounds and feedstock material for lignin-based resins and carbon fibres. My scientific interests are metabolic engineering, biocatalyst development, and biotechnology.

Michael VanInsberghe
I'm a PhD student in the Genome Science and Technology graduate program at the University of British Columbia. I'm working in the Hansen group to develop methods in single-cell genomics by exploiting recent advances in microfluidics. When not stuck in a cleanroom, I can usually be found out in the mountains surrounding the Lower Mainland.

Alina Chan
I am a 4th year PhD student in Phil Hieter's yeast genetics lab at UBC. My own research project looks at RNA:DNA hybrids and their effect on genome stability. I have been advising iGEM teams since 2010, helping with project brainstorming and planning, wet-lab resourcing and troubleshooting, bridging wet-lab and computational modeling, as well as various human practices and outreach endeavours. It's been really amazing advising the UBC iGEM team members as they design and dive into their projects with so much energy and effort and attend the iGEM competitions. The UBC iGEM teams since 2010 have been working on many exciting research areas ranging from biofilm degradation to terpene production to microbial consortia. Being on the team has been very eye-opening for me and I hope to pursue postdoctoral research in bioengineering fields.

Rafael Saer
I'm one of the graduate advisors for the 2012 UBC iGEM team. My focus in the team is to provide wet lab assistance and troubleshooting to the members, as well as supply the odd reagent that my lab always tends to have. When I'm not helping out the iGEM team, I'm conducting research in bacterial photosynthesis. Specifically, I investigate structure and function relationships in bacterial reaction center proteins from ''Rhodobacter sphaeroides'' using a mutagenic approach. When I graduate, I hope to pursue careers in synthetic biology and photosynthesis. Please see my Openwetware profile for more information.
Faculty Advisors

Joanne Fox

Michael Smith Laboratories and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia

Steven Hallam

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia

The Hallam Lab Website