Revision as of 19:47, 31 May 2012 by FourEyeGuy1962 (Talk | contribs)
You can write a background of your team here. Give us a background of your team, the members, etc. Or tell us more about something of your choosing.
Team Columbia-Cooper-NYC

Home Team Official Team Profile Project Parts Submitted to the Registry Modeling Notebook Safety Attributions


Who we are


  • David Orbach:

    David Orbach joined Cooper Union in the summer of 2008 with a BS in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Cornell University and a MS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Rochester. Before joining Cooper he also earned an MD, did an intern year, and developed an interest in improving efficiency and patient throughput in the Emergency Room setting. He teaches several biology and biomedical engineering courses, including cell and molecular biology, physiology, and microbiology; helps direct the Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering; and serves as the college’s pre-medical advisor. Outside of Cooper, David now helps create iPhone apps and workbooks for children. See

  • Scott A. Banta:

  • Grad Student 1: Our leader


Aakash Mansukhani:

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.

Akachi Ukwu:

Akachi is a rising Sophomore at Columbia University. Her potential major is Chemical Engineering. She was interested in IGEM because she wanted to learn about the many ways she can apply what she is being taught in school to real world problems. Akachi also enjoys watching soap operas.

Pnina Grossman:

Pnina is a rising sophomore at The Cooper Union. She is currently in the BSE track there (with a possibility of switching to mechanical engineering), and hopes to specialize in biomedical engineering. IGEM seemed like a great opportunity to get some real hands-on experience in study of biology and problem-solving combined.

Naimun Siraj:

Naimun is a rising Sophomore at Columbia University. He began the year as a Physics major and changed to Biomedical Engineering followed up by a change to Electrical Engineering to Applied Physics and finally, to Chemical Engineering. IGEM seemed like an opportunity for him to learn more about some of the applications of engineering and its consequences. Naimun loves reading about theoretical physics and hopes to die in a black hole one day.

Sara Chuang:

Sara just finished her third year as a Chemical Engineer at Columbia University. She is interested in pharmaceuticals and protein engineering. IGEM was particularly appealing, because she wanted a chance to pursue a fun application of synthetic biology. Sara also enjoys super hero movies.

Roshan Ramkeesoon:

Roshan is a rising sophomore majoring in chemical engineering at Columbia University. He is interested in working in alternative energy. He joined the IGEM team because it was a great opportunity to apply engineering principles to solve real world problems while gaining invaluable hands-on experience.

Nicholas Mannarino:

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.

Anna Mai:

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).

Udochukwu (Ud) Okorafor:

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 Sharif:

Saimon is a rising sophomore at The Cooper Union. He is studying Chemical Engineering and intends to minor in Mathematics. 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.

Kirsten Nicassio:

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.

Marjana Chowdhury:

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.

Jackie Song:

Jackie Song is a rising sophomore studying mechanical engineering at The Cooper Union. She joined iGEM out of curiosity about the processes and techniques used in synthetic biology. Jackie enjoys playing the flute and meshing gears.

Peter Liu:

Peter Liu is a rising senior at The Cooper Union majoring in Chemical Engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering. He joined the igem team this year to further his knowledge and lab skills in the field of synthetic and microbiology.

Jang suk Roh:

Jang suk Roh is a rising Junior at the Cooper Union majoring in Chemical Engineering. He likes doing lab work related to microbiology. He is also a front page featured redditor.

Swetha Chandrasekar:

Swetha Chandrasekar is a rising Sophomore studying Chemical Engineering with a Biomedical Minor. Her avid interests and research done in biomedical device design, biorobotics, virology and bacterial chemistry drew her to be a part of iGEM. She hopes to apply her interests in working as a member of the Cooper-Columbia team to create something novel and inspiring! Outside of academics, Swetha loves singing, dancing and drawing.

Chauncy Yin:

Chauncy Yin is a rising senior majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in materials & science at Columbia University. His research focuses on developing multifunctional magnetic nanoparticles as delivery platforms for therapeutic and diagnostic agents. He joins IGEM because he wants to apply the biology knowledge he learns in IGEM to the research and development of new pharmaceutical vehicles.

Vincent Xu:

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.

Yuta Makita:

Yuta Makita is a rising sophomore studying chemical engineering at the Cooper Union. Yuta joined the iGEM team with an interest in research based study and process of synthetic biology and the microscopic world. In addition to academic studies, he enjoys taking part in orchestra related activities by playing the viola.

Ciera Lowe:

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.

Steven Neuhaus:

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.

Shivrat Chhabra:

Shivrat Chhabra is a rising junior at Columbia University, majoring in Chemical Engineering and minoring in Biomedical Engineering. He’s always been interested in bioengineering on the micro-scale, and joined the iGEM team to further that interest. Outside of the academic sphere, he is also involved in ballroom dance.

High School Students

Richard Shi:

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.

What we did

(Provide proper attribution for all work)

Where we're from

Everywhere, =]