Team:WPI Worcester/Attributions


The 2017 WPI iGEM Team would like to thank many people, and acknowledge everyone involved in making our project possible. The team started working in C term, or late March, of 2017. Goals for the team's project and specific roles for each student were decided by the end of May. The work continued into the summer and fall as an internship and a class. Many experiments were conducted from May to October.

Team Members

This is an outline of all of the work that was done by each team member throughout the project.

Aylin Padir:

In the lab, Aylin worked a lot with the development of the lead assay, and later worked with the Lead Test Kit from Hach, and was responsible for the majority of the data analysis for each of these two parts. She made plates, did mini preps, and helped with the final cloning efforts. In addition to lab work, Aylin was in charge of integrated human practices. She helped to organize the Touch Tomorrow activity in which students were asked to guess where lead contamination in drinking water was a problem, in order to get them involved with the WPI 2017 iGEM project. She also communicated with the Department of Environmental Protection, which helped shaped the focus of the probiotic to a prophylactic. Finally, she was heavily involved in writing the Case Study that was taught to WPI's Introduction to Biotechnology class.

Catherine Sherman:

In the lab, Cat worked a lot with the development of the lead assay, and later worked with the Lead Test Kit from Hach. She made plates, did mini preps, and helped with cloning. In addition to lab work, Cat was in charge of public engagement. She helped organize what activities would be completed during each event, and helped figure out which events the team would be participating in for public engagement. She worked closely with Aylin to help with Human Practices, and learned HTML to help with Wiki development.

Edith Sawyer:

In the lab, Edith worked primarily with force evolving of the probiotic. She made plates, did mini preps, and initially worked on the lead assay. In addition to lab work, Edith was the team’s collaboration chair. She contacted and organized collaborations with other iGEM teams. She primarily maintained collaborations with team Aachen, exchanging research and helping with the development of their project.

Haylea Northcott:

In the lab, Haylea worked primarily with force evolving of the probiotic. She made plates, did mini preps, and assisted with cloning. In addition to lab work, Haylea was the teams’s Wiki master and social media chair. She organized and laid out the pages of the iGEM 2017 website and directed team members in website construction. She also maintained the team’s social media pages and added to our page’s likes, views, and followers.

Locke Bonomo:

In lab, Locke primarily worked with the design, development, and implementation of the lead biosensor. For the biosensor, Locke worked closely with Mike during Gibson assemblies, PCR, restriction digests, and modifying experimental designs. He also made LB and MRS plates and assisted in the early stages of the growth curve trials. Outside of lab, he undertook the initial construction of the team wiki by learning HTML and CSS to set up pages. He also recorded data from the Case Study presentation to WPI's Intro to Biotechnology Class. Finally, Locke designed the majority of the layout and content of the Jamboree Poster drafts.

Michael Savoie:

In the lab Mike worked primarily with the development of the lead biosensor and cloning. He worked with the PCR and Gibson assembly of chromoproteins and lead detection backbone. He also made plates and assisted in the early stages of the growth curve trials. Mike was also in charge of design work for the team, designing the team logo and mascot. He also developed several pieces of art work for the iGEM Team website, presentations, and advertising materials.


A special thanks to the WPI faculty who have facilitated, assisted, and encouraged the ongoing research of iGEM and helped make the project possible.

Dr. Natalie Farny:

Advisor of WPI iGEM. Assisted heavily with cloning of vectors for pBRr backbone and chromoproteins into E. coli.

Dr. Joseph Duffy:

Advisor of WPI iGEM. Assisted heavily with emails and organizing the case study presentation.

Mr. Mihail Bocka:

WPI Lab manager. Provided lab equipment and supplies for experiments. Assisted with Autoclave troubleshooting.

Dr. Scarlet Shell:

WPI teaching staff. Provided guidance in design of growth curve experiments and probiotic research.

Dr. Lou Roberts:

WPI teaching staff. Assisted in electroporation of E. coli.

Dr. Mike Buckholt:

WPI teaching staff. Provided assistance in culturing B. subtilis.

Dr. Jill Rulfs:

WPI teaching staff. Provided assistance in troubleshooting media preparation.

Project Inspiration:

The idea for the initial project was derived from the project proposal from the Synthetic Biology Capstone course. The original project and proposal title At-Home pH Based Lead Detection was submitted by Eric Borges, Zahra Khazal, Shelby McQueston, Allison Van Fechtmann.

Additional project inspiration was derived from past iGEM teams working with heavy metals. Teams researched are listed below:

2015 Teams
  • Bielefeld
  • Gaston Day School
  • LZU- China
  • Nanjing- China
  • SCUT
2014 Teams
  • Cornell
  • HUST-China
  • INSA-Lyon
  • Minnesota
  • Nagahama
  • NEFU China
  • Penn
2013 Teams
  • Edinburgh
  • Gaston Day School

Supporting Research

The backbone for the plasmid was developed from a construct originally found in “Development and Application of Synthetically-Derived Lead Biosensor Construct for Use in Gram-Negative Bacteria" published in Cell. The construct was used with permission by Dr. Ashley Franks.

The DIY lead assay was developed from “A Fast Colourimetric Assay for Lead Detection Using Label-Free Gold Nanoparticles (AuNPs)” and “ A Portable Lab-on-A-Chip System for Gold-Nanoparticle Based Colorimetric Detection of Metal Ions in Water” published in Micromachines and Biomicrofluidics, respectively.


We would like to thank all of the companies listed on our Human Practices Page, and the FDA for responding to us, and helping us collect more information for our project. We would like to especially thank Analytical Balance Corp. for giving us a tour of their lab, and further explaining how the machinery involved in water testing works.

iGEM Teams

In addition to the teams that worked with lead in the past we would also like to thank the BU Hardware Team and the University of Aachen iGEM Teams for collaborating with us, and all of the iGEM team members who completed our survey.