Team:WashU StLouis/Team

Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the WashU iGEM team, master of all the sciences, could stop them. But when the world needed them most, they were busy making competent cells.

The WashU iGEM team is proud to have a diverse set of backgrounds and interests, including hailing from seven different states and Iowa (which is less of a state and more of an extended field of corn). We participate in activities ranging from building Rube Goldberg machines to teaching freshmen chemistry to putting on plays in a basement. Some of our team believes that "gif" is pronounced "jif", while others hold firm that the "g" is pronounced like the "g" in "gradient PCR". By bringing together this ragtag group of science-lovers, we have formed an impressive group of researchers who enjoy working with each other almost as much as they enjoy lab work. After all, the only bonds stronger than the bonds of chemistry are the bonds of friendship <3

Team Members

Alex Yenkin

Junior | Human Practices Coordinator / Wet Lab | Major: Genomics and Computational Biology | Minor: Anthropology

Alex is a Biology major from the northern suburbs of Chicago, and is passionate about the superiority of deep dish pizza. In addition to being a part of iGEM, he is a volunteer coordinator for the student organization Partners in East St. Louis and is involved with the student theater group Cast n' Crew. Alex loves most aspects of biology and could see himself as a neuroscientist or a biostatistician or anything else in between, but he is totally content to spend the rest of his life doing crosswords.

Collin Kilgore

Sophomore | Experimental Design Specialist / Wet Lab | Major: Chemical Engineering and Mathematics

Hailing from Des Moines, Iowa, Collin is interested in the systems biology end of Chemical Engineering and plans to pursue graduate work in the field. In addition to iGEM, Collin is a Calculus Peer Led Team Learning leader, Washington University Student Advocate, and member of WashU's After Dark a Capella. When he is not humming along to random songs in lab, Collin can often be found binge-watching shows on Netflix and dreaming about genetically-engineered corn.

Maddie Lee

Junior | Financial Coordinator and Treasurer / Wet Lab / Team Social Media Goddess | Major: Biology

Maddie is a Minnesotan girl in a St. Louis world. She is studying biology and plans to pursue a PhD in pathology after graduating from WashU. In addition to iGEM, Maddie is a member of the executive board for the student theater group Cast n' Crew, a volunteer with Studio: TESLA, and a member of Alpha Omicron Pi. Additionally, she would like to note that according to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway, because bees don't care what humans think is impossible.

Mark Wang

Sophomore | Wiki Master / Wet Lab | Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology | Minor: Sociology

Born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Mark is passionate about using molecular and cell biology as a force for the greater good and plans to attend medical school. Developing this wiki is Mark's first coding experience, but he's enjoying the process of learning HTML and CSS in addition to performing wet lab experiments. When he's not studying or working on iGEM, Mark is a shift captain for Campus Kitchen, a volunteer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and a coach for Campus Y's Science Olympiad program. On his free time, you can find Mark watching basketball and baseball, swimming, enjoying sunsets, or staring off into the distance contemplating the intricacies of life.

Micah Rickles-Young

Senior | Modeling and Hardware Specialist / Wet Lab | Major: Genomics and Computational Biology | Minor: Bioinformatics

Three years after attending the 2014 High School Jamboree with his team from Weston, Massachusetts, Micah makes his triumphant return to iGEM. Micah is studying Genomics and Computational Biology and will be applying to Ph.D programs in genomics. Outside of iGEM, Micah has been an intern at Enbiotix, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, has participated in research through the Phage Hunters and Genomics Education Partnership programs, and is the president of Wash U's Rube Goldberg team.

Zoe Orenstein

Junior | General Manager / Wet Lab / Main Photographer | Major: Biomedical Engineering

In addition to math and biological engineering, Zoe's interests include long walks on the beach, eating cinnamon rolls, being on time to meetings, and watching professional dart tournaments. She is also a computer science TA, the Vice President of Cast n' Crew (a student theater group), and a tour guide for WashU engineering. Zoe's ultimate goal is to use her degree in BME to engineer mini elephants so that they can be house pets.

Mentors and Advisors

Dr. Janie Brennan

Lecturer of Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering Dept. at WashU

Dr. Janie Brennan has been involved in iGEM for over 10 years, first as an undergraduate team member, then as a graduate mentor, and now as a faculty advisor! Outside of iGEM, she is a Lecturer of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, where she teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses related to chemical engineering. Professionally, her primary interests are related to engineering education and iGEM, and her hobbies include reading, playing the piano/trombone, and collecting/writing with fountain pens.

Eugene Kim

Ph.D Candidate in Zhang Lab | Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering Dept.

Eugene is a rising 3rd year PhD student in Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering at WashU and this is his first official year as an iGEM graduate mentor. His research focuses on using synthetic biology to produce novel protein-based materials with desirable functions and properties. Outside of research, he enjoys teaching students both in the classroom and about research in engineering and biology. After a hard day's work, you can often catch him winding down by going on a run, watching football (particularly Michigan or Patriots football), or nerding out over superhero TV shows and movies.


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