Taylor Sheahan, Student Leader

My name is Taylor Sheahan and I am a second year PhD student with a passion for synthetic biology and yoga. I joined iGEM for a second year in hopes that my project ideas would be chosen as this year’s project. However, I could not convince the team that a genetically modified E. coli paste that absorbs sweat during hot yoga sessions would be of the utmost importance to the yoga community. While I love our current project very much, I will continue to work on the design of synthetic biology projects that will benefit my yoga passion. I can’t wait to see all the cool projects and teach some yoga at this year’s giant Jamboree. See you all there! Namaste!

Keith Aiken, Student Member

This is my second year of iGEM. I'm done my General Science degree and now working on my Education degree. I'm very happy to be part of the iGEM experience because it incorporates so many people with various talents who all have wonderful levels of ambition and passion. This year, my role has been mostly in a New Media capacity, including building the Wiki and creating graphics.

Too many kids are being mislabelled; many are often seen as poor performers when they're actually not engaged enough. I joined iGEM as way to learn about more options for kids who are looking to gain more skills or find greater challenges outside the classroom.

Sydnee Calhoun, Student Member

Hello! My name is Sydnee and I am a third year Biochemistry student. This is my third year of iGEM. I love being able to be involved with an organization that incorporates so many facets into one project. In addition to being involved with the Collegiate team, I also advise our high school iGEM team. Basically, my life revolves around iGEM and I get to spend countless hours learning more about synthetic biology.

Simmone D’souza, Student Member

Hello friends, and welcome to a short autobiography of yours truly. I grew up in the harsh winters of Northern Alberta and decided to head to Lethbridge to pursue a degree in Biochemistry. I believed Lethbridge to be one of the warmest cities in Canada and little did I know that I would become a kite flying enthusiast due to all the wind. I am currently entering my third year as a Biochemistry student at the University of Lethbridge, and if you don’t find me in my books you’ll find me napping. This is my first year participating in iGEM and I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to be working with such a great team and learning about all the amazing feats we can conquer through synthetic biology. I can already tell that iGEM is going to have a huge impact on my experiences at the Universty of Lethbridge and I can’t wait to see what impact our project is going to have on others here in Lethbridge and around the world.

Regan Evanson, Student Member

I was born and raised here in Lethbridge and I am entering my third year at the U of L studying Biochemistry. Originally I was perusing a degree in Exercise science at Brigham Young University-Idaho but I got married to a Southern Albertan which brought me home. It is my first year participating in IGEM and I am finding the advances of synthetic biology to be interesting and I am excited to be a part of it.

Cynthia Fonderson, Student Member

Hello everyone! My name is Cynthia and I am in my third year of University pursuing a Biochemistry Degree. I like reading, swimming and volunteering. I also love Science, hence my interest in iGEM. This will be my first year in the program and I’m hoping to have fun while learning more about SynBio.

Josh Friesen, Student Member

My name is Josh and I am a second year undergraduate student in Biology. Joining iGEM has opened my eyes to the world of synthetic biology, so much so that when I dream at night I dream of all the ways synthetic biology could impact the world. My friends think I am crazy, or have no idea what I am talking about, but I have found solace within the members of the iGEM team where my ideas aren’t ridiculed and thought crazy. I hope our project goes well this year!

Jonathan Hampshire, Student Member

My name is Jonathan Hampshire. I am a second year biochemistry student and am loving it! I really enjoy working in the lab and researching new things. I am excited for this years project because I believe it is a basic technology that will be used extensively in the future. I am also excited to see what other iGEM teams will be engineering. It will be great!

Matthew Harding, Student Member

Even after 8 years of post-secondary education, Matt still has no idea what he wants to do with his life. He was born and raised in Banff, which people seem to find impressive for some reason despite the fact that he had very little choice in the matter. He is an avid fire-spinner (+1 charisma, +2 dexterity). He is also an avid reader, yet somehow does not have the literary wherewithal to avoid referring to himself in the third person when writing a bio. This is his/my first year with iGEM.

Lane Harper, Student Member

Lane is both a newcomer to iGEM as well as synthetic biology as an area of study and of interest. He discovered both near the end of his first degree, majoring in Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Biotechnology at the University of Guelph, and realized that synthetic biology and biotechnology were actually what he wanted to pursue actively as a career and as a field of study. As such, after completion Lane returned home to Lethbridge, and lacking some of the academic background to pursue a career in biotechnology, he decided to enroll in a second degree in Biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge. Through this, he has had the opportunity to engage in research work in the Wieden Lab as part of the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute (ARRTI) based at the University of Lethbridge. Additionally, discovering a well-established iGEM team on campus, Lane knew this was an opportunity to really begin gaining experience in the practical elements of synthetic biology, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Chelsi Harvey, Student Member

Hi! My name is Chelsi and I am a fourth-year biochemistry student at the University of Lethbridge. This is my first year of iGEM! Being part of such a diverse team has been a lot of fun! I have developed a love for synthetic biology during the season and can't wait to continue discovering more about this field beyond my involvement in iGEM.

Chris Isaac, Student Member

Currently, I am a Master of Science (Bioinformatics) Student working in the Lab of Dr. Athanasios Zovoilis. My research focuses on identifying causal agents in aging, Alzheimer Disease, and cancer. I've done iGEM since 2012 as a High School Student, and I'm excited to keep that tradition alive. This year, I have been extremely interested in the dual-use applications of our project, and have developing biosecurity software tools to mitigate risks associated with genetic recoding and artificial gene synthesis. Check it out on the Software page!|

Rebecca Jeong, Student Member

Hello, I am currently studying biochemistry in University of Lethbridge. After participating in the iGEM last year, I got more drawn to the field of synthetic biology therefore I decided to join again. Outside of iGEM, I love to play tennis and badminton.

Chris Lowen, Student Member

I am a third year Biology major who loves all creatures, living and digital. I was attracted toward iGEM by several friends and the allure of genetic manipulation in hopes of one day making a real life Pokémon. Through my involvement in iGEM and many philosophical discussions, I have come to the realization that creating a truly novel (fire/water spewing) organism is neither ethical nor realistic, but that the true benefits of synthetic biology are even more widespread that I had initially imagined! The work our team is doing is very exciting with all the aspects of human society that it can be applied to and all the crazy ideas that we keep coming up with fills me with as much joy as catching my first Pokémon ever.

Derrik Motz, Student Member

Derrik is currently studying B.Sc. Kinesiology. He returned to school last fall to further his education. He is also a Registered Pharmacy Technician, or as he prefers, a “Professional Drug Dealer.” During his spare time, he enjoys to lose multiple litres of sweat, and challenges his extraordinarily low flexibility while practicing hot yoga. He is also an avid, subpar hockey player that always snipes bar-down ferda boys and has sick cellys. However, most of his time he wrestles the wild and mysterious Kongamato in the Congo. Derrik and his mythical companion Mokèlé-mbèmbé are an undefeatable team and a force to reckon with. This all happens in the short rainy season while on the hunt for ripe diospyros, guavas, and the pristine kola nuts; all which are necessary for survival in the harsh African jungle conditions.

William Reid, Student Member

I was born in Lethbridge, but I was raised in the small town of Raymond; a short distance outside of Lethbridge. From the time I was nine years old, I have wanted to be a medical doctor. The idea was introduced to me when I was sitting on the couch one day and switched the channel to the television show House. The interesting equipment, techniques and the overall environment, combined with my innate desire to help people, introduced me and fueled my desire to become a doctor. It wasn’t until high school that I discovered my passion for science and discovery and this seemed to confirm to myself that becoming a medical doctor was the right path for me. I graduated from Raymond High School in 2014 as the valedictorian and began my studies at the University of Lethbridge the same year with my major being biochemistry. I was introduced to iGEM at the end of my third undergraduate year and so far it has been amazing! I hope to continue to work with iGEM as a team whilst also learning new and useful laboratory skills.

Morag Runnett, Student Member

I am in my third year of my Bachelors of Science, majoring in Neuroscience. This is my first year of iGEM and my first taste of synthetic biology. As such it has been an exhilarating, if slightly overwhelming, experience. I am so excited to be involved in the University of Lethbridge’s iGEM team. I cannot wait to take all this newfound knowledge and skills into my everyday life and future studies.

Jessica Semmelrock, Student Member

Two years after my initial involvement with an iGEM team I was drawn back into the adventure. Playing sports, hiking, and working with animals are all things I love to do but I am exceptionally excited to be involved in the rapidly developing field of synthetic biology. The 2017 University of Lethbridge iGEM team is my gateway into making my childhood dreams come true.

Sandhya Sunuwar, Student Member

Sandhya Sunuwar (aka watermelon) is a biology student from Nepal. She is currently studying at the University of Lethbridge and this is her first year taking part in Igem. She strives to be part of the innovative biological society to improve the quality of life in her homeland and the world.

Kristi Turton, Student Member

From the wilderness of Northern Alberta arose a child of legend. From the forest she appeared and travelled South to become the greatest warrior ever conceived. In result however, she came a YouTube addicted brunette whose after school activities consist of recreating Pitch Perfect. If you can't find her "singing" in the Fine Arts underbelly she will be in the labs, training for her attempt at reaching a career in Human Pathology. She takes pride in her attempts at driving her roommate crazy and is working on her memoir, 101 Ways to eat ramen. Kristi is a fourth year student hoping to help the lives of others while travelling the world.

Harland Brandon, Advisor

Once upon a time, this young aspiring space cowboy dreamed of a life among the stars. After several years of involvement in iGEM and in graduate school he has, much to his dismay, discovered that his time is best suited here on Earth contributing to scientific discovery and innovation that will allow human society to live on well into the future despite what the future throws at us. The potential that synthetic biology brings to so many diverse fields from medicine to manufacturing to environmental remediation to the exploration of space has motivated Harland to once again take part in iGEM, this time as an advisor helping to mold young minds of the future. One day he hopes that his time in iGEM was well spent, and that other aspiring space cowboys get the chance to ride off into the night sky with all the tools they may need, held within small programmable genetic machines.

Michelle Cradduck, Advisor

Hi, my name is Michelle Cradduck. I am a graduate student with AAFC studying perennial wheat. I joined iGEM to learn more about a completely different area of research, as well as to help with the molecular biology portion of the project. Besides science, I love running, corgis, agriculture and my fiancé Dustin Smith.

Graeme Glaister, Advisor

After several years of being a part of iGEM I have come to the realization that I have grown addicted to it. This makes perfect sense with why I first joined iGEM. The idea that synthetic biology could help me kick my other addictions of smoking and caffeine consumption inspired me to work ever harder on our teams projects each year and helping to improve the synthetic biology field overall. Even though the “how” synthetic biology would relieve me of my addictions was not known at the time, and still isn’t, I have forever been convinced that the field has the power to do great things! I hope that my contribution to this year’s University of Lethbridge iGEM team has a lasting impact on science and society as my contributions to iGEM for five years has now become a new addiction.

Suneet Kharey, Advisor

This is my fifth year of iGEM, Graeme keeps convincing me to come back! I was less involved this year compared to previous years so that newer members would have the opportunity to gain the iGEM experience and gain new insights.

Dustin Smith, Instructor

Hi, my name is Dustin Smith. I am a graduate student majoring in biomolecular science, and I have been involved with iGEM forever. Besides science, I love snowboarding, hockey, biking, and my fiancee Michelle Cradduck.

Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden, Primary Investigator

Originally from Germany I moved to Canada in 2005 to start a research group on the structure and function of the bacterial protein synthesis machinery, a cellular process targeted by over 50% of the known antibiotics. I am intrigued by the molecular design and function of this essential bio-nanomachine. I try to unravel the underlying design principles in order to enable the rational design and engineering of novel bio-nanomachines. I am essentially asking the question if such novel bio-machines can be constructed from simple and fundamental principles or are these assemblies just to complex. Well and that’s why it was extremely easy to rope me into doing iGEM.

Dr. Trushar Patel, Secondary Investigator

I joined the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute at the University of Lethbridge as an Assistant Professor in 2016 and the iGEM Lethbridge team in 2017. My laboratory is focusing on understanding the recognition events between viral nucleic acids and host proteins that results in upregulation of viral replication. I am very excited to be a part of an iGEM team and learn more about advances in synthetic biology and apply synthetic biology approaches, in combination with biochemical and biophysical techniques to achieve our goals.

Dr. Brian Dempsey, Faculty Advisor

I am a Structural Biochemist and new to Synthetic Biology and iGEM. I love the idea of being able to make whatever I want in the lab. Previously I have used NMR and X-ray crystallography to look at protein-protein interactions. My wife is a Biochemist also, which makes dinner conversation interesting (for us anyways).