About Us

iGEM UNC-Asheville Team

Who We Are

The Students, Faculty and Staff that made this project possible.

The School
University of North Carolina at Asheville.

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As the only dedicated liberal arts institution in the University of North Carolina system, UNC Asheville kindles learning by offering students an intellectually rigorous education that builds critical thinking and workforce skills to last a lifetime. Small class size, award-winning faculty and a nationally acclaimed undergraduate research program foster innovation as well as recognition.

The cornerstone of a liberal arts education is the ability to explore the connections between many different subjects as well as the options available. So learning here expands well beyond the classroom walls. Focusing on undergraduate studies, we help students dig into learning, whether they participate in faculty-mentored research projects, undertake career-related internships, study abroad, or join service projects aimed at improving the quality of life at home and around the world. We encourage everyone to seek challenges, seize opportunities and become a doer as well as a thinker.

At UNC Asheville, we’ve created an environment for exploring the world as well as more than 30 different majors. About 3,900 undergraduate students and about 330 full- and part-time faculty bring the campus alive with a genuine hunger to understand and contribute to the human experience. Amid the culturally rich setting of Asheville, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s all designed to spark a lifelong quest to know more — a fire that will grow brighter in the future.

The Crew
The UNCA iGEM Team is composed of students from numerous disciplines coming together to teach each other synthetic biology.

Nick White
Team Captain, Lead Biochemist, Tyrant
Bachelors of Science in Chemistry with a Minor in Neuroscience

"I'm not saying I'm the best, but y'know..."

Nick is from Rochester, NY and is a motivated biochemist and a brilliant molecular biologist. Nick's leadership brought us together and leads us forward. They say he is stuck in Zeis to this day. Nick loves cooking, fencing and Italian loafers.

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W.R. Jackson
Vice-Captain, Biocoder, Guy Friday
Bachelors of Science in Computer Science with a Minor in Biology

"I do know things, just not about anything pertinent to this."

Jackson is from Fredericksburg VA, and is a curious programmer and amateur biohacker. Jackson handles the bureaucracy, the tech, and the chores. Jackson is a huge fan of dogs, beer, and Hawaiian Shirts.

Jonathan Deutsch
Biomathematician, Mascot
Bachelors of Science in Chemistry with a Minor in Math

"...But yeah, I don't know why they do that."

Jon hails from Raleigh-Durham, NC and is a brilliant mathematician and innovative chemist. Jon's insight into how the world functions was integral to the project. His chief interests are math, playing the guitar and Chinese food.

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Katie Brown
Microbiologist, Cheerful Person
Bachelors of Science in Biology

"Why would you think that? I'm gosh darn responsible."

Katie comes from Atlanta, Georgia and is an exceptionally motivated microbiologist and a bold advocate for biotechnology. Katie is a bright ray of sunshine in the lab. Katie loves to swim, listen to music, and hang out with her family.

Dog, Moral Support
No Degree, Just Dog


Bishop comes from Canton, NC and spent most of his life as a special needs therapy dog. Bishop provided integral moral support to the iGEM team. Bishop enjoys walkies, food, and sleep but doesn't everybody?
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Dr. Ryan Steed
Principal Investigator
"Does it matter? Just put P.H.D."

"I mean, you could. I don't know why, but you could."

Dr. Steed originates from Somewhere, Kentucky and is a singularly gifted biophysicist and easy mark to shake down for lab supplies. Dr. Steed let us fly or fall on our own merits, giving us a unique iGEM experience. Dr. Steed loves his wife, his children, and tolerates the rest of us.

We wouldn't have gotten this far without some help.

Dr. Ted Meigs
Professor of Molecular and Chemical Biology


Dr. Melanie Heying
Chemistry Lab Manager

Mitra Sadeghian
Chemistry Department Administrative Assistant

Fred Tugas
Associate Director, Programming

Aaron Dahlstrom
Annual Giving and Communication Manager

Kevin Gibson
Environmental Health and Safety Professional