Ellie Boardman

Ellie is a 4th year MSci Hons Biochemistry and Genetics student. Although her passion in science lies a way away from synthetic biology, in microbial pathogenesis and infection, she thought iGEM would be a fantastic way to broaden her skills and knowledge as she wants to follow a career in scientific research.

“iGEM has been an incredible experience which has taught me a huge variety of things, including the patience needed for molecular biology lab work! Outside of the lab, I am teaching myself piano and how to use Python. I have great fun trying (and failing miserably) to “talk computer” with Vik, our computer scientist, however it is definitely a weak area of mine and iGEM has given me opportunities to learn new things from people who I would never normally come across in my day to day life. iGEM has really advanced me as a scientist, more than I ever thought it could! I really look forward to meeting everyone and presenting the research our wonderful team has done at the jamboree in Boston in November. See you all there!”

Weird fact: Ellie has no weird fact. How weird is that?






Christopher Laurie Barnett Graham

Chris is a 4th Year MSci Hons Biochemistry and Genetics student who leads and works for lab efforts when needed, but also works in experiment design, plasmid construction, website creation, games development and collaboration with other teams. He loves working with a bit of everything and therefore as well as main stream biology a large amount of his experience is in Molecular Dynamics Simulation and bioinformatics. For the majority of the project he has been in the lab team,but he spent his out of lab time making games or prototype modelling programs. He enjoys doing new things, is easily obsessed with the latest craze and has an overactive imagination. His hobbies include being a know it all, drawing, photography, and making music playlists. He has always wanted to be a mad scientist, therefore he knew iGEM was the perfect chance to create pure evil. He is currently doing his masters project on the predatory bacterium Bdellovibrio Bacteriovorus and is starting a PhD at Warwick Oct 2018.

Weird fact: Chris knows there are no such things as "facts". Question everything you do, assumptions are bad.





Edwin Jake Yeboah

Jake is currently a 3rd year Bsc Biotechnology student currently planning and preparing to write a dissertation on his research of Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum. “Taking part in iGEM was a goal of mine ever since I read about it in a science article in my sixth form library”. He was drawn to how almost magical it seemed to be using bacteria in this way and could not believe he had not heard about Synthetic biology sooner. iGEM is also the reason he is studying Biotechnology since it very closely relates to synthetic biology.

“iGEM has been even more intense than I imagined it to be and an experience I will not forget. I cannot stress enough the large amount of skills I’ve gained such as HTML coding, lab skills such as carryout of gel electrophoresis and general team work and optimism. I am looking forward to the infamous Boston Jamboree and hearing some cool accents. See you in November.”

Weird fact: Jake's worst fear is an alien invasion of beings so advanced they wipe us out with minimal effort. Stephen Hawking also believes this is a possibility.




Vikram Chhapwale

Vikram is a modeller and programmer for the iGEM Nottingham Team. He also handles external relations such as talking to the public and to industry contacts as well as handle the legal stuff in the project. His hobbies are playing music live, doing art and playing videogames.

“IGEM has helped me develop stronger team based skills as well as see new applications for computers as helped me gain an insight into the world of research.”

Weird fact: Vikram carries his favourite Yugioh card in his walet just in case the moment arises.



Natalia Kotyńska

Natalia is currently an MSc student in Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology and she graduated with a BSc Hons in Biotechnology this summer. Her research interests are microbial biotechnology and genetics, in particular various applications of microorganisms to obtain valuable products. She is also interested in how synthetic biology can be used to engineer organisms, which could be used as novel cell factories. Natalia’s non-scientific hobbies are yoga and film-making.

“Being a part of iGEM helped me to learn more about my interests and develop necessary skills as a scientist. Long hours spent in the laboratory taught me many techniques which are very valuable in my further study and future job. As a member of iGEM team I’ve also had an opportunity to develop outside of the lab skills such as teamwork and effective communication. The DNA extraction outreach session was one of my favourite activities as it involved getting teenagers (potential future scientists) more interested in science and genetics in a fun way.”

Weird fact: Natalia used to learn Latin and one of her favourite Latin phrases was “Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas”





Georgette Sebastiao

Georgette is a 3rd year Chemical Engineering student trying to experiment a bit of everything to give shape to her future career. In the iGEM team she is usually the person behind the camera (that’s why you don’t get to see her much) and she is currently also responsible for the design and development of Key Coli Set and the management of our Facebook Page. In the last four years, Georgette developed a passion for everything hair-related, so in her spare time (when she is not sleeping) she loves watching and producing hair tutorials as well as experimenting with her hair.

“I think iGEM is a great opportunity for students looking into working on a project of their own. There is a lot to do, therefore, a lot to learn. It’s a great example of how important cooperation is since you have a group of people from different backgrounds working towards the same end goal.”

Weird fact: Georgette dances even when there is no music playing.





Matt French

Matt is a 4th year masters student at Imperial College London, studying an MRes Systems and Synthetic Biology; his undergrad course was BSc Hons Biotechnology at Nottingham. He came across synthetic biology in his second year and was immediately transfixed by it. In his third year Matt tried to do as much of it as he could, as he knew he wanted to continue on towards a career in this field. Matt chose to do his dissertation investigating synthetic biology applications to cardiac regeneration, and of course applying for the iGEM team.

"It has been a fantastic experience, it has greatly furthered my knowledge of how research is conducted and developed invaluable team working skills, all the while having fun. The iGEM competition as a whole is so profound for an undergraduate, it really exposes you to the world of research with all the incredible people and their ideas. It really motivates you to continue on as a scientist, as you are shown how much of an impact you can have and what you can achieve; you get to design your project from scratch, choosing what problem you are passionate about and how you would fix it. Overall, 10/10 would recommend. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Jamboree!"

Weird fact: Per pound, the mantis shrimp has the strongest punch in the animal kingdom.







Alex Conradie


Chair in Sustainable Chemical Processing, Faculty of Engineering at The University of Nottingham.

Nigel Minton


Director, BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC), Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences at The University of Nottingham.




Sophie Vaud


Sophie is a PhD student at the Synthetic Biology Research Centre in Nottingham since January 2015. She aims at taming a bacterium charmingly called Cupriavidus necator that, in spite of a convoluted name, has the great ability to grow on some industrial gas waste such as CO2 and H2. To do so, she is laboriously developing bacterium-related high-throughput genome editing tools to rewire the metabolic pathways of the bug and turn bad gas waste into sustainable chemicals.


When Sophie is not in the lab (because there is an incubation time) , she likes running, reading, kayaking, going to the theater or meeting up friends around Europe for city/beach breaks. A fan of improbable science, she secretly dreams of winning one day an Ig Nobel Prize (like tracking whether locusts could detect collisions in Star Wars films!).


"As a former iGEM student, being a supervisor of the Nottingham iGEM team has been a whole new experience. Challenging but rewarding and good fun! Looking forward to the exciting Boston Jamboree!"

Daphne Groothuis


Daphne is a third year PhD student and her project is part of the European Clospore network. She is working with a bacterial strain that has an unstable genome and is trying to find out why this strain is ‘misbehaving’ on the genetic level. When Daphne is not battling with bacteria and DNA, she loves eating (as much as possible), watching QI, dreaming about having a dog, hiking and family games.


"Supporting the UNOTT iGEM team has been a great experience and has resulted in plenty of funny moments. It has been very impressive how much the team members have learned and accomplished in such a short time. As always in science not everything went smoothly but it is great to see that all their hard work is now paying off!"





Maria Zygouropoulou


Maria defected from pharmacy to molecular microbiology and is now in the final year of her PhD. She is trying to engineer bacteria into tiny, cancer-fighting superheroes by arming them with various anticancer properties. In her free time, she likes to read books, bake and make travel plans. She is an avid online shopper, serial procrastinator and true Jaffa cake addict.


"iGEM has been a great learning journey for all of us – it’s amazing to see how much the team has accomplished in and out of the lab and how much we, as advisors, have learnt alongside them. It’s been a pleasure to work on such a cool idea."

Ines Canadas


Ines is a PhD student in synthetic biology who joined the Synthetic Biology Research Centre in Nottingham (UK) in 2014. Her research has mainly focused on the development of genetic tools for the genus Clostridium, a known chassis for the production of valuable industrial chemicals.


Apart from cloning, Ines likes reading, traveling, swimming and most importantly, talking. In her spare time, she bakes extremely yummy cheesecakes. With enthusiasm, she advises the iGEM team enjoying every moment – good or bad – this competition offers.

Luca Rossoni


Luca is a Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, where he works at developing new/improving existing processes for the bioproduction of commodity chemicals. His research focuses mostly in understanding and overcoming toxicity issues given by products and substrates, and in using synthetic biology and engineering tools to maximise production yields and titres. He has experience in metabolic engineering, microbial fermentation, process design, applied biocatalysis using whole cells and isolated enzymes, enzymology and evolution of enzymes with random and rational approaches.


In his spare time, he is mostly a motorbiker, but he also does some hiking and takes care of his little princess Giulia!

“iGEM is is like doing a PhD project in three months instead of three years!”

James Gilbert


James is a postdoctoral researcher in computational synthetic biology at the SBRC in Nottingham. He is currently researching and developing software related to the metabolic modelling of microbes for the expression of heterologous pathways. A computer scientist by training, he has worked for around 5 years in fields related to complex biological systems with a particular interest in complex networks. His core interest has always been to find ways of applying maths and computing to help build a more sustainable world with systems and synthetic biology.


When he is not sat behind a desk or attending meetings for the iGEM team he like to play the guitar, run, cycle and ski.


"The iGEM competition is a fantastic opportunity to train the next generation of scientists to spread and develop a global message for the potential of synthetic biology to transform our world."

Louise Dynes


Louise is the Synthetic Biology Research Centre’s Outreach and Communications officer based in Nottingham. Her role involves organising outreach and public engagement activities as well as all marketing and communications for the centre. Louise, although not officially part of the team, has been responsible for the iGEM team’s administration this year.


In her free time Louise enjoys going to the gym, socialising, looking after her cat - Oreo and going to rock gigs.


"iGEM is a fantastic opportunity for students to develop new skills and manage their own project. Our team has been working so hard and has done a great job! All the best to them at the Jamboree in Boston!"