Team Members


Ariel Hernandez-leyva is a junior from Tinley Park, Illinois. He is majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He has previously worked in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Pollard in the MCDB department at Yale watching yeast divide in the warm, soothing darkness of the microscopy room. Outside of science he is interested in juggling and video games. His future plans include medical school and potential MD/PhD programs. His back up plan involves Barnum and Bailey and a lot of face paint.

Stephanie Mao is a sophomore from Salt Lake City, Utah. They will potentially pursue a joint Math and Philosophy major as well as a major in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, which is both a tongue twister and too much work. Outside of science, they are an editor for Broad Recognition, Yale’s online feminist magazine, and enjoy archery and creative writing in their spare time.

Yamini Naidu is a sophomore from Portland, Oregon, majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Apart from iGEM, she is involved with the Yale Politic political magazine, enjoys baking and running, and spending time with her dog, Casper.

Alex Buhimschi is a sophomore from Columbus, Ohio intending to major in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. In addition to iGEM, he is involved with WYBC, Yale’s radio station, and is a consultant for Elmseed, an organization that helps create and improve small businesses in New Haven. In his free time, he enjoys collecting vinyl records and listening to Bob Dylan.

Board Members

Jiahe (Ben) Gu is a junior from Nashville, Tennessee, and he is majoring in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He likes playing the violin, playing tennis, writing, and of course, iGEM. He aspires to become a physician, but first he must develop the ability to go a week without napping.

Ming Chen is a senior hailing from Albany, New York, AKA the place where perforated toilet paper was invented. He dabbles in Biology with hopes that it will one day lead him to stable employment. Besides that, he enjoys badminton, fixing computers and unlimited sushi buffets.

Joel Sher is a junior, from St. Louis, Missouri, majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Besides IGEM, he is involved with the Design for America team at Yale. Special skills include being scary good at Tetris.

Ed Kong is a junior in Yale College, originally from New Jersey, majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Economics. Apart from IGEM, he is involved on the men’s fencing team and Engineers Without Borders. Hobbies include tailoring and pan-seared salmon.

Web Design


Cameron Yick is sophomore in Berkley College from Stamford, Connecticut. He is planning on majoring in Electrical engineering at Yale. He was lead website designer.

Ananth Punyala is a junior in Yale College from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. At Yale, he also does Bollywood dance in Rangeela and helps coordinate the Mathcounts Outreach program. He loves blindfold chess and firmly believes that Coke is the intellectual drink of the future.

Natalie Ma is a PhD candidate in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology in Farren Isaacs’ lab at Yale University. When not mentoring iGEM, she can be found working on her thesis project or pursuing one (or two) of the following hobbies: cooking, baking, reading, hiking, learning how to program, gardening, running, or climbing on things. She also temporarily abandoned her iGEM team in July to volunteer at San Diego Comic-Con.

Farren Isaacs is an Assistant Professor of Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology at Yale University. His research interests include synthetic biology, systems biology and genomics.

Other Members

Akarsh Sharma is a sophomore in Ezra Stiles College from Princeton, New ​Jersey​ who is looking to major in either Biomedical Engineering or Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology​. In addition to working with iGEM, he is engaged in research at a Neurobiology lab in the Yale School of Medicine ​where he is exploring visual sensory map development in the brain. He is also ​part of a dance team as well as cultural groups on campus.

Anoj Ilanges is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He hails from Oceanside, New York, and has always had a strong interest in the biological sciences. Aside from iGEM, he spends a tremendous amount of time in the lab of David Schatz, studying the delicate workings of adaptive immunity. He hopes to attend graduate school after college and gradually build his career in science.

Cathy Ren is a junior from Roanoke, Virginia, majoring in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health. Outside of iGEM, she's a member of the Yale Women's Club Volleyball Team, a Berkeley College Master's Aide, and an editor for the Yale Journal of Medicine and Law. Cathy loves to eat, sleep, and binge-watch TV shows on Netflix. Essentially, Cathy is a TV-watching sloth.

Olga Wroblewski is a Biomedical Engineering Junior in Yale College from beautiful Chicago. When not working with IGEM, she enjoys 3D-printing and machining at her job at Yale’s Center of Engineering, Innovation, Design and planning events with the Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Society. She hopes to one day make a career out of prosthetics or rehabilitation medicine research.

Nolan Maloney is a junior in Ezra Stiles College studying Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. After making his way from Naperville, Illinois, to New Haven, Connecticut, he knew immediately that he wanted to be involved in iGEM. In his spare time, he enjoys basketball, tennis, and going to lab at odd hours. In the future, he hopes to attend medical school and one day become a physician-researcher.

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