Team Members

Ainna Randhawa

Biological Sciences (3rd Year)

Everyone knows that Annas are pretty darn cool. The Calgary team lucked out because this year, there are two of us. Thus, I spent the summer as "Randy" or "Ainna v2.0" (the other one is a darling, but she is the beta version and still needs a few tweaks). I joined iGEM this year, and was primarily involved with the design aspect of our project. I also made several birthdays and goodbye cards, which was obviously my most important contribution. Outside of iGEM, I like to... Ha! How silly, there is nothing outside of iGEM. What is this "life" you speak of? Is it pretty? My plans post-iGEM are to complete my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences (hopefully) and subsequently play it by ear. As they say "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."

Alina Kunitskaya

Chemical Engineering (2nd Year)

This is my first year on the University of Calgary’s iGEM team. As an engineering student on the team, I was responsible for 3D modelling and animations using Autodesk Maya, quantitative modelling, prototype design, circuits design and programming Arduino Uno microcontroller. Over the summer, I enjoyed working in a dynamic team of undergraduate and graduate students with different backgrounds. I love that iGEM is student driven and so interdisciplinary. While I am waiting for my models and animations to render, I can be found running, hiking, biking, reading or……studying. Some of the topics I like to explore on my free time include space travel, quantum physics, and effects of quantum physics in biology.

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Anna Fei

Health Sciences (4th Year)

Everyone knows that Annas are pretty darn cool. The Calgary team lucked out because this year, there are two of us. Thus, I spent the summer as "Fei" or "Anna v2.0" (the other one is a darling, but she is the beta version and still needs a few tweaks). I joined iGEM this year, and was primarily involved with transformations in the lab. I also brought a toaster to our common area, which was obviously my most important contribution. Outside of iGEM, I like to... HA! How silly, there is nothing outside of iGEM. What is this "life" you speak of? Is it pretty? My plans post-iGEM are to graduate (hopefully) and subsequently play it by ear. As they say, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That's why it's called the present."

Dan Ziemianowicz

Biochemistry (Graduated)

I've recently completed my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and am continuing my career in structural proteomics. In the meantime I've dedicated my time, efforts, and sleep, to our iGEM project. I've lent a hand in most aspects of our project, but my focus has been on designing sample preparation and the genetic circuit itself. After lab hours I do my best to spend time outside, wandering about parks or enjoying good company in the woods. Otherwise I'm playing squash, longboarding, learning to cook a new dish, or reading a book. You can't do good science without a balanced life.

Dave Curran

Bioinformatics (3rd Year PhD Candidate)

I am the team’s returning iGEM veteran, having been a student with Calgary in 2007 and 2008, and leading the team in 2010. I like to think the team keeps me around for my experience and bioinformatics expertise, but they just think I’m old and bearded, and fixed the printer that one time. Oh well. Anyways, I like bioinformatics; modeling protein structures and sequence evolution is super cool. And parasitic worms are truly disgusting creatures (worse than you can imagine), so working on them is a lot of fun. When not working on my computer for work, I’m generally tinkering on my desktop at home, playing volleyball, or shreddin’ the pow (snowboarding for the unenlightened).

Dennis Kim

Biomedical Sciences (2nd Year)

This is my first year in iGEM and during the project I was involved primarily with the reporter and repressor operons used in our pathogen detection system. My main interest has been in assembling the necessary genes into a functioning operon and cloning it within Escherichia coli for future integration into the thrC locus of our Bacillus subtilis. In my free time I enjoy learning about sacred texts and watching badly reviewed movies with close friends.

Emma Fu

Cellular, Molecular, & Microbial Biology (4th Year)

This was my first year with iGEM. The semester before joining iGEM I took a research course and enjoyed learning about research techniques. Naturally, I wanted to put what I learned to work, so I joined the iGEM team. I'm an avid traveller and unexpectedly spent most of the summer abroad, so I was a floater for the summer helping out wherever needed. Aside from travelling, I spend my time reading, binge-watching TV shows on Netflix or doing ballet.

Israt Yasmeen

Health Sciences (4th Year)

I am a fourth year student in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program. I have dedicated most of my summer to B. subtilis and getting it to transform efficiently. Being a member of iGEM has allowed me to venture into the world of synthetic biology, a field I was completely unaware of. When my time with B. subtilis does not go as planned, I give us some time by transporting myself to unknown lands and going on exciting adventures by reading books. Another way I travel is by listening to music from around the world. Apart from appreciating the diversity of lab racks, I have survived the summer by relying on something that has been a constant companion: Coke (the drinking kind of course).

Jamie Fegan

Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (4th Year PhD Candidate)

This year marks my second year involved with the Calgary iGEM team where I have returned as a graduate advisor. I enjoy the collaborative nature iGEM and believe the multidisciplinary approach to projects provides invaluable experience to a diverse group of students. When I'm not comparing herding undergrads to herding cats, I can be found in the lab working on studying vaccine design and antigen engineering against the pathogen Neisseria meningitidis, the causative agent of meningococcal disease. When I manage to escape the academic bubble, I can be found playing volleyball or squash or hanging out at home with a glass of wine, binge watching entire TV series with my cats.

Wm. Keith van der Meulen

Electrical & Computer Engineering/Computer Science (3rd Year)

After enjoying my iGEM experience with the 2013 iGEM Calgary team, I returned to this year's team as an advisor. My primary responsibility this year has been building the wiki. Besides iGEM, I run a non-profit called Foster Bikes that donates bikes to foster children, mentor a handful of younger students, and keep myself actively my universities volunteering and networking circles. On the days that I'm not behind my computer coding for assignments, iGEM, or any of my other million projects, I enjoy playing piano, hiking, skiing, and pretending I have an the time for a normal social life.

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Laura Fader

Chemical Engineering (2nd Year)

This is my first year with iGEM, and as an engineer on the team I have been working primarily on the modelling and prototype aspects of our device as well as human practices. I am a second year chemical engineering student with a minor in entrepreneurship and enterprise development. In my spare time I enjoy playing field hockey and the keytar. I also have a large passion for travelling and volunteering internationally.

Mariya Shtil

Chemical Engineering (3rd Year)

I am a third year chemical engineering student at the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary. This is my first year as an undergraduate researcher with iGEM and my primary responsibilities were designing the physical prototype, programming the microcontroller and the sensors, 3D modelling with Maya, and wiring circuitry. In my spare time I enjoy photography, reading, hiking and pretending that I have a social life while being a hermit and watching Suits.

Saira Farooq

Health Sciences (4th Year)

This is my first year in iGEM as an undergraduate researcher. I am a prospective graduate from the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at the University of Calgary, currently in my fourth and hopefully last year. I did a lot of lab work this summer on the transformation side of things, especially with regards to optimizing transformation of our PCR products and how that will feed into the genetic circuit. In my free time, I like to spend time with my family, eat my sorrows away and place lab equipment on shelves where Israt cannot reach them.

Sarah Townes

Biological Sciences (4th Year)

This is my first year on the iGEM team. I was a part of the Detector's sub-group and so I spent most of my time in the wet lab this year. When I’m not suffocating under mounds of sequencing results, I love playing basketball, sleeping, eating and hanging out with my kitties. I also volunteer at a shelter three times a week where I care for and play with homeless cats.

Shelby Fretwell

Biological Sciences (4th Year)

This summer I was responsible for generating images of the viable B. subtilis bacterial cells after transformation, and of the B. subtilis spores using various staining techniques, such as Gram and Spore stains. I was also responsible for checking the viability of B. subtilis spores after they had been subjected to harsh conditions and quantifying the growth seen. I was also involved in lots of other projects, such as sporulation, to lend a hand. I helped out my other team members where ever they needed an extra hand with the work that they were completing. As well as being involved with iGEM this summer, I also volunteered in a 24 hour animal hospital and worked two different jobs. My life is not all work though! I enjoy drawing, reading, spending time with my friends and family, and anything car related. Thankfuly these help maintain my sanity during the crazy experience that is iGEM.

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Taylor Remondini

Medicine (1st Year)

This is my second year helping out with iGEM as I got pulled back to help get the team started at the beginning of this summer. I recently received my Bachelor of Science in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology and am now in the M.D. program at the University of Calgary. I look forward to enjoying a career in medicine while keeping a special spot in my life for synthetic biology.

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Tegan McDonald

Biological Sciences (4th Year)

I’m a 3rd year Bio student interested in environmental sciences and conservation biology. I was a volunteer for the Calgary 2014 iGEM team, I partook in some wet lab work and analyzing the sequencing of our parts. In my free time, I enjoy reading comic books and spend way too much time on the internet.

Victoria Fraser

Physics (4th Year)

This is my first year as an iGEM team member. I have spent the majority of the summer working on fund development to keep the lights on, as well as participating on our Policies and Practices team. When I find myself with free time I like to hang out with my two puggle puppies and my husband, spending as much time outside as possible camping and hiking.

Anthony Schryvers

Microbiology, Immunology, & Infectious Diseases (Professor)

I obtained a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta and an MD at the University of Calgary. During my Postdoctoral training at U of C I also served a 2 1/2 year term as VP Research for Chembiomed. During my first 17 years as a faculty member at the University of Calgary I was focused primarily on research. I have been involved in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program since its inception, and currently serve as Director of the Program and as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Science Education. I currently hold appointments in the Departments of Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in the Faculty of Medicine, and in the Department of Food Production Animal Health in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

Anders Nygren

Electrical & Biomedical Engineering (Professor)

I have a PhD from Rice University, Houston, Texas, and MSc degrees from the University of Houston, Texas and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. I am an Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Associate Dean (Academic & Planning) for the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary. I have a research background in computer modeling of biological and physiological systems and got involved in iGEM to learn about how computer modeling can be applied to Synthetic Biology. This is the sixth time I am involved as one of the facilitators for a U of C iGEM team.

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Cesar Rodriguez

Senior Research Scientist, AutoDesk, Inc.(Advisor)

I'm a Senior Research Scientist in the Bio/Nano/Programmable Matter group at Autodesk. I'm focused on computer-aided design of engineered cells and multicellular systems. I provided advise on the development of "wetware schematics" that describe the biological designs and 3D models of the hardware designs.

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