Team:StanfordBrownSpelman/Meet Our Team


Stanford–Brown–Spelman iGEM 2014

The 2014 Stanford-Brown-Spelman iGEM Team, featuring NASA Ames Chief Scientist and Brown Alumna, Ellen Stofan.

Eli Block

Eli Block is a third year Brown + RISD Dual Degree student majoring in Industrial Design at RISD and concentrating in Biology at Brown; he's particularly interested in designed ecologies, evolutionary biology, and wearable technology. Eli worked on the wasp protein waterproofing project, built concept UAVs, cooked experimental biomaterials, and developed the team wiki. Eli loves dinosaurs, artificial intelligence, print design, and swimming like a merman in the Brown University pool.

Jovita Byemerwa

Jovita is from Tanzania, and is currently in her third year at Brown University concentrating in Computational Molecular Biology. This summer, she worked on the biodegradability project and explored human practices of UAVs. A huge interest of her's is language: she loves learning them, speaking them and even teaching them. She speaks Kiswahili (her mother tongue), English (of course), Italian and a bit of Spanish.

Ross Dispenza

Ross is a junior at Brown University concentrating in Chemistry and French Studies. He worked on the cellulose acetate and cross-linker projects this summer. In high school, he once won a quiz bowl tournament for his team by answering a question about Lady Gaga.

Benjamin Doughty

Ben is a sophomore at Brown University intending to concentrate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Over the summer he worked on the Cellulose Acetate and Amberless Hell Cell projects. He can sing the alphabet backwards and once took home third place in a curling tournament. He also LOVES Gossip Girl and Nicolas Cage.

Poorwa Godbole

Poorwa is a junior at Stanford University majoring in Economics and planning to go to medical school after graduation. This summer she worked on the biodegradability and cellulose acetate projects, and made sure to hug each person on the team at least once a day. She enjoys dancing, laughing, and watching Blue Planet on Netflix.

Jeannette Gonzales-Wright

Jeannette is a junior in the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) at Brown University. She is concentrating in Science & Society: Health/Medicine. This summer she worked on biodegradability, the human practices of UAVs, and the powerpoint presentation of our research. She identifies as a proud CODA and would prefer to talk to you in American Sign Language than in a spoken language.

Ian Hull

Ian somehow made it through his freshman year at Stanford without sustaining any major chemical burns. Apparently that makes him a sophomore now, and he's interested in bioengineering, chemistry, and science communication. This summer, he worked on the wasp protein and wax ester waterproofing projects. His hobbies include Bollywood dance and playing the trumpet. He loves the ocean and once swam with whale sharks.

Jotthe Kannappan

Jotthe is a small and energetic junior in bioengineering at Stanford University. This summer, she worked primarily with wasp proteins in material waterproofing and biomaterials on the production of cellulose acetate. When she's not pipetting, she can be found humming obnoxiously, dancing, or curled up with a good book.

Alexander Levine

Alex is a junior at Brown University concentrating in Mathematical Physics. This summer, he worked mostly on attempting to make Gluconacetobacter hansenii produce cellulose acetate, and on creating software tools for synthetic biology.

Raman Nelakanti

Raman is the captain of the SBS iGEM team. He recently graduated from Stanford with a major in Bioengineering and worked on the Amberless Hell Cell project this summer. Outside of science, his interests include singing, hiking, exploring, and living life. And one random fact about him - he once serenaded Justice Sandra Day O'Connor!

Lydia Ruffner

Lydia is a recent graduate of Spelman College, where she majored in Biochemistry. Currently she is a first-year PhD student in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Program at Northeastern University. This summer she worked on the Modeling portion of the Cellulose Acetate Project. Outside of the lab, she loves watching football (Go PATRIOTS!!), spending time with her family, and shopping.

Alaina Shumate

Alaina is a junior at Stanford University majoring in bioengineering. This summer she worked on the Amberless Hell Cell and Cellulose Cross-linker projects. While nothing makes her happier than Minipreps, she also enjoys drinking coffee, tap dancing, and convincing people that her home state of Wyoming is actually a fun place.

Aryo Sorayya

Aryo is a sophomore at Stanford University, where he is studying Biochemistry and Computer Science. At Ames, Aryo worked on the Wasp Protein and Biodegradability projects, helped develop the team wiki, and strove to keep lab morale high! Aryo is a cheerful polyglot and enjoys learning about other cultures, playing pranks on his teammates, and traveling the world.

Kyla Ugwu

Kyla Ugwu is a junior biochemistry major, mathematics minor at Spelman College. After graduation, she plans on getting a medical degree and a master’s in public health. During her time at NASA Ames Research Center, she worked on the Biodegradation project and Waterproofing projects. In her free time, she likes to sing with her quintet on campus and go to the movies as many times as her pocketbook will let her.

Dr. Lynn Rothschild

Lynn is the lead scientist in synthetic biology at NASA Ames Research Center where her lab has been working on cool projects ranging from the search for life in the universe and extremophiles, to pioneering how synthetic biology can be used to address NASA's missions. She is also an adjunct professor at Brown University, inter alia, Brown Home Page. Her lab looks forward to hosting the team every year as they pioneer ways to take synthetic biology literally "out of this world". PS Yes, she really does play the bagpipes!

Dr. Joseph Shih

Joseph is the wet lab Lecturer in the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University. He got his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University and did his post-doc in Pam Silver's lab at Harvard Medical School. He is always curious about biology and the potential for synthetic biology to change the world!

Dr. Gary Wessel

Gary is a Professor of Biology at Brown University. He has been the faculty sponsor for the Brown University team since 2006 and teaches the synbio course at Brown "Bio 1210 Synthetic Biological Systems". His research focuses on anything germ line and reproduction and applies synthetic biological approaches to this research field.

Dr. Kimberly Jackson

Kimberly is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and co-director of the new Interdisciplinary Food Studies at Spelman College. She maintains an active research program in cancer therapeutics and drug discovery with funding from various agencies. Outside of being a professor, program director, mentor and researcher, Kimberly enjoys being a volleyball and soccer mom (of 3), wife of a research scientist, flutist and undercover foodie. One random fact—she completed part of her graduate studies as a NIH Fogarty fellow in Turku, FINLAND.

Dr. Jean Dimandja

Jean-Marie Dimandja received his bachelor's in mathematics from Miami University, and his master's and doctorate in analytical chemistry from Southern Illinois University. Prior to joining the chemistry department at Spelman College in 2002, he worked at the NASA/Ames Research Center from 1991 to 1997, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1997 to 2002 where he developed analytical methods for use in space research and environmental biomonitoring respectively.

Dr. Kosuke Fujishima

Kosuke works as a researcher in Lynn Rothschild's lab tackling Origins of life questions using Synthetic Biology. He got his Ph.D in Systems Biology from Keio University (Japan) and is currently involved in multiple themes related to Astrobiology. He has been a technical advisor of the iGEM team since 2011. Aside from science, Kosuke has an absolutely adorable 14-month-old daughter named Sana, who the entire lab is in love with.

Ryan Kent

Ryan was a member of the 2011 Brown/Stanford iGEM team and graduated from Stanford in 2012 with an M.S. in Biology. This is his second year as an iGEM mentor and as a member of Dr. Lynn Rothschild’s lab at NASA Ames Research Center. When he’s not whipping the team into shape, he enjoys writing about himself in the third person and surfing. -Ryan

Kendrick Wang

Kendrick is a researcher at NASA Ames Research Center in Professor Lynn Rothschild’s lab. He recently earned his B.S. degree in Bioengineering at Stanford University. His research work focuses on the Origins of Life question, the prebiotic environment, and Astrobiology. He was a member of the 2012 Stanford Brown iGEM team and has been an advisor for iGEM teams since 2013. He is from California originally, but grew up abroad in Hong Kong and Singapore. For fun, he loves rock climbing and mountain biking.
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