Team:UCLA/Team/Meet the Team




David Yao | Student Advisor | Neuroscience
[Why iGEM?] iGEM creates an opportunity to explore scientific frontiers and cross disciplinary boundaries with a team of passionate undergraduates. It's challenging, inspirational, and I learn something new from the students every day. What's there not to love about the program?
[Favorite Ice Cream?] Mint n' chip -- only the green kind though, if it's not the green mint kind it- it's just not the same.

Kayla White | Sophomore | Psychobiology
[Why iGEM?]Our potential for pushing the boundaries of synthetic biology is limited only by the extent of our creativity-it’s pretty amazing! It is important for our generation to overcome the negative stigma surrounding genetic engineering in our society and embrace this burgeoning field with a perspective anchored in scientific evidence. Working on a team of undergrads enthusiastic about synthetic biology excites me for the next-generation innovations this field has to offer!
[Favorite Joke?] How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?
Ten tickles!

Hayden Speck | Junior | Biology & History
[Why iGEM?] I joined iGEM because I like searching for interdisciplinary solutions to problems.
[Favorite Television Series?] Monty Python's Flying Circus--a hilarious series written by some of the most over-educated comedians ever.

Michael Cheng | Sophomore | Bioengineering
[Why iGEM?] We get to choose our own synthetic biology project? We also get to execute it ourselves? Wait, and the stuff that we’re doing is awesome and is actually useful? Why isn’t everyone doing iGEM?.
[Favorite Drink?] Coffee. I dispute the claim that caffeine is not an essential nutrient.

Xingyi Shi | Sophomore | Statistics
[Why iGEM?] I enjoy being in a group of students from various backgrounds and yet share the same interest as them. iGEM has provided me with valuable opportunities and experiences for something new and unfamiliar to me.
[Favorite Doctor?] 11th Doctor Matt Smith. "Bow ties are cool."

Olivia Cheng | Junior | Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (MIMG)
[Why iGEM?] iGEM allows me to explore possibilities and potentials in science while gaining experience in research.
[Favorite Coffee?] Cafe Latte - Not too strong, yet nothing fancy.

Fasih Ahsan | Junior | MIMG & Bioinformatics
[Why iGEM?] I am truly fascinated by our ever-growing ability to harness the power of biology and shape it for our own uses and designs. Being a part of iGEM opens the door to independently exploring and discovering new paradigms of synthetic biology. I am thrilled to begin unearthing these hidden secrets with UCLA iGEM!
[Favorite Hot Sauce?] Sriracha mixed with Cholula and a couple drops of Tapatio!

Phillip Nguyen | Junior | Biochemistry
[Why iGEM?] iGEM is interesting to me since there is much room for creativity,diversity, and autonomy. Synthetic biology is a highly interdisciplinary field that allows individuals from a multitude of backgrounds to come together and produce novel systems, or reinvent preexisting ones. Being that it is primarily undergraduate, I have the impression that everyone has a bigger voice in project directions compared to a conventional university lab.
[Favorite Molecule?] Phosphatidyl Choline

Kane Nania | Junior | Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
[Why iGEM?] The idea that we can engineer life to do practically anything, the idea that that we can abstract this engineering through iGEM and the standardization of genetic parts, is pretty awesome. The potential of synthetic biology is massive and I want to be a part of that.
[Favorite Hairstyle?] Bald with a mullet. Preferably if they have a beard which connects with the mullet. Preferably yet if the beard is of the chinstrap flavour.

Sam Michaels | Freshman | Bioengineering
[Why iGEM?] The environment of students exploring the workings of life is inspiring to witness and exposes me to a new world of possibilities.
[Favorite Aquatic Animal?]Octopus! Their tentacles are fascinating to watch roll around and suction to everything in sight.

Anuved Verma | Junior | Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
[Why iGEM?] I like to make stuff, and iGEM is perfect for that. The opportunity to work on our own projects and build something new is an incredibly unique and rewarding one. Along with providing us with experience across several fields, iGEM is a great way to get to meet many fun, smart, and interesting people!
[Favorite Fast Food Chain?] Subway. Eat fresh.

Ethan Rao | Freshman | Biochemistry
[Why iGEM?] I believe genetic engineering will be one of the fastest growing fields in the next few decades. iGEM is laying the foundation for that.
[Favorite Current TV Show?] Game of Thrones. If you're not watching Game of Thrones, you seriously need to re-evaluate your television priorities. House of Cards is a close second.

Aalhad Patankar | Sophomore | Bioengineering
[Why iGEM?] I joined iGEM because the idea of genetic engineering, and creating such complexity from such a ground level still amazes me.
[Favorite Ninja Turtle?] Raphael.

Daniel Cancilla | Junior | Biochemistry
[Why iGEM?] This program is unique because it offers undergraduates like myself so many different opportunities. We have the opportunity to learn about new ideas from a wide variety of disciplines. We get to take these ideas and apply them in creative ways. Most importantly though, the program offers us the opportunity to meet and hang out with other bright and enthusiastic students!
[Favorite Pastime?] Snowboarding. It's a lot of fun. You should try it!


Dr. Sriram Kosuri | UCLA Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. David Breslauer | Refactored Materials

Dr. Christina Agapakis | Icosahedron Labs

Keegan Owsley | UCLA Dept. of Bioengineering

Dr. Dino DiCarlo | UCLA Dept. of Bioengineering