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<h2> Team Duke </h2>
<h2> Team Duke </h2>
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Click on our faces to learn more about us!
Click on any of us to learn more, or hover over our faces to learn our names!
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  Not pictured is Janan Zhu:
  Not pictured is Janan Zhu:

Latest revision as of 02:02, 18 October 2014

Group photo Dr. Gersbach Delta Dr. Buchler Charlie Garima TJ Matt Mike Matt

Team Duke

Click on any of us to learn more, or hover over our faces to learn our names!
Not pictured is Janan Zhu:
Janan Zhu is a junior from New York City studying biophysics and math. He is interested in learning more about ways to study biology more quantitatively, and is also involved in computational chemistry research in Weitao Yang's lab. In his free time, he enjoys teaching high school students, playing video games, swimming, and traveling.
Congratulations to our three team members who are currently spending their fall semester abroad! We miss them very much.
  • Matthew Farnitano, South Africa
  • TJ Ciesla, Turkey
  • Janan Zhu, Hong Kong
Photo by Karim Ali


TJ Ciesla

TJ is a Duke junior majoring in biomedical engineering with a certificate in genome science and policy from Tampa, FL. While not iGEMing, he dances on the Duke Raas team, plays the ukulele and optimizes his calorie to vegetable ratio. He likes his coffee black.

Matthew Farnitano

Matthew Farnitano is a junior at Duke University majoring in Biology with minors in chemistry and music. This is his second year as a member of Duke’s iGEM team. In addition to his lab life, Matt plays French horn with the Duke Wind Symphony, and has served as piano accompanist and pit orchestra member with Duke’s Hoof’n’horn musical theatre troupe. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and loves travelling, having visited 49 US states (and counting). He is spending the fall semester in South Africa studying wildlife ecology and conservation with the Organization for Tropical Studies.

Matthew Faw

Matthew Faw is a sophomore pursing majors in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. As a part of iGEM, his contributions ranged from wet lab work to modeling to designing and 3D printing lab hardware. Outside of iGEM, Matthew enjoys flying, running, playing classical guitar, and being a music elitist. He plans to pursue a career at the intersection of engineering and medicine.

Delta Ghoshal

Delta is a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Engineering, with a certificate in Genome Sciences and Policy. She sings in the Duke Chorale and likes science a lot. She also enjoys eating, sleeping, reading, knitting, jokes concerning her name, and dancing, sometimes all at the same time.

Mike Zhu

Mike is a junior studying Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science. Outside of iGEM, Mike conducts research with Dr. John Reif on DNA nanotechnology and is involved with the Chinese Dance team. He enjoys spending his free time cooking, eating, being Canadian, and falling asleep.

High School Students

Garima Tomar

Garima is a senior at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, spending time with her sister, and learning cool things about math. She also dances, and is one of the captains of NCSSM Bhangra. Garima is really excited to be a part of the Duke iGEM team this year, as she is interested in both applying to Duke and majoring in biomedical engineering!

Graduate Students

Charlie Cooper

Charlie is a PhD candidate in Nick Buchler's lab. He is currently working on developing new tools to control biological processes. In his spare time Charlie enjoys running, maintaining his collection of orchids, and driving the speed limit.


Dr. Nicolas Buchler

Nick really likes oscillators, such as the cell cycle, metabolic rhythms, circadian clocks, and synthetic oscillators. Folks in his lab use a combination of synthetic biology, time lapse microscopy, microfluidics, comparative genomics, mathematical modelling, and molecular genetics to understand biological oscillation. When he’s not in lab, he’s at home on 5 acres in the Duke forest with his family. The summer fireflies are very satisfying to watch.

Dr. Charlie Gersbach

Dr. Charles A. Gersbach is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Center for Genomic and Computational Biology at Duke University. He has research interests in gene therapy, regenerative medicine, biomolecular and cellular engineering, synthetic biology, and genomics. Dr. Gersbach received his Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University School of Medicine focusing on the genetic reprogramming of adult stem cells for musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. Dr. Gersbach completed his postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute in molecular biology and biochemistry. Dr. Gersbach's laboratory at Duke University is focused on applying molecular and cellular engineering to applications in gene therapy, regenerative medicine, and basic science. Examples of technologies used in his research include genome engineering, protein engineering, directed evolution, genetic reprogramming, gene delivery, and optogenetics.