• Charles Hsu
  • Clara Park
  • Divya Arcot
  • Grant Robinson
  • Jenny Cheng
  • Jonathan Chien
  • Kenneth Hu
  • Louis Lamia
  • Mariola Szenk
  • Michelle Dion
  • Semon Rezchikov
  • Tiffany Huang
  • Tyler Wagner


  • Ron Weiss (Instructor)
  • Linda Griffith (Instructor)
  • Jonathan Babb (Advisor)
  • Deepak Mishra (Advisor)

Lab Shift Monitors

  • Matthew Adendorff
  • Fahim Farzadfard
  • Shridhar Jayanthi
  • Ali Kazerani
  • Allen Lin
  • Shawn Finney-Manchester
  • Jacob Rubens
  • Vivek Sivathanu
  • Jordan Whisler

Additional thanks to

  • Mark Bathe
  • Peter Andrew Carr
  • Domitilla Del Vecchio
  • Roger Kamm
  • Natalie Kuldell
  • Thomas Knight
  • Timothy Lu
  • Narendra Maheshri
  • Jacquin Niles
  • Kristala Jones Prather
  • Rahul Sarpeshkar
  • Feng Zhang

Jenny Cheng

is a recent graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, currently working at Ginkgo Bioworks. She received her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in June of 2011. Jenny decided to join the iGEM team to gain further experience in synthetic biology after becoming interested in the subject while working as an undergraduate researcher under Peter Carr. She looks forward to being able to continue to combine her solid computer science skills with her lab experience to solve biological problems through iGEM. In her free time, Jenny enjoys video game design and animation and has worked in the Singapore- MIT GAMBIT Game Lab where she was part of a team that created the game Phorm. She also likes to travel and is fluent in both English and Mandarin Chinese. Last summer, she taught computer science to students in Jerusalem as part of the Middle East Education through Technology (MEET) Program.

Charles Hsu

is a sophomore studying biology at MIT. Charles decided to participate in iGEM because he felt it would be an excellent opportunity to explore the manipulation of fundamental principles of life to engineer innovative solutions to challenging problems. He hopes to use the leadership and technical skills he gains from iGEM to help him in his aspiration of becoming a clinical physician. Charles has previous lab experience from working at the National Yang-Ming Medical University Department of Physiology Clinical Medicine Core Lab. While there, he researched the effect of anti- inflammatory chemicals on the recovery rate of wounded alveolar epithelial cells and designed a new error-minimizing measurement technique utilizing basic geometry software. Outside the lab, Charles spends his free time leading the MIT Freshman Heavyweight Crew as a coxswain. Charles is also an Eagle Scout studies viola and chamber music with Professor Marcus Thompson.

Michelle Dion

is a rising junior pursuing a degree in chemical-biological engineering with a minor in literature. Michelle decided to participate in iGEM because she felt it was an ideal opportunity to utilize her knowledge of engineering and of biology to design and implement an innovative synthetic biology project in a team environment. Her interest in iGEM and synthetic biology stems from her belief that, as an athlete and MIT student, no one should be kept from pursuing their passions by physical limitations, such as disease or disability. She hopes in the future to be able to pursue a career in either medicine or biological engineering in which she is able to use synthetic biology to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic diseases. Michelle also looks forward to gaining extensive experience in a lab environment through iGEM as well. When not in lab, Michelle is a starter for both the MIT Varsity Field Hockey and the MIT Varsity Softball teams, where she has been a two-time NEWMAC Academic All Conference selection. She also spends time volunteering in the greater Boston area as a tutor for Tutors for All, a program dedicated to providing one-on-one instruction to students in underserved urban schools.

Divya Arcot

is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Class of 2014. Divya decided to participate in iGEM because she believed it would give her an unparalleled insight into the field of synthetic biology and the ways in which she could apply it to use in solving problems in immunology, an area in which she is extremely passionate about. Outside of biology, Divya’s interests include aerospace and space exploration. She is a member of the executive board of MIT Students for the Exploration and Development of Space where she serves as publicity chair. Divya also interned at the NASA Johnson Space Center where she created the infrastructure for an Asbestos Exposure Assessment Database, which compiles hazardous material exposure data into a well-organized format for NASA, OSHA, and the EPA. Divya was the 2010 National Winner of the National Center for Women and Information Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing and the Colorado State Winner and National Finalist for the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award.

Clara Park

is a rising sophomore pursuing a degree in Biological Engineering. Clara became interested in iGEM because she enjoys the way in which synthetic biology is a dynamic, interactive field with infinite potential to be able to solve global issues. She was also excited to join iGEM because she felt it was one of the very rare opportunities that she would get to build something out of her imagination with minimal restrictions. Clara hopes to use iGEM to gain skills to build a foundation for her future career in synthetic biology. Outside of iGEM, Clara’s research experience includes being a research assistant in OLED Research at Hongik University in Korea where she developed a theoretical model for view angle dependent emission pattern of OLEDs and was a second author of a thesis published in Journal of Korean Institute of Electrical and Electronic Materials Engineers (KIEEME). Clara also has a patent under examination in Korea for a travel carrier that resembles a drawer to facilitate the process of packing. Clara won the Kyungki State government Global Leadership Award and the Taiwan Ministry of Education International Intelligent Creativity Contest, both in 2009.

Jonathan Chien

is a rising sophomore at MIT, studying Biological Engineering. He’s participating in iGEM because he’s fascinated by the idea of manipulating and programming biological life as a system of circuits. Prevous to iGEM, he’s worked in a biochemistry laboratory, purifying enzymes and synthesizing deuterated RNA for structure analysis and has also had programming experience. In his free time, he serves as a Tour Guide, Treasurer for the MIT 2014 Class Council, and Vice-President of his fraternity. After graduation, he hopes to work at a local biotechnology company.

Grant Robinson

is a rising junior at MIT, studying Biological Engineering. He was a member of MIT’s 2010 iGEM team and is back because he really enjoyed the pairing of a group collaborative and friendly atmosphere with intense novel research last summer. As an iGEM alumnus, he has valuable synthetic biology and laboratory experience. Outside of iGEM, he assisted with running a synthetic biology class this year, and helps fellow students as a MedLink. After MIT, he hopes to continue his education as a graduate student, potentially studying modularity, control, and design in the field of biology.

Tyler Wagner

is a rising senior at MIT, majoring in Chemical Enginering. He hopes that through iGEM, he can complement his background with synthetic biology. Previous to iGEM, he has worked in both government and MIT labs and has prior programming experience. Last year, he published a report on a bomb facility and propellant burning for the government. Outside of iGEM, he’s a member of MIT’s Varsity Football Team. He is currently deciding whether to pursue a PhD or medical school after graduation, and he hopes that iGEM can help him decide which career path to choose.

Mariola Szenk

is a rising senior in the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, majoring in Biophysics and Economics. She’s especially interested by the emerging technological advancements in biology and is working on iGEM through the EBICS REU program to be on that frontier of development. She brings exhaustive lab experience to the team, having worked in studying genetic mutations, bioinformatics, and in programming software for biology. Outside of iGEM, she sings as President of her college’s choir and has studied abroad in both Italy and Poland. After graduation, she wishes to manufacture biological devices to help others and wants to pursue a PhD.

Semon Rezchikov

is a high school senior at Somerset Academy for Health and Medical Sciences. He’s extremely curious about the potential applications that the field of synthetic biology and bioengineering have, which is why he’s applied to be a part of the iGEM team. He brings an experienced programming background to the team and has an avid interest in mathematics beyond his high school curriculum. His current plan after college is to do research in an industry setting or to start his own biotechnology company.

Louis Lamia

is pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s class of 2014. Louis decided to participate in iGEM because he felt it was a unique opportunity to use his knowledge of computer science and programming to solve biological problems that could possibly lay the foundation for future technology in areas such as medicine and industry. He was also excited to further his research in the dynamic field of synthetic biology after having previously conducted research in the lab of MIT professor, Timothy Lu. When not in lab, Louis is kept busy with his involvement in his fraternity, Theta Delta Chi, where he is the recording secretary. He also enjoys acting in his free time and is a director for the Dramashop Theatre Ensemble. Louis also participates in a wide variety of volunteer activities such as going on the Saint Marcellin Society Service Trip to Peru in July of 2010 where he assisted in the construction of a local school.

Kenneth Hu

is a rising junior at MIT. His participation in iGEM came from the realization that synthetic and systems biology uses the elegant fundamentals of physics to solve the interesting problems of biology. He has extensive biochemical laboratory experience through working with Toxoplasma gondii, and has gained valuable experience in analyzing gene sequencing data, designing gene constructs for transgenic research, and fluorescence microscopy. Other skills include tissue hood protocol, RNA extraction, and microarray analysis. He has a paper published, titled “σE Stress Response in Mutagenesis.” During the semester, he is also a teaching assistant for MIT’s introductory biology course, teaching bi- weekly recitations and preparing course materials for around 20 hours of work per week. In addition to his research experience, he ranked top in the nation as a finalist for the three separate competitions National Physics, Chemistry, and Biology Olympiad. Upon graduation, he hopes to continue his research in synthetic and systems biology as a graduate student, and then continue his work as a postdoc and secure a position at some academic institution.

Tiffany Huang

is pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as a member of MIT’s class of 2013. From the cutting edge research and technology, to the infinite possibilities of working with the fabric of evolution, it was hard for Tiffany not to find synthetic biology interesting. She wanted to return to the lab to gain an appreciation for research and help pioneer an emerging field through this unique opportunity, although she anticipates devoting her future to programming and computer science. She has a strong command over Java and Python through years of experience in using the two languages, and has worked with front-end web design as well as back-end programming. Tiffany exercises her artistic side through web design, photography, drawing, and violin. She also enjoys teaching, having worked closely with high school students to teach a weekly three-hour Advanced Placement Physics class.

Ron Weiss

joined the BE and EECS faculties as dual associate professor (with tenure) starting in July 2009, having moved from Princeton University where he held comparable rank in their department of electrical engineering and with a joint appointment in their department of molecular biology. His degrees are double BA in Computer Science and Economics from Brandeis University (1992), followed by SM and PhD in EECS at MIT (1994, 2001). Professor Weiss is a prominent and widely respected figure in the emerging field known as ‘synthetic biology’, with emphasis on designing molecular circuits governing cell behavior using quantitative systems modeling approaches. He is expected to help lead MIT’s efforts in both synthetic biology and systems biology, and indeed to guide their integration.

Jonathan Babb

is currently performing research to extend the life of silicon technology as well as to create the next generation of carbon-based computing platforms in the emergent fields of synthetic biology and BioCAD. Formerly, Jonathan was a lecturer at Princeton University and founder and CEO of a logic emulation startup. Dr. Babb earned a BS in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an SM and PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT. He is a member of the IEEE.

Deepak Mishra

is a NSF Graduate Fellow in MIT Biological Engineering and a student in Ron Weiss' Synthetic Biology Group. He is interested in synthetic protein phosphorylation networks and the emergence of multicellularity from single celed organisms. Deepak is a returning instructor and been instrumental in our success thus far.

Linda Griffith

heads the Griffith Lab at MIT. She was an Area Head for the Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering Department. She is also the director of the MIT Biotechnology Process Engineering Center as well as a professor of Mechanical and Biological Engineering at MIT.

Timothy Lu

has a PhD in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering from MIT in 2008. He is currently completing his MD degree in the Harvard/MIT HST program. In addition to other awards, Dr. Lu is the Lemelson-MIT student prize winner in 2008. In his PhD work with James Collins at BU/HHMI, Tim built and modeled artificial memory systems and counters in bacteria, and developed methods for delivering synthetically engineered bacteriophage to infection sites. His research focus is the development of synthetic-biology based solutions for pressing medical and industrial problems, using concepts from electronic circuits and systems design. His current focus is inventing effective treatments for infectious diseases and cancer using synthetic biology.

Tom Knight

is a senior research scientist in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, part of the MIT School of Engineering. Inspired in part by the work of Harold Morowitz, a Yale physicist and biologist, Knight studied biochemistry, genetics, and cellular biology, and set up a biology lab within MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science. In this lab he created the concept of the BioBrick and began creating a library of BioBricks that could be used to build biological computation structures. Today, BioBricks form the basis of the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition. Knight continues to focus on Synthetic Biology at the Knight Laboratory.

Linda Griffith

heads the Griffith Lab at MIT. She was an Area Head for the Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering Department. She is also the director of the MIT Biotechnology Process Engineering Center as well as a professor of Mechanical and Biological Engineering at MIT.

Roger Kamm

is the Germeshausen Professor of Mechanical and Biological Engineering and Associate Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. A primary objective of Kamm’s research group has been the application of fundamental concepts in fluid and solid mechanics to better understand essential biological and physiological phenomena. Studies over the past thirty years have addressed issues in the respiratory, ocular and cardiovascular systems. More recently, his attention has focused on two new areas, the molecular mechanisms of cellular force sensation, and the development of new scaffold materials and microfluidic technologies for vascularized engineered tissues. Kamm is a Fellow of the American Institute for Biomedical Engineering and the American Society for Mechanical Engineering. He is the current chair of the US National Committee on Biomechanics and the World Council on Biomechanics, and Director of the Global Enterprise for Micro Mechanics and Molecular Medicine.

Natalie Kuldell

did her doctoral and post-doctoral work at Harvard Medical School. She develops discovery-based curricula drawn from the current literature to engage undergraduate students in structured, reasonably authentic laboratory experiences. She has also written educational materials to improve scientific communication as it occurs across disciplinary boundaries and as it's taught in undergraduate subjects. Her research examines gene expression in eukaryotic cells, focusing most recently on synthetic biology and redesign of the yeast mitochondria. She serves as Associate Education Director for SynBERC, an NSF-funded research center for Synthetic Biology, and Councilor at Large for the Institute of Biological Engineering.

Mark Bathe

joined MIT BE as an assistant professor in January 2009. Mark received his SB (1998), MS (2001), and Ph.D. (2004) in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, with his Ph.D. thesis supervised by Professor Bruce Tidor on computational analysis of proteoglycan and glycosaminoglycan structure and mechanics. During the period 2005-2008 he undertook postdoctoral work as an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow, first with Professor Erwin Frey at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich Germany on theoretical modeling of cytoskeletal dynamics and then with Professor Marie France Carlier at CNRS in Paris France pursuing related cellular biophysics experiments. He has focused his efforts on multi-scale modeling from protein sequence to structure to spatio-temporal dynamics informed by microscopic imaging experimentation, as part of the highly collaborative Laboratory for Integrative Computational Cell Biology & Biophysics.

Peter Andrew Carr

focuses on increasing the scale at which we can engineer organisms, up to entire genomes. Current projects in my lab include: 1) high throughput microfluidic gene and protein synthesis for rapid prototyping of engineered genetic systems; 2) re-engineering the genetic code of microbesproviding plug-and-play capabilities for non-natural amino acids, and constructing "genetic firewalls" to block gene flow to and from of these organisms; 3) error correction methods for de novo synthesized DNA; 4) Control systems and safety standards for engineered organisms. I received my bachelors degree in biochemistry from Harvard College and my Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from Columbia University.

Lab Website

Rahul Sarpeshkar

obtained his Bachelor's degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics at MIT. After completing his PhD at Caltech, he joined Bell Labs as a member of technical staff in the department of Biological Computation within its Physics division. Since 1999, he has been on the faculty of MIT's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department where he heads a research group on Analog Circuits and Biological Systems . His invention of cytomorphic electronics, outlined in his recent book, Ultra Low Power Bioelectronics: Fundamentals, Biomedical Applications, and Bio-inspired Systems, has established an important bridge between electronics and chemistry. This work lays a foundation for a rigorous analog circuits approach to systems biology and synthetic biology. His current research on synthetic biology applies analog circuit techniques to the design, analysis, implementation, and supercomputing chip-based simulation of biochemical networks in E coli and yeast. It has applications in architecting a scalable platform technology and conceptual framework for design that is broadly applicable in all of synthetic biology. It also has specific applications in the treatment of diabetes, antibiotic resistance, and the design of microbial fuel cells. He has received several awards including the NSF Career Award, the ONR Young Investigator Award, the Packard Fellows Award and the Indus Technovator Award for his interdisciplinary bioengineering research.

Narendra Maheshri

is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has bachelor’s degrees in both Chemical Engineering and Biology from MIT, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of California (UC) Berkeley, where he focused on engineering viral vectors for gene therapy. In his post-doctoral studies at UC San Francisco and Harvard, he became interested in systems’ biology and gene regulation. His current research interests are in understanding the dynamics of gene regulation and gene regulatory networks in single cells using a combined experimental and theoretical approach.

Jacob Rubens

is a Ph.D. student in the MIT Microbiology program and a student of Tim Lu in the RLE Synthetic Biology Group. He is interested in developing synthetic biology tools to investigate and exploit the human microbiome for therapeutic purposes as well as optimizing biological circuit engineering methods. Jacob is an alum of the Washington University iGEM team.

Jordan Whisler

is a second year graduate student in the MIT Mechanical Engineering department. He is a research assistant for Roger Kamm and specializes in using microfluidic techniques to control tissue formation and patterning, specifically with respect to the microvasculature.

Allen Lin

is an M. Eng student in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department and a member of the Weiss lab. He is interested in developing engineering principles of synthetic genetic circuits, using methods from control theory, for health and energy applications. Allen is an alum of the Caltech iGEM team.

Feng Zhang

is an assistant professor is MIT's department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.


Domitilla Del Vecchio

is a Keck Career Development Assistant Professor at MIT's department of Mechanical Engineering.


Jacquin Niles

is a Pfizer-Laubach Career Development Assistant Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT's department of Biological Engineering.


Kristala Jones Prather

is an associate professor at MIT's department of Chemical Engineering.


Matthew Adendorff

is a graduate student at MIT.


Fahim Farzadfard

is a graduate student at MIT.


Shridhar Jayanthi

is a graduate student under Domitilla Del Vecchio.


Ali Kazerani

is a graduate student at MIT.


Shawn Finney-Manchester

is a graduate student under Narendra Maheshri.


Vivek Sivathanu

is a Graduate Research Assistant at MIT.


Our Team

The MIT iGEM team this year is very diverse. We are composed of thirteen motivated students across a wide range of academic backgrounds: from high school student to recent graduate, from Physics major to Biology major. Below is a video where you can get to meet the individual team members.