Team:British Columbia/Team


Team: British Columbia -

Team Members

Gurpal Bisra I am an engineering physics student, in my final year of undergrad, interested in pursuing bioengineering or biomedical engineering. I joined the iGEM team to further develop my biological skills and apply my engineering skills to a real life biological problem. I have traveled to 14 countries so far and my thirst for adventure never ceases! For our wet lab component, I developed a yeast cell to contain the mutant erg20-2 gene and made ERG20 and erg20-2 bio-bricks. I also helped develop plasmids that contain the K6R-HMG2 and IDI1 genes. My contribution to modeling was to simulate the biochemical pathways for our genetically engineered yeasts. I programmed simulations using MATLAB. Furthermore, I am helping to develop another model which shows the spread of the pine beetle using ARCGIS.
Daisy Ji I am a Pharmacy student interested in translational research. One of the interesting aspects of iGEM is the multidisciplinary approach it takes towards a whole variety of problems. My project consists of expressing 3-carene synthase in yeast and also submitting the 3-carene synthase as a biobrick part. Also, I will be truncating the 3-carene synthase to increase the catalytic efficiency of the enzyme. I am also working to characterize the composite limonene synthase part from the Parts Registry by expressing it in C41 DE3 cells and assaying its limonene production in vitro. I enjoy reading books and playing chess. I also enjoy working out at Birdcoop and ballin'.
Marianne Park I completed my Bachelor of Science at UBC this year and am beginning a new and exciting journey as a first year medical student at UBC this fall. After my fantastic experience as a UBC iGEM team member last year, I decided to stay on the team for another great year of learning, research experience, friendship, and memories. This year, I am on the wetlab track once again and am working with the beta-pinene synthase to create a biobrick part and to overexpress it in yeast to characterize it under GPD and GAL promoters, with and without the erg20-2 and IDI1 gene.
Vicki Ma I completed a Bachelor of Science at UBC this year, and will be going to McGill in the fall to study Occupational Therapy with my fiance (we're recently engaged!) who is beginning his Masters in Medical Physics. This is my second year with UBC iGEM, and I am excited to share my experiences from last year as well as create new memories and stories from this year. My main wetlab role is to obtain limonene synthase from the biobrick registry and overexpress it in yeast for characterization purposes in order to meet the gold medal criteria. I am also assisting the beta-pinene synthase track to yield a variety of yeast plasmids for characterization purposes. At the same time, I am working on formatting and designing our wiki.
Joe Ho I am a 4th year science student at UBC, with the interest of virology and molecular genetics. I'm excited to discover what synthetic biology means to me, to my community, and to the world. For me, science is about making connections and iGEM is a great starting point! With previous lab experience in a medical science lab, iGEM offers another wonderful opportunity for me to explore other fields of science with the hope that one day both of these experiences will connect me to what I want to do in the future. My wetlab role for this project is on the cloning of alpha pinene monoterpene synthase into yeast cells while incorporating other parts to improve productions of monoterpenes. At the same time, I am part of the modelling team, using ArcGIS to simulate the spread of the pine beetle infestation upon introduction of our product.
Samuel Wu I've just finished my third year in engineering physics and joined the team to explore Synthetic Biology, a longtime fascination. My role with the wet lab is to create a genetic construct for the dual expression of two genes (IDI1, HMG-2) encoding enzymes for the melavonate pathway, which supplies the substrate for the monoterpenes. This construct will hopefully boost production of terpenes in yeast expressing a synthase.
Jacob Toth I am a biochemistry student at UBC going into my second year. I joined iGEM to get involved in the world-changing field of synthetic biology, and I am very excited about our project! Outside of science, other interests of mine include playing my violin, studying philosophy, and enjoying nature. My roles on the team include preparing two versions of the 1,8-cineole synthase gene to be put into yeast to be over expressed and working with the ArcGIS program to model the spread of the mountain pine beetle when treated by our products.
Laura Bain I have many loves in life including snowboarding, windsurfing, sailing, biking, gardening AND Biology! I am pumped to be on this year's iGEM team because we are a diverse bunch and have so much to learn from each other! I am very enthusiastic about biology and people so it is a natural fit for me to be spearheading the Human Practices project. I am keen to engage the community in discussions about synthetic biology in non-traditional ways: Creative art projects, videos, forums, roadside chats. Also, It is especially exciting to be partnering with Science World in mentoring and educating Vancouver high school students. We hope to inspire these teenagers to pursue future opportunities in Science and maybe even a 2012 Vancouver Highschool iGEM team!

Graduate Advisors

Alina Chan
I am a PhD student in the Hieter lab utilizing yeast as a model eukaryote to study the connection between chromosomal instability and RNA processing. This is my second year with the UBC iGEM team and I'm super excited that the team is using yeast to produce monoterpenes. My main wet lab role is to train team members in the art of working with yeast and help with general troubleshooting, experimental design and wiki design. I also advise the modeling and human practices sub-teams by helping them set objectives and integrate our wet lab experience into the models and outreach. Additionally, I'm responsible for the yeastie comics and xtranormal videos on the wiki. Boston, here we come!
Rafael Saer
I am a PhD student in the Beatty lab, studying the ramifications of aliphatic side chain mutations on the rate of primary electron transfer events in bacterial photosynthetic reaction centers. This is my second year being a Graduate advisor for iGEM. My purpose in the team is to provide advice during the meetings as well as troubleshooting assistance to any wet lab issues that may arise. I often find myself being a gopher for sundry reagents and buffers that the iGEM team may require. I enjoy hiking, biking, reading, video games, and a nice pint of good beer.
  We have also received modeling advice from:
Shing Hei Zhan
I am a first-year PhD student at the BC Genome Sciences Centre studying cancer genomics and C. elegans genetics. I participated in iGEM 2010 as an undergraduate team member, modeling the response of a bacterial biofilm to a biofilm-degrading phage. This year, I have returned as an Advisor for the modeling team. Vergil's Aeneid is my favorite verse.

Faculty Advisors

Dr. Joanne Fox
Michael Smith Laboratories and Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Leonard Foster
Centre for High Throughput Biology and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Dr. Phil Hieter
Michael Smith Laboratories and Department of Medical Genetics

Dr. Joerg Bohlmann
Michael Smith Laboratories and Departments of Forest Science and Botany

Dr. Chris Keeling
Michael Smith Laboratories
We have also received help from: Dr. Eric Lagally, Dr. Colette Breuil and Dr. Scott Digustini

Where we live

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, one of the world's most spectacular cities, is renowned for its incomparable natural beauty and cultural diversity. For thousands of years the Coast Salish people have called the area home. Their history and traditions, upholding a deep respect for nature and humanity, are tightly woven into the city's cultural fabric. Today, Vancouver's cosmopolitan appeal can be attributed to its international population. As a world-class city, Vancouver continues to draw the world's great nations together in a celebration of human spirit and achievement.

University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia, established in 1908, educates a student population of 50,000 and holds an international reputation for excellence in advanced research and learning. UBC has a spectacular campus that is a 'must-see' for any visitor to the city, where snow-capped mountains meet ocean, and breathtaking vistas greet you around every corner. The campus boasts some of the city's best attractions and recreation facilities, including the Museum of Anthropology, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, the UBC Botanical Garden and forested trails in the Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Michael Smith Laboratories

In 1987, the University of British Columbia founded Canada's first interdisciplinary biotechnology unit. Under the visionary leadership of Dr. Michael Smith, the Michael Smith Laboratories was created and a gifted team of young scientists were recruited. The MSL places a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary interaction and has approximately 250 research personnel in molecular genetics, fermentation and bio-process engineering, plant and forestry genetics and bioinformatics. Awards from prestigious national and international organizations continually recognize the faculty for their excellence.
Contact us at ubcigem(at)!