Who We Are

      • Mike Ellison
      • Dominic Sauvageau
Team Members
    Recent Graduates:
      • Mark Rozema
      • Larry Zhang
      • Michael Esau
      • Dawson Zeng: Student Liaison
      • Rachel Kwan
      • Cadence Moorhouse
    High School Graduates:
      • Stephanie Chiu
      • Cameron Murray

Mike Ellison

Mike Ellison is a professor with the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta.
His current focus on Synthetic Biology is to produce modular biological circuits of increasing sophistication using well-understood molecular components that can be reliably assembled into novel and useful forms of artificial life. He has been involved in iGEM for six years and continues to actively engage his undergraduate students in this synthetic biology competition.

Dominic Sauvageau

Dominic Sauvageau joined the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta as an Assistant Professor in January 2011. His research involves the development of novel bacteriophage- based technologies and bioprocessing strategies for production in microbial systems. He joined the iGEM adventure last year when he supervised an iGEM-Entrepreneurial team (they won!). He's thrilled to be involved in iGEM again this year. He loves travelling and hopes he'll be able to use the E. coli we're working on to plan his next trip.

Mark Rozema

Mark Rozema graduated from the Biochemistry program at the University of Alberta in April 2013 and is currently enrolled in the law program, also at the U of A. He enjoys running, early mornings, late nights and old scotch. Mark was involved in all facets of the project over the summer months, such as conceptual planning, establishing general protocol, part creation and part isolation but withdrew to focus on law school since the start of September.

Cadence Moorhouse

I am a 4th year genetics student at the University of Alberta. Every since high school I have had an interest in genetics and I heard all about the applications of synthetic biology largely through social media. It was at a talk by biotech guru Andrew Hessel that I first learned of iGEM. I was delighted to find out that the U of A had a team and a couple of emails later I was on the roster. This project has given me the opportunity to learn standard lab techniques and to see an experiment evolve. My experience teaching and coaching allows me to easily convey complex ideas into simpler ones. I hope to utilize these skills over the course of this project.  

Dawson Zeng

I am a 4th year student at the University of Alberta majoring in Biological Sciences. I first heard about the field of Synthetic Biology from a guest speaker. It was then that I looked into joining iGEM Team Alberta. Personally, I think it is the coolest thing that Synthetic Biology combines philosophies from both Biology and Engineering; something I never thought about. Overall, my knowledge and understanding of genetics and interactions between DNA molecules vastly increased throughout the summer. A true testament to Richard Feynman’s famous quote, “What I cannot create, I do not understand.”

Michael Esau

I am a graduate from the Biochemistry Specialization program at the University of Alberta. I learned about iGEM from Dr. Mike Ellison’s biochemistry class, and am happy to be a part of this year’s team. I'm planning to go into the synthetic bio research field and will be joining up with Dr. Dominic Sauvageau's lab for the next year.

Rachel Kwan

After my first discoveries on the possibilities of iGEM from the local newspaper, I searched online and admired various iGEM projects. At this time during high school, I was personally unclear of my desired career path, aside from studying science, with a focus on Biology or Chemistry. Also with my vague knowledge of biotechnological methods, I was wary about the bioethical side of “manipulating nature,” especially from public warnings in literature.

However, within studying Biochemistry in my undergrad, I found that current methodologies of biotechnology seemed to have controlled lab settings, careful precautions, and/or a balance with purposeful benefits. Looking at the variety of iGEM projects, they used in-school material for real-world, practical applications. IGEM also attracted me because I liked the idea of working in a team setting to balance strengths and weaknesses with others. I believe that iGEM is rewarding and relevant in that it challenges teamwork, independence, creativity, writing, presenting, and lab technique. As part of my work, I hope to offer organizational skills, interest in safety, and Wiki ideas.

Outside of iGEM work, I play the piano and clarinet, read, meditate, play board games, search for good sales, and grow pet plants like basil.

Stephanie Chiu

I am a first year student at the University of Alberta. I first heard about iGEM from friends at my high school and was privileged enough to join U of A’s team as I was finishing up my Grade 12 year. I am excited to learn more about what synthetic biology is and what working in a lab is like. I hope that I can offer a unique perspective to our team.

Larry Zhang

Passionate scientist born in the historical city of Yueyang, China; educated in the English for 8 years and has been under strict scientific indoctrination in the University of Alberta department of Biochemistry. Graduated with a Biochemistry degree with interest in genetics and genetic engineering, Larry Zhang has brought with him a huge idea cannon and a pair of magic pipetter’s hands; he is one of the most valuable assets in this team.

Cameron Murray

I am a first year university student studying molecular genetics at the U of A, however when I joined the team I was in my grade twelve year of high school. I heard about Synthetic biology through quirks and quarks, the CBC radio program, and was immediately taken with it and it’s vast possibilities. I was so enthralled that I talked about it quite a bit to my friends one of whom told me about iGEM. So here I am hoping to learn about and deepen my interest in synthetic biology through iGEM.