The Team

Our interdisciplinary team of undergraduates and advisors shares an understanding, passion, and excitement for synthetic biology. We are dedicated to creating applicable solutions with our ability to manipulate the immediate biological world around us.


David Yao

  • Class of 2013
  • Major: Neuroscience
I joined the UCLA iGEM team to explore new scientific frontiers and tackle challenges with a team of passionate, inspiring, and awesome individuals! My independent research focuses on profiling the transcriptional networks that regulate the kinetics of cellular reprogramming from a differentiated to a stem cell-state. I am fascinated by the subtle genetic and epigenetic changes that program enigmatic organs and complex cellular processes -- as well as the events that can disrupt them and lead to disease.

Chelsea Hu

  • Class of 2013
  • Major: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
I've been working in the filed of synthetic biology as a undergraduate research assistant and I'm I am fascinated about living cells and their complex regulatory systems. As I'm moving on to graduate school in the fall to delve deeper into this field, I want to express the fun and excitement of synthetic biology research to more undergraduate students at UCLA.

Varun Bhadha

  • Class of 2015
  • Major: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
I am Secretary for the club. I am doing research in miRNA in mice. I joined the team because I am interested in learning more about the cutting edge of biological research. I am also very excited to participate in the creation of our own genetically engineered machine.

Anuved Verma

  • Class of 2015
  • Major: Physiological Sciences
My job for the UCLA iGEM team, and Synthetic Biology Club, involves maintaining any related media (website, team wiki, etc.) and helping to reach out to build SBC's public image. I'm currently involved in research on neural repair mechanisms and the effects of lifestyle on trophic factor production in the CNS with UCLA's Physiological Department. I joined iGEM to learn more about the engineering aspect of fields in biology, get an opportunity to work with some of the most accomplished students and faculty at UCLA, and mostly to have a good time!

Dewal Gupta

  • Class of 2015
  • Major: Computational & Systems Biology
I am the treasurer for the UCLA iGEM team and its my job to ensure that our team has the appropriate funding for all the experiments, traveling, and all the little things in the middle. I research in bioengineering, in a microfluidics lab. Specifically we use technologies like deformability cytometry to better understand the mechanical properties of cells. I have always loved building and creating but also biology and medicine. iGEM bridges the gap between engineering and biology perfectly which is why i joined the UCLA team. I am super excited to work on this project, and can't wait to compete!

Michael Cheng

  • Class of 2016
  • Major: Bioengineering
I am a bioengineering student here at UCLA. As an engineer, I am fascinated by how life, even with all its complexity and intricacies, can be understood and tinkered with at the level of individual components. Simply put, life is an incredibly amazing machine, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to work in synthetic biology with an awesome team this year.

Michael Huang

  • Class of 2015
  • Major: Integrative Biology and Physiology
  • Officer Position: Internal Affairs
I maintain our social media pages and I coordinate events for the members of the club. I joined iGEM because I was interested in pursuing a career in synthetic biology as well as gaining some research experience. I look forward to developing a project and developing friendships with the people with whom I work.

Daniel Cancilla

  • Class of 2015
  • Major: Biochemistry
I'm part of various pre medical clubs such as AMSA and med friends. I am also part of C.U.R.E., a club for helping undergraduates participate in research. I like sports and am an avid tennis player. I also enjoy snowboarding and skateboarding and other such outdoor activities.

Brandon Brown

  • Class of 2013
  • Major: Neuroscience
I work in a lab studying how electrical excitability affects neuronal morphology in the developing zebrafish embryo. I am broadly interested in neuroscience, computational biology, and evolution. I want to participate in iGEM because I like to build things, and what's more awesome than building new organisms?

Jae Hong

  • Class of 2014
  • Major: Neuroscience
I joined SBC to learn about latest biological technology, and be with peers who share the same interest. The thing I am most looking forward to is performing new and exciting experiments.


Christina Agapakis

Kayvan Niazi

Dino Di Carlo