The Undergrads

Alice Ye

Biological Sciences

Hailing from the plains of Illinois, Alice was nourished on a mix of public school and dystopian novels. Besides tinkering around with microorganisms, her hobbies include reading cookbooks and figuring out how to become Tony Stark.

Annie Zheng

Biological Sciences

Originally from Hong Kong, Annie spends her days doing Western blots. When not identifying proteins, Annie is passionate about microwaving food, not reading cookbooks, and selling dresses on marketplace.

Chloe Weisberg

Biological Sciences

Calling a Michigan suburb located in the first metacarpal bone home, Chloe enjoys spreading awareness of synthetic biology. When not teaching high school students, she enjoys the much more arduous endeavor of teaching her dog, Sheldon, to fetch.

Elina Kostyanovskaya

Biological Sciences, specialization in genetics

Born in Russia and blown over by a strong gust of frosty wind to the humid plains of Texas, Elina enjoys all facets of biology, but is particularly fascinated by epigenetics. When not working , Elina enjoys virgin pina coladas, getting lost in the rain, reading, and teaching health workshops in Chicago public schools.

Ethan Bass

Biological Sciences

In addition to being passionate about biology and Hawaiian shirts, Ethan’s hobbies are cracking black walnuts and curating the world's most spectacular Charlie Sheen websites. Sadly, he will never fulfill his dream to help the Scooby-Doo Gang solve mysteries.

Ivan Lopez

Biological Sciences

Ivan hails from a Chicago suburb. He likes biology, clearly. He also enjoys booking (and canceling) cruises to the Caribbean and was born to boogie.

Klevin Lo

Biological Sciences

Driven by interests in social causes, entrepreneurial opportunities, and technological breakthroughs, Klevin sees iGEM as an excellent venue to combine all of these into one pursuit by engineering microbes with novel functions that can be marketed for use as viable eco-friendly alternatives to different industrial processes.

Kyle Engel

Chemistry and Statistics

Kyle was born and raised in Downers Grove, a suburb of Chicago. Kyle enjoys playing baseball, jamming on his guitar, and attending a wide range of musical concerts (anything from heavy metal to classical). He aspires to be an orthopedic surgeon.

Nicole Lee

Biological Sciences, Minor in Statistics and Human Rights

Nicole was born in South Korea but raised in Minnesota's Twin Cities. She loves studying cancer and disease, big cities, rap, bicycles, rooftops, good food, and all things lime green.

Nora Vivanco Gonzalez

Biological Sciences

Nora decided to do iGEM because she wanted the chance to work on a project with her friends and meet new people who had similar academic interests. Outside of iGEM, Nora likes hip hop dancing and watching meteor showers.

Susan Doh

Biological Sciences and Psychology

Born at the boundary of Theme Park, USA but raised in the quiet suburbs of Chicago, Susan grew up enamored of the endless possibilities of sci-fi and fantasy novels and the history of the ancient world. Now a fourth year at the University of Chicago studying Biology and Psychology, she continues her apprenticeship in science and medicine, while transfiguring E. coli and keeping her pet HEK293 cells happy.

The Advisors

Kenneth Barr

Graduate Student

Jeff Bunker

Graduate Student

Justin Chew

Graduate Student

Karyl Kopaskie

Graduate Student

Sean Crosson, Ph.D.

Steve Kron, Ph.D.

Chris Schonbaum, Ph.D.

James Shapiro, Ph.D.


The University of Chicago iGEM 2013 team was responsible for conducting all of the laboratory experiments involved in the project. The University of Chicago Biological Sciences Collegiate Division provided laboratory space and equipment for the iGEM team to conduct its experiments and hold meetings. Our graduate student advisors provided research experience and advice for the team to troubleshoot experiments as well as the strain of B. subtilis with pUB110, which we used for our experiments. Our faculty advisors also provided advice on how to go forward with our project and evaluated the feasibility of our project. Greiner Bio-One, New England BioLabs, and SARSTEDT provided laboratory equipment and reagents for the iGEM team to conduct its experiments.

We are grateful for the Institute for Molecular Engineering, the University of Chicago Student Government, the Dean's Fund for Student Life, and the Kron Lab for providing us with the funds needed to participate in this year's competition. Our greatest thanks!