Jacky Cheung is a 3rd year CC student at Columbia University, and he is currently a pre-medical student majoring in Computer Science and Biology. Apparently, according to the Meyer-Briggs personality test, his personality type is ENFP (A.K.A The Campaigner). He is not quite sure how he feels about this. He has been involved in Synthetic Biology research since high school and this year is his third year participating in iGEM. His emoji of choice is :p because he enjoys teasing his friends, but ^.^ and XD are a close second and third. To relax, he enjoys taking long walks along the pier and messing with his friends (especially Hudson). Something he is known for is asking to get cheesecake or pie at 2 A.M after finishing long coding assignments because he is dopamine-deprived. He is named after Hong-Kong pop sensation Jacky Cheung; and one of his aspirations in life is to top the aforementioned celebrity on Google after doing a search of his name.
Ross is a PhD student in the Biological Sciences Program. He received his B.S. from University of Texas, Austin.
Carlotta is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. She received his PhD in Metabolic And Genetic Engineering from Denmark Technical University.
Sonja Billerbeck is a postdoctoral fellow in the Cornish Laboratory. She received her PhD in 2013 at the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) in the interdisciplinary Department for Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE). Prior to coming to the ETH Zürich, she was awarded a master's in biology from the University of Tübingen, Germany for a master's thesis performed at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in the Department of Protein Evolution studying the function of archeal chaperones.
During her doctoral studies, Dr. Billerbeck developed a novel strategy for the rational design of switchable proteins for application in cell-free biotechnology. Her current research interest revolves around the field of synthetic biology, with special emphasis on protein engineering strategies applied to understand and functionalize bacterial microcompartments. She was awarded a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation, and in 2014 was named a Junior Fellow of the Simons Foundation.
Harris Wang has joined Columbia University Medical Center as an Assistant Professor in the Columbia Initiative in Systems Biology and the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology. His research focuses on understanding the evolution of the ecosystems that develop within heterogeneous microbial communities. Using approaches from genome engineering, DNA synthesis, and next-generation sequencing, he studies how genomes in microbial populations form, maintain themselves, and change over time, both within and across microbial communities. His goal is to use synthetic biology approaches to engineer ecologies of microbial populations, such as those found in the gut and elsewhere in the human body, in ways that could improve human health.
Virginia joined the faculty of the Chemistry Department at Columbia in 1999, where she carries out research at the interface of chemistry and biology, and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2004 and then Professor in 2007. Her laboratory brings together modern methods in synthetic chemistry and DNA technology to expand the synthetic capabilities of living cells.
Ken joined Columbia University in 1997, where he is now Professor of Electrical Engineering. At the same time, he co-founded CadMOS Design Technology, an EDA start-up which pioneered PacifIC and CeltIC, the first tools for large-scale signal integrity analysis of digital integrated circuits. The success of these tools led Cadence to acquire CadMOS in 2001.Current research interests interests focus on circuits for VLSI integrated circuits in deeply-scaled CMOS technologies, new technologies for electronics applications, and the application of integrated circuits for biology-related applications.
Prof. Tal Danino's research explores the emerging intersection of systems biology, synthetic biology, and engineering, focusing on building a quantitative understanding of gene circuits and designing biological behaviors that have technological applications. The interaction of microbes and tumors is a major target of his work, where DNA sequences and synthetic biology are used to program–microbes as diagnostics and therapeutics in cancer. Dr. Danino also brings this science outside the laboratory as a TED Fellow and through science-art projects.
Ambitious. Genius. Handsome. These adjectives only begin to illustrate the man that is James Gornet. Born from the fires of Hades and raised by wolves, he is the living embodiment of freedom. Men fear him. Children want to be him. In high school, James Gornet researched molecular computing—a branch of computing that utilizes DNA, biochemistry, and molecular biology instead of silicon-based transistors. Currently, he doing research in developmental neurobiology and axon pathfinding. Majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in neuroscience, James Gornet hopes to pursue a PhD in computational and molecular neuroscience. His Myers-Briggs personality is ENTJ—known for the commander disposition. His emoji of choice is 🦄 because he was pressured by Rachel Mintz to put one in his biography. In his spare time, James Gornet enjoys exploring New York City and frequenting concerts.
Kirsten Jung is originally from Seoul, Korea, but moved to the U.S. 8 years ago because her 15-year-old self mistakenly thought she could survive in a foreign country on her own and somehow managed to successfully convince her parents to leave her behind. She is a rising senior at Columbia University, majoring in chemical engineering and music. She works at a protein engineering laboratory on campus, specifically studying the metabolon structure of TCA cycle enzymes and their enzymatic activities. Once graduating, she plans to attend a graduate school and to pursue her Ph.D. in chemical engineering, but ultimately she hopes to work in a R&D department of a pharmaceutical company. Her Myers Briggs personality is ESFJ, "the consuls," and she doesn't have an emoji of choice because her cynical self thinks she is too cool to use an emoji. In her spare time, she enjoys running, exploring the city, and cooking.
Hudson Lee is a New York City native currently on the Pre-med track in his third year at Columbia College as a Biology major with a Psychology concentration. He was a member of the 2015 Columbia NYC iGEM team and hopes to attend medical school upon graduation. His Myers Briggs personality result is INFP and emoji of choice is :trollface: as he enjoys messing with his friends in his spare time. Other pastimes include several styles of dance including hip-hop, multiple styles of ballroom, and long walks on the beach.
Vincent “Venti” Liu is originally from Beijing, China and moved to Walnut, California five years ago. He is a sophomore at Columbia Engineering majoring in Computer Science and also pursuing a minor in Statistics. Previously, he had worked in two molecular biology laboratories while in high school and spent a year in a biomaterials laboratory at Columbia. He boasts a Meyers-Briggs personality of ESTJ “The Executive”, which he thinks is the best of all. As a consequence of his altruistic personality and muscular, 6’3 physique, lab members respectfully refer to him as The Spotter, and not surprisingly his emoji of choice is, which really isn’t even a choice of his; it just makes sense. In his pastime, Vincent enjoys photography, bartending (exclusively for his friends, sorry), practicing Krav Maga, and getting swole. Though very cool, Vincent is actually chill and friendly, unlike the ostentatious and self-obsessed James.
Theresa Mensah is a rising junior from Accra, Ghana. She is a Biochemistry major with research experience working with the Immunology Department of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. Upon graduation, she plans to either immediately pursue a PhD in either Pharmacology or Immunology, or take a year off to intern with WHO or L’Oreal. Her Myers Briggs personality is INTJ, The Architect. and her fave emoji is ^0^, because it can portray amusement, alarm, gloating, excitement and shock all at the same time; an amalgam of emotions, that is of course, necessary to portray at times. Theresa's leisure activities include learning languages (speak 5 fluently, and 3 like a kindergartener, hey, I'm trying!), volunteering to teach high schoolers about science in the Double Discovery Center, and climbing things: hills, trees... tall friends... all climbable surfaces welcome.
Rachel Mintz is from Long Island, New York. She is a second year student majoring in biomedical engineering. In high school, she worked in a medicinal biochemistry laboratory for three summers. At Columbia, she works in a nanotherapeutics and stem cell engineering laboratory. Upon graduation she plans to pursue an MD-PhD. Her Myers Briggs personality is INTJ, and her emoji of choice is the alien (👽) because some (most) people think she is out of this world. In her spare time, she enjoys seeing Broadway shows and attending concerts. She enjoys taking long, contemplative walks (but not on the beach).
Kaitlin Pet is a senior in Columbia College majoring in Biology and minoring in computer science. She has previously worked on stem cell galvanotaxis with the Bulinski Lab through the Columbia SURF program and worked on protein informatics and structural assays through volunteering at the Fernandez Lab. Her favorite -.- because people are too sassy in this world.