Meet the members of the 2016 Pittsburgh team!


  • Students
  • ClaireClaire Chu
    MayaMaya Lemmon-Kishi
    AifeAife Ni Chochlain
    PraneethPraneeth Pedadda
    MaddieMaddie Perdoncin
  • Advisors and Mentors
  • DeitersDr. Alex Deiters
    LohmuellerDr. Jason Lohmueller
    AntoszewskiDr. Lisa Antoszewski
    Miskov-Zivanov Dr. Natasa Miskov-Zivanov
    TelmerDr. Cheryl Telmer
    ButchyAdam Butchy
    ShroffDr. Sanjeev Shroff
  • The 'Burgh



Claire "Why are the Error Bars So Large?" Chu

Claire Chu is a junior studying chemistry and psychology with a minor in Chinese. Her research interests lie both in biochemistry and psycholinguistics, and she hopes to combine the two in a research career. Through iGEM, Claire is involved with designing a project from the foundation, which is a unique and exciting experience for undergraduate researchers.

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Maya "Cloning is a Bitch" Lemmon-Kishi

Maya Lemmon-Kishi is a junior bioengineering student at the University of Pittsburgh with anticipated minors in polymer engineering and chemistry. Her research interests lie in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Maya hopes to combine her interests to pursue a career in research focused on organ regeneration and biomaterials. What Maya likes the most about iGEM is the unique opportunities, such as creating and leading her own research project.

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Aife "How Long are the Sequences?" Ni Chochlain

Aife Ni Chochlain is a junior majoring in Molecular Biology and History in the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include genetic engineering and computational modeling, the second of which she has previous experiences. Aife wishes to continue research in genetic engineering and modeling of complex systems. iGEM allows her the opportunity to explore synthetic biology as an undergraduate and explore leadership opportunities in a research setting.

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Praneeth "Where are the Gels?" Peddada

Praneeth Peddada is a upcoming senior bioengineer at the University of Pittsburgh. For the last two years, he has worked with Dr. Partha Roy to study profilin expression in breast cancer cells. After graduation, he hopes to go to medical school.

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Maddie "Are You Always This Red?" Perdoncin

Maddie Perdoncin is a junior majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include genetic engineering and molecular biology, both of which she is able to explore through this project. She hopes her involvement in iGEM will provide valuable research experience that will aid her throughout graduate school and beyond.

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Advisors and Mentors


Dr. Alex Deiters

Alex is a member of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology Program at the University of Pittsburgh, the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Center for Nucleic Acids Science & Technology at Carnegie Mellon University. He has published over one hundred peer-reviewed papers, written five book chapters and 11 review articles, has presented over one hundred research seminars, and has consulted for several pharmaceutical companies.

For his research accomplishments, Alex received a Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Award from the March of Dimes Foundation, a Sigma Xi Research Faculty Award, a Cottrell Scholar Award, a Beckman Young Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Teva USA Scholars Grant from the American Chemical Society, a Thieme Chemistry Journal Award, an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations Grant, an NCSU Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award, and a Charles E. Kaufman Foundation New Initiative Research Award.

Dr. Alex Deiters
Deiters Lab
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Dr. Jason Lohmueller

Jason Lohmueller is an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh in the laboratory of Dr. Olivera Finn. His research focuses on using synthetic biology approaches to create novel protein- and cell-based cancer immunotherapeutics. Jason carried out his Ph.D. studies at Harvard University in the laboratory of Dr. Pamela Silver. He was previously involved with iGEM as a member of Brown University's 2006 team, a TA for the Harvard's 2008 team, and an advisor for Pitt's 2014 and 2015 teams.

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Dr. Lisa Antoszewski

Dr. Lisa Antoszewski is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Developmental Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. Using zebrafish as a model organism, her primary research interest is in kidney development. More specifically, she is interested in identifying novel genes responsible for renal progenitor cell maintenance. She is serving as a laboratory mentor for the 2016 iGEM team.

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Dr. Natasa Miskov-Zivanov

Dr. Natasa Miskov-Zivanov is an assistant professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bioengineering, and Computational and Systems Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining Pitt, Dr. Miskov-Zivanov was a faculty member in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, where she currently holds adjunct faculty position. Dr. Miskov-Zivanov received her PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and completed her postdoctoral training at Computational and Systems Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. She was the founding adviser of iGEM at CMU back in 2012. Her research interests include automation of learning big mechanisms in biology, systems and synthetic biology, systems medicine and Internet of Things in medicine.

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Dr. Cheryl Telmer

The goal of our research is to build biosensors for live-cell imaging. Methods that use light to visualize protein localization and interactions can be used to investigate the dynamics of cell structure and function. Another part of my research effort is directed towards a project named Big Mechanisms in Cancer where the goal of the program is to develop technologies for automated reading of scientific literature and development of causal, explanatory models of signaling pathways in cancer.

Bruchez Lab
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Adam Butchy

Adam Butchy is a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. He is working in Dr. Natasa Miskov-Zivanov's lab, focusing more on the biological side of cellular systems modeling. He conducted his undergraduate education at Villanova University where he worked on improving transfection efficacy in prostate cancer cells. This is his first years serving as an adviser for Pitt's 2016 iGEM team and he feels like he's learning a lot more about iGEM than advising. He hopes to be of more help next year.

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Dr. Sanjeev Shroff

Dr. Sanjeev Shroff is the Distinguished Professor of and Gerald E. McGinnis Chair in Bioengineering and Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also the Chair of the Department of Bioengineering.

Prior to joining the faculty at Pitt, Dr. Shroff was a faculty member at the University of Chicago for 17 years in the Department of Medicine (Cardiology Section). Trained as an electrical engineer (Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, and Master of Engineering from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada), Dr. Shroff obtained his doctoral degree in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his Postdoctoral Fellowship within the Cardiovascular-Pulmonary Division of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Medicine.

Dr. Shroff is widely recognized as a distinguished scholar in the cardiovascular arena.

Dr. Sanjeev Shroff
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