The Team

Meet the WLC-Milwaukee Team!


Jordyn Pieper

My name is Jordyn Pieper and I am currently a senior biology student at WLC and I hope to become a Physician Assistant. This year on iGEM I have been in charge of the Policy and Practices portion of the project. I enjoy working with other people and organizing huge events, such as our week-long Bioengineering Summer Camp and Biotechnology Info Night. This has been my second year on iGEM and I have enjoyed every minute of it! My team members are willing to help with any problems that I may come across and always give a helping hand. I also like to read and spend time with my family.

Elise Sloey

My name is Elise Sloey and as a junior biochemistry major I am still discovering what area of the field I want to specialize in. Genetics and bioengineering are exciting and interesting areas to me. I enjoy the laboratory side of things and have always been driven to ask "why". I hope to continue on to graduate school, contributing to research in some way. For this year’s project, I have been working in the lab with our biobricks, testing our new parts against our team's from previous years. Outside of the lab I try to get lost in nature, hiking and bicycling.

Jack Bechtel

My name is Jack (John) Bechtel. As a sophomore Biochemistry and Marine Biology major at WLC, a large portion of my work with the team has been in policy and practices, community outreach, administration, and running the Bioengineering summer camp with some lab work when I was needed. In my spare time, I work with my numerous fresh and saltwater aquariums at home, randomly wander around fields looking for butterflies, and watch Olympic athletes on YouTube while eating potato chips. In the future, I hope to attend grad school where I will pursue a PhD in Cellular Biology with a specialization in Marine Organisms.

Harrison Fleming

My name is Harrison Fleming and I am a junior Biology major with a minor in chemistry. This is my second year on the team and this year I had the opportunity to be one of the lab leaders. This involved coordinating lab schedules for the team and working with our instructors to determine which experiments needed to be performed and the direction that the team would likely take with the project. I was also one of the team members who presented at the Biotechnology Info Night. I also had the privilege of working as one of the lab instructors for the 2016 Summer Bioengineering Camp which involved teaching labs to the high schoolers in attendance as well as modifying labs if needed. It was certainly the most exciting part of this year’s activities! In my free time I enjoy Netflix, the occasional video game, rousing games of ping pong against Troy, and sharing time with friends and family.

Anna Curtis

I am Anna Curtis and I am a senior biology major, this past year has been my first involved with iGEM. My role in the team has been largely in assisting with lab work, researching, and helping with the bioengineering summer camp. My favorite part about being a member of the group is getting more experience performing lab protocols and working in the research field. Other involvements of mine at WLC are running for the Cross Country team, competing in Track and Field, and singing in the Concert and Chamber choirs. When not consuming mass amounts of caffeine, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and video games.

Melissa Helmer

My name is Melissa Helmer and I am currently a Junior at WLC majoring in Biology with an emphasis in Health Science and an intended minor in Chemistry. I come from a small country town just north of Madison WI, called DeForest. This year has been my first year on the iGEM team, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. All the members make you feel welcomed and help you out when you need extra explanation on a concept. Once I graduate my goal is to become a Cyto-Technician and work either in a medical lab or doing research. Outside of iGEM and school I have a job as a horseback riding instructor, and also compete in show jumping as well.

Ching-Tzu Yu

I am Ching-Tzu Yu (Jeanie) and currently a junior biology major at Wisconsin Lutheran College. My plan is to apply to graduate school after graduating from WLC. Outside of iGEM, I did a project on visualization of osteogenesis in developing embryo of fish and have recently interned in a research lab back in Taiwan over the summer of 2016 where I worked on a project to explore the potential substrate stiffness responsive transcription factors. I like photography, drawing and listening to music in my free time.

Theresa Boyadjian

I am Theresa Boyadjian. I am a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. I joined the iGEM team at WLC in order to obtain more research and laboratory experience, as well as further my knowledge in regards to genetic engineering. My involvement consisted of working as a lab assistant. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the team, am grateful for all that I have learned, and am glad I got to know my team members. I am currently pursuing a degree in Medical Sciences with hopes of attending medical school.

Nathan Wolfrath

My name is Nathan Wolfrath and I’m a sophomore Biochemistry major from Eagan, Minnesota. I also have minors in mathematics and computer science. As part of iGEM I did some research and writing about Elkhorn Coral as well as a small amount of lab work. In my free time I enjoy golfing and try to play as often as I can. My greatest achievement is being a self-proclaimed WLC foosball champion (all challengers are welcome).

Troy Moench

My name is Troy Moench and I am currently a junior Mathematics major with a minor in Computer Science. I was in charge of the design and implementation of the iGEM wiki. I decided to join iGEM after hearing that the team needed some help coding for the website. While I don’t have a background in Biology, I am excited to be part of a scientific research project. In the future, I hope to play a more significant role with the team. In my free time, I enjoy playing rousing games of ping pong against Harrison, computer programming, and spending time with my friends.


Dr. John Werner

Dr. John Werner is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Wisconsin Lutheran College. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Arizona State University and performed postdoctoral research at Princeton University. His responsibilities at WLC involve teaching several courses for the Biology and Biochemistry Departments including Microbiology, Genetics, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and performing independent research. Dr. Werner's research focuses on mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and developing methods for characterizing and beneficially using bacteriophages.

Dr. James Henkel

Dr. James Henkel is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Wisconsin Lutheran College, serving the college with a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and a Masters in Clinical Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. His area of interest is in Microbial Pathogenesis, specifically Chlamydia trachomatis small GTPase recruitment, bacterial toxin mechanisms of action, and microbial metabolism. As an advisor for the iGEM club, both he and Dr. Werner greatly enjoy working with so many bright and enthusiastic students. Dr. Henkel enjoys biochemistry, reading, hiking, and biochemistry.