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The Team




Alex Hatch

Alex Hatch is a senior Biological Engineering student participating with iGEM for the second year. He has been involved in research focused on characterizing micro-diversity in contaminated water aquifers and wastewater treatment facilities. His current research is aimed at harvesting bioplastics produced by engineered E. coli. He is preparing for a career in medicine and will attend medical school upon graduation. He is a Utah native, is married, and has two wonderful children.

Cole Peterson

Cole is a junior in Biological Engineering, and a second year iGEM participant. His personal research is centered in the design, construction, and modeling of gene circuits. In his spare time, Cole likes to be outside with his backpack or his skis. He works for the local ski patrol, and teaches hiking and canyoneering courses for the University. His role for the project was to assist with the construction of promoter parts.

Brad Henrie

Brad is a graduate student in the Biological Engineering at Utah State University. His personal research is centered around analyzing an unknown microbial community, and characterizing it's genetic phylogeny. Brad is participating in the iGEM competition for his second year, and has enjoyed being a part of the group. He has a passion for caving, and tries to go as often as the team would let him. Other than that, he enjoys rock climbing, camping, the occasional computer game, and is excited for the duck hunting season.

Shujie Shen

I come from southwest of China. I got my bachelor's degree in Sichuan University. In there, I was working on collagen based biodegradable material. Since 2009 fall, I am a Ph.D candidate in Utah State University; currently, I am focusing on several kinds of special mycobacteria, whose genomes are highly similar to the pathogen Mycobacteria tuberculosis. In one of my project, they are used as surrogates to investigate anti-mycobacterial activity of new agent. On the other hand, these mycobacteria can degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon pollutants. We use promoters in the genome, which are related to some crucial enzymes in the degradation process, and ligate them with reported gene GFP sequence to construct a whole cell biosensor to detect pollutants in environment.

Cody Tramp

Cody is a first-year Ph.D. student in Biological Engineering. He received a B.S. in Biology and B.S. in Biochemistry from Utah State University. His current research project focuses on expanding synthetic biological engineering techniques into cyanobacteria and developing a standardized system for manipulating the genome of these organisms. His career goals involve expanding the capacity of synthetic biological engineering to a full-genome scale. He considers himself a true lab rat, and enjoys spending the bulk of his time in the research lab. When not at the bench, he can be found in the library buried in a book or writing computer programs.

Abiezer Tejeda

Abiezer Tejeda is a senior in the ECE department at Utah State University. He is currently working with Dr. Chris Winstead developing mathematical models to characterize the behavior of synthetic gene networks. He likes to play the piano and travel.

Eduardo Monzon

Eduardo is a graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering at Utah State University. His research is mainly applying the theory of electrical circuits to build genetic constructs. He is currently designing and modeling a genetic quorum trigger, which would be used to coordinate the behavior of a colony of cell under some environmental condition.



Charles Miller

Charles Miller is an Assistant Professor of Biological Engineering. His research interests focus on cellular engineering, synthetic biological engineering, biosensors and bioremediation. Recent projects include using synthetic biological engineering techniques to improve bioplastic production, developing molecular tools in mycobacteria to create biosensors for use in bioremediation, the use of natural products as antimicrobials, and monitoring microbial diversity of bioreactors using metagenomic approaches.

Ronald Sims

Ron Sims has worked for Verona Division of Bayer Corporation in South Carolina as Environmental Control Laboratory Supervisor, for Research Triangle Institute, North Carolina as a Process Engineer addressing coal gasification and microbial metabolism of aromatic chemicals, and for the University of North Carolina as Director of the International Program in Environmental Aspects of Industrial Development before joining the faculty at Utah State University. He also worked at the U.S. EPA research laboratory at Ada, Oklahoma addressing bioremediation of hazardous waste contaminated soils and ground water. He is the former Director of the Utah Water Research Laboratory. His research interests include biochemical engineering processes for bioplastics and bioenergy production, and bioremediation of toxic and hazardous wastes. He has M.S. degrees in Environmental Chemistry and Biology (University of North Carolina School of Public Health) and Environmental Engineering (Washington State University), and the PhD degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (North Carolina State University). Dr. Sims is a recipient of the Utah Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology.

Dean H. Scott Hinton

H. Scott Hinton was born in Salt Lake City in 1951. He received a B.S.E.E. in 1981 at Brigham Young University and a M.S.E.E. at Purdue University in 1982.

In 1981, he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in Naperville, IL as a Member of the Technical Staff. He was promoted to supervisor of the Photonic Switching Technologies group in 1985 and then Head of the Photonic Switching Department in 1989. From 1992 to 1994, he was the BNR-NT/NSERC Chair in Photonic Systems at McGill University and from 1994 to 1999 he was the Hudson Moore Jr. Professor of Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and finally from1999 to 2002 he was the Dean E. Ackers Distinguished Professor and the Chairman of University of Kansas Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. In 2002, he accepted the position as the Dean of the College of Engineering at Utah State University. He has been very active in the scientific and engineering community where he has published over 35 journal articles and 85 conference papers. He has also been active in service to the professional community by serving in leadership positions for numerous technical conferences and workshops. Dean Hinton has also been awarded 12 patents. His current research is focused on developing systems applications of smart pixels and free-space optical interconnection, biophotonic systems, and in developing and understanding technology-enhanced learning environments. He was an IEEE-LEOS Distinguished Lecturer for 1993-94 and is a fellow of both the IEEE and OSA.


Contact Information

  • Dr. Charles Miller:
  • Dr. Ronald Sims:


We would like to give special thanks to the following people and organizations:

  • Miguel Leonardo - Assistance with Wiki
  • Diogenes Hernandez - Assistance with Wiki
  • Dr. Wim Vermaas at Arizona State University - Provided Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 cells
  • Dr. Dan Dye at Utah State University – Providing media recipe and growth setup ideas
  • Mike Morgan – Designing and building growth setup for Synechocystis
  • Brad Wahlen – Providing help with Synechocystis growth procedures
  • Utah State University Academic Opportunity Fund – Generously provided funding for project
  • Utah State University Department of Engineering – Generously provided funding for project
  • GenScript - Generously provided funding and T-shirts