Before she decided to come all the way from India to Germany to do her masters in Molecular Biosciences with majors in Systems Biology, Aastha had already a bachelor degree in Bioinformatics from there. Her bachelor thesis was about creating a web tool for calculation of protein interactions which she carried out at the Indian Institute of Science. For iGEM, she is a part of the modelling force. Working with systems and synthetic biology has been of prime interest to her and, of course, she thinks with this we can achieve our ultimate goal: creating tiny pet dinosaurs.
After finishing his bachelor studies in Universidad Autónoma in Madrid with a bachelor thesis in directed evolution of dihydroxyacetone kinases, Alejandro spent a year working in the Biocatalysis department of a Japanese company with the program Vulcanus in Japan. Currently he pursues the master program on Molecular Biosciences with major in Systems Biology in Heidelberg University. One of his strongest reasons to join iGEM was the unique opportunity of combining science with creativity, something that does not happen very frequently. He thinks that synthetic biology can help mankind take steps forward at the same time it provides some insight about the basic principles of life.
Aleksandra (aka Ola) is a student of Molecular Biosciences majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Heidelberg. She completed her bachelor degree in Biotechnology within Job Creation Oriented Biotechnology Program held by a consortium of European universities in Perugia, Italy. Working in labs at K.U.Leuven, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, EMBL Hamburg and ZMBH allowed her to gain wetlab skills. She considers iGEM challenging and great experience.
Dima is a Master student in Molecular Biosciences with the major in Molecular and Cellular Biology, here in Heidelberg. The topic of his Bachelor thesis, which he completed in National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv was production and characterization of monoclonal antibodies specific to FGFR-1. Before applying to iGEM he thought it would be mainly focused on lab work, however it turned out to be amazingly interesting adventure, where everyone worked side by side to achieve the goal.
As member of the first iGEM team Heidelberg, he participated in the iGEM competition in 2008 and is in love with the concepts of synthetic biology and iGEM ever since. After completing his bachelor thesis on synthetic chemotaxis fusion receptors, Dominik did an internship in the research group of Dr. Richard Cohen at Boston University in summer 2009. Being back on the iGEM-track now, Dominik is very happy to be a member of the team Heidelberg 2010 again and he is looking forward to work in this years creative and motivated team and to a great and fun iGEM summer.
Elena completed her degree in Biotechnology at the University of Florence, with a thesis in synthesis of new NGF-agonists deriving from D-phenylalanine. She spent 1 year and a half working as a research assistant at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in a project whose aim was the remediation of lands contaminated with plutonium. Currently she is a student of Molecular Biosciences, major in Systems Biology at the University of Heidelberg. Elena is very enthusiastic about being part of iGEM 2010, because she considers it a very challenging and unique experience.
Friederike started her Psychology studies at the University of Trier within the old system for a Diplom (graduate degree). After an academic exchange at the University of Salamanca in Spain, she is finishing her studies at the University of Heidelberg. For her diplom thesis, she is working on neural correlations of emotional recognition in patients with borderline personality disorder. After completing her degree in Psychology, she will go on with a second study in human medicine. Friederike joined iGEM bcause she loved the idea, working in a field of international students, learning something about other disciplines of science and applying her psychological skills.
Jan-Ulrich has finished his bachelor thesis about a systems biological approach to TGF-beta induced signaling in the biology program at the University of Heidelberg. He is now in his 3rd semester of the masters program Molecular Biosciences with the major Systems Biology. The fascination about promising possibilities for alternative energy production using synthetic organisms attracted him to the field of synthetic biology. The important interplay with systems biology for the design of more effective organisms is where he wants to participate in the future. He likes iGEM as it is open source, rewards creativity and brings together pretty funny people.
Jude is a third semester student in the Master’s program of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Heidelberg. After obtaining her Bachelor degree in Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, where her main focus was on Human Genetics and Pharmacogenetics, she came to Heidelberg, attracted by the many research facilities and the scientific environment the city has to offer. She thinks that joining iGEM was one of the best decisions she has ever made. For her, it’s the right place to gain unique experiences in the field of synthetic biology as well as in working within a team of highly experienced students who come from various majors and countries. She greatly enjoys working in synthetic biology and the company of her lovely lab partners.
Laura has just completed her Bachelor's degree in Biology at the University of Heidelberg this summer before joining the iGem team. For her bachelor thesis she was working on the evolution of transcription factors in the zebrafish retina. Her laboratory experience has so far been focused on neural differentation, development and marine biology. She will further her studies in the major Developmental Biology within the Master's program Molecular Biosciences in Heidelberg. Laura joined iGem in order to experience a novel field of biology and because she is interested in the scientific as well as the socio-cultural implications of synthetic biology.
Lea Flocke is a Biology diploma student at Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen where she will write her diploma thesis post iGEM on cellular motile functions driven by the transcription factor serum response factor (SRF). After her A-Levels, she studied two years in Darmstadt, where she did internships: for example, on Postranscriptional Gene Regulation and RNA Therapeutics. During her graduate studies, Lea got an insight into functional proteomics, cell biology, human genetics and during her internship at the Bioquant, Heidelberg into systems biology. There, she was interested in iGEM and sees this competition as a great chance to learn how to arrange one's scientific projects. She is fascinated by the huge number of possibilities that arise through synthetic biology.
Systems Biology is the major curriculum and the most intriguing scope of science for Lorenz. Now, he is a student of the international Master's program of Molecular Biosciences at Heidelberg University. His Bachelor thesis focused on bacterial chemotaxis networks in silico and in vivo. It is an honor for Lorenz to be a member of the iGEM Team Heidelberg, which allows him to get insights into the nascent discipline of Synthetic Biology. Engineering biological circuits attracts exceptional interests of theoreticians and experimentalists alike. Lorenz wants to benefit from offered interdisciplinary collaborations to illuminate the design principles of life.
Marcus was smuggled into the Heidelberg iGEM team by a fundamentalist animal protection and anti-genetic engineering movement to destroy the system from within, to burn it to the ground and to leave all participants with angst (Hegels 'Weltgeist' is descending and it will confuse all of you!) ... Besides such community services, he's studying History and Philosophy at the Universitiy of Heidelberg within the old system for a Magister (graduate degree) and a teaching degree. In order to pay his rent, Marcus works as a museum education officer in the UNESCO-World Heritage Monastery Lorsch and previously in the concentration camp memorial Mittelbau-Dora. He joined iGEM to elevate his philosophical studies to a more practical level and to apply his knowledge in bio- and technology ethics.
Philipp was part of the iGEM Team Heidelberg 2008 and since then knows the obvious reason to join the competition again: iGEM simply is the most beautiful competition existing in biology and its mix of constructive creativity and team work guarantees a uniquely inspiring science experience. Philipp's beyond-iGEM scientific interests are in neuroscience and after finishing his bachelor thesis at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Neuroscience at University of Heidelberg, he will start his master studies in Neuroscience. Since Philipp has been mentoring science projects for high school kids for years, he also enjoys the interdisciplinary atmosphere of the Human Practice Projects in science communication in which he's involved.
Rebecca is a first year master's student in the Molecular Biotechnology program at the University of Heidelberg. She recently finished her bachelor thesis on drosophila microRNA binding site identification at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. Joining the iGEM Team Heidelberg 2010, Rebecca seeks to link her strong background on microRNAs to bioengineering and discover a completely new area in synthetic biology within a creative research team.
Rudi is not a spy (or is he?)! He’s just participating in the Cambridge-Heidelberg exchange programme. In Cambridge he was reading Natural Sciences Tripos that allowed him to gain insights into molecular biology as well as chemistry in which he specialized last year. He’s very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the iGEM team Heidelberg this year. It helped him not only to acquire some new lab experience but also to gain many other transferable skills. Rudi especially values the possibility of developing new projects from the beginning and working with a very dynamic and enthusiastic group of people. In his opinion, synthetic and chemical biology are the most exciting and promising fields for future advancement in health sciences.
Stefan is a Master's student in Molecular Biosciences - Major Molecular and Cellular Biology. He has finished his Bachelor in Biology one year ago, working on protein-protein interaction characterization. As synthetic biology is a very promising track in developing new methods and tools, he is very enthusiastic about the options given in the iGEM competition. He enjoys working in a versatile team of students and hopes to be able to contribute his wet lab experience. Besides that, he also looks forward to work on a convincing design for project presentation.
Stefan decided to join the major Systems Biology of the masters program Molceular Biosciences, after finishing his Bachelor thesis about microevolution of chemotaxis pathways in Escherichia coli in the biology program at the University of Heidelberg. One of his strongest reasons to join the iGEM team 2010 was the possibility to take the small step from analysing how things work to designing them himself and using synthetic biology to develop functional biological applications. He now looks forward to work in a young field with many unanswered questions and the possibility to work with people from different fields.
Currently, Thomas pursues the master program Molecular Biosciences with major in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Beforehand, he acquired his bachelor in Molecular Biotechnology at the Technical University of Dresden, already with a focus on genetic engineering. In his opinion, the fundamental modification of the living world by synthetic biology is the only chance of mankind in the final war against the machines. Thomas took the opportunity to participate at this early stage by joining Heidelberg's iGEM team. After several weeks of wet lab work, he moved to the graphic design front and aims for an appealing presentation of an ingenious project.
Xiaoting finished her Bachelor studies in Molecular Cellular Biology at the University of Heidelberg and she will go on with her Master studies in Molecular Biosciences (Major Cancer Biology), which is a collaboration between the University and the German Cancer Research Centre. During her studies, Xiaoting became highly interested in gene therapy due to several internships at the German Cancer Research Centre, different departments of the University of Heidelberg and Imperial College London. In her opinion, synthetic biology can revolutionize gene therapy by creating non-existing parts which will reduce side effects and increase the efficiency of gene therapy methods. She is glad to work with a nice group of students and advisors and is looking forward to the jamboree!
Dr. Grimm is the leader of the junior research group "Virus-host interactions" which was founded in late 2007 as an integral part of the Cluster of Excellence CellNetworks as well as of the Dept. of Infectious Diseases/Virology at Heidelberg University. Central goals of his team are to basically understand, rationally improve and therapeutically harness the exquisite potency and specificity of human RNAi mechanisms as well as of gene transfer vectors derived from molecularly evolved Adeno-associated viruses. In his first year as an iGEM instructor, he very much enjoys and appreciates the unique opportunities provided by this exciting competition, by the interdisciplinary teams of highly motivated, clever and talented young students from all over the world, and in general by the rapidly emerging field of Synthetic Biology to juxtapose science and engineering. Like all iGEM participants, he cherishes the fact that we currently witness the dawn of a thrilling new research era in which SynBio will mature into a powerful and thriving goal-oriented force with extraordinary potential to synergize with analytical approaches and to ultimately transform biotechnology and many further central aspects of our lives.
Jens is a PhD student in Systems Biology and works on the parameterization of the circadian oscillation network in Neurospora. He has continuously been an iGEM instructor since 2008, when he co-initiated the Heidelberg team. The acquaintance with so many diverse team members, the innovative and popular projects, and the intensive work with the team make iGEM for him every year a new entrepreneurial adventure. To describe iGEM in three words: vision, passion, and teamwork.
Prof. Eils is again the head of the iGEM Heidelberg team. He provides the laboratories and all the required equipment. Besides, he will sponsor the traveling and participation costs. Thank you very much! The research interests of Prof. Eils lies in the field of the analysis and mathematical modeling of complex pathways in molecular biology. He can look back at a very successful career, as he is the head of the Department of Theoretical Bioinformatics in the DKFZ and working on computational oncology. Furthermore, he is the director of the Department of Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics of the IPMB at the University of Heidelberg. Alongside Prof. Kräusslich and Prof. Wolfrum, he is one of three founding directors of the BioQuant, as well as the leader of the Systems Biology Center and the representative of the FORSYS-Initiative of Heidelberg’s research network, the ViroQuant. He has won numerous awards; in particular he has been awarded the Biofuture price (approx. 1.2 Million €) by the BMBF for innovations allowing the graphical reconstruction of the eukaryotic mitosis process from 4D microscopy images and in the year 2005 he won the award for new innovative research by Helmholtz Society: “SystemsBiology of Complex Diseases”. Besides, he was one of the main organizers of the International Conference on Systems Biology in Heidelberg 2004 and he organized the German Symposium on Systems Biology 2009. His new engagement in the up-coming field of Synthetic Biology underlines the need for tight interdisciplinary work between experimentalists and theoreticians.
Charley is a postdoc in Prof. Eils' group at the University of Heidelberg and the DKFZ. He read for a Bachelors degree in Physics at Imperial College London and a Masters degree in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. Subsequently, he completed his PhD in Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford focusing on modelling complex adaptive systems, trying to analytically understand the emergence of complex behaviour. Since, his research interests have endeavoured to apply the tools and methodologies of Physics to the field of Systems Biology where his focus lies in modelling various intra- and intercellular interactions using agent-based modelling, whilst shedding light on the multi-scalability of models.
Joel is a postdoc in Prof. Eils' group at the University of Heidelberg and the DKFZ. He completed his PhD in Interface Physics-Biology at the Universty Paris 7. He is mostly interested in the quantitative characterization of processes in living cells and is helping the students of IGEM 2010 with fluorescence measurements using microscopy and flow cytometry.
Christina did her PhD in the international program from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg which she successfully defended in 2010. She is a postdoc in the group of Dirk Grimm since February 2010. Her previous studies focused on the analysis of functional domains of aav8. Therefore she supports the iGEM team 2010 of Heidelberg with her expertise on aav in terms of production and in vivo application.
Clarissa has a M.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology and as a PhD student in the group of Roland Eils, she studies the function and mechanism of CD95L in the field of apoptosis. By helping the IGEM-students in the wet-lab with the measurements and having insights into the fascinating world of synthetic biology and the IGEM-competition, she is very happy to be part of it.
Kathleen holds a Diploma degree in Biotechnology as well as a M.Sc. degree in Molecular Bioengineering from the Universities of Jena and Dresden which reflects her profound training and interest in the applied aspects of synthetic biology. As a PhD student in the Dept. of Infectious Diseases (Virology, Prof. Kräusslich), she is currently wrapping up her thesis in which she has utilized and substantially improved high-throughput, high-content RNAi screening technologies to identify novel human host factors (proteins and miRNAs) that play an essential role during the HIV-1 life cycle. The unique chance to apply different facets of her own education to a thrilling innovative and interdisciplinary project, combined with the rewarding option to use her technical knowledge and distinctive expertise with miRNA research to support and tutor an inspired group of upcoming synthetic biologists, make her especially proud and delighted to be an integral part of Heidelberg's iGEM 2010 advisor team.
Paula is a PhD student in the group of Roland Eils and is currently working on developing optical methods to study intracellular mechanical properties. Originally from Mexico, she came to Heidelberg to pursue her B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Molecular Biotechnology, where she learned an interdisciplinary way to analyze biological systems. She's helping the IGEM 2010 students with the measurements at the microscope and the subsequent image analysis to extract quantitative information. Paula sees IGEM as a wonderful opportunity for students to manage and organize their own project, develop problem solving skills and learn more about the interesting field of synthetic biology. She's very happy to be a part of it!
Marina joined the Bachelor and Master Studies of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Heidelberg. Finally, she is doing her Master Thesis in the group of Dr. Dirk Grimm. She is mostly interested and fascinated about the virology field, the possibility to predict experiments by computational calculations and then verify them by experimental setups. As her thesis overlaps with the topic of this year's iGEM team, she is glad to help out with useful ideas about virus engineering and to be a part of the iGEM team 2010.