Undergraduate Students

Lisza Bruder - Team Leader


I am entering my second year as an iGEM participant and the final year of my biochemistry studies at the University of Lethbridge. After the amazing experience last year, I am now team leader to help guide the new enthusiastic members and the development of the project. At the University of Lethbridge I have discovered my fascination and love for proteins and research and has decided to pursue a career in research by continuing into graduate school when my degree is complete.

Justin Vigar - Summer Student


I am one of the few left handed people on the team! This is my first year participating in the iGEM competition. I'm a fourth year biochemistry major, and I am very excited to be working full-time for the Lethbridge iGEM team this summer. When not in the lab I downhill/freeride mountain bike, ride motocross, skydive, and anything else that induces high amounts of adrenaline. These risk seeking hobbies of mine seem to always result in me being hospitalized. But I guess you gotta' play to win. I also play lead guitar in a band. I can often be found listening to Zeppelin, Clapton, B.B. King, Dylan, Buddy Guy, Neil Young, etc, etc, etc...

Mackenzie Coatham


Mackenzie Coatham is going into her third year of biochemistry studies at the University of Lethbridge. This is her second year participating in iGEM and as lab coordinator and a member of the ethics team she hopes to gain further experience in the growing field of synthetic biology. As an undergraduate, she works in the summer in the biochemistry lab of HJ Wieden. She has been known to deny the fact that she is a major gLeek!

Anthony Vuong


“I, Anthony Vuong, was born and raised in Lethbridge. I graduated from Winston Churchill High School in 2008 and am currently in my second year of a B. Sc. degree majoring in Biology at the University of Lethbridge. I attend weekly Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu classes with Lethbridge Choy Lee Fut and am also part of the Lethbridge Lion Dance Team operating through the Lethbridge Chinese Free Mason’s Hung Mun Athletics Association. In my free time, I enjoy watching and playing tennis. I can draw fairly well; however, I have not picked up a drawing pencil in a few years. In fact, my picture is a self portrait I did in my senior year of high school. I have always enjoyed science and believe that iGEM is a great way to expose myself to the new expanding field of synthetic biology while gaining some lab experience along the way.“

Josh Sorell


"I grew up in the magnificent city of Calgary where wild people roam and animals sit civilized. Then promptly at the age of 19, I began academicizing at the center for academics, the University of Lethbridge. I left my established abode for this center; for it gave me credit for the AP courses I took at William Aberhart High School and had small class sizes. I am studying biochemistry and am in my 3rd year, of which aquatic biology actually was my favorite class because I had the opportunity to learn so many specifics about North American aquatic organisms. What I hope to get out of the iGEM experience is knowledge about molecular biology and satisfaction on how I helped forward the field of synthetic biology. In my free time I play Starcraft 2 from Blizzard Entertainment, subsidiary of Activision and also try to build sweet devices like a tesla coil. Coiled in my free time lies another beast which is my favorite food, ribs, they are so good."

Harland Brandon


My name is Harland Brandon. Some people like to refer to me with a variety of variations on my name, however, I personally prefer Harlando. I am going into my third year majoring in Biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge. This is my first year on the school iGEM team and I am fulling enjoying it. I am from Lethbridge and my goal in life is to become a doctor. My biggest fears include; papercuts, centipedes, anything to do with running naked, and a world without chocolate. Aside from these fears I enjoy golfing, eating, drawing, gaming, running clothed, chocolate, and the little mints left on your pillow at hotels.

Alix Blackshaw


Hey iGEMers! My name is Alix, and this is my third year participating in the iGEM competition with the University of Lethbridge team. Obviously I really enjoy being part of this group and I am excited to head up the fundraising and ethics committees. I just graduated with my neuroscience degree and am looking forward to a year of traveling through Central America. I plan to learn a new language, volunteer in as many countries as possible and make some new friends. The final very important thing you should know about me is: I like chocolate and I like peanut butter, but I hate it when the two are combined!

Katherine Gzyl


Hi I am Katherine. In the fall I will be entering my third year in biochemistry at the U of L. This is my first year in iGEM and I am really excited to be part of the team! My goal in life is to create mini monopolies from coffee shops that will eventually turn into a centralized giant monopoly that will take over the world. To assist me in this I will have to create fire-breathing dragons. Oh I also enjoy snowboarding and the sun.

Dominic Mudiayi


I was born in the D.R.Congo and I am a currently a third year student at the University of Lethbridge majoring in Biology. This is my first year with the U of L iGEM team, and so far my experiences have been exhilirating. I am in awe of the infinite possibilities in the emerging field of Synthetic biology and I am looking forward to an action packed year in lab! Aside from school commitments, iGEM and a deep fascination for translation factors (namely EF-Tu), I thoroughly enjoy playing a quick game of chess and numerous sports; I am an avid long jumper on the University of Lethbridge Track and Field team.

Tyler Forster


Once upon a time in land very similar to Edmonton, Alberta, lived two ordinary people with an extraordinary dream. This dream was to produce a son who would go on to contribute to the invigorating field of synthetic biology. On a beautiful morning in a time very similar the year of 1991, this dream, of a not yet existent field of science, took root with the birth of a son. He was known throughout the land as Tyler Forster. For many years, the dream lay low as it gathered force. In a year very similar to 2010, the time had come for the dream's full power to be displayed, and so Tyler got involved with iGEM while in his first year at a very similar institution to the University of Lethbridge. As part of the master plan, Tyler's parents subconsciously interested him into bird-watching, soccer, volleyball and especially basketball. Although the story is far from over, the rest of the story has yet to play out. And so dear children, I will leave you to sleep in peace, secure in the knowledge that greater things are still to be done in this city. *To be continued, but probably not*

Graduate Students

Adam Smith - Lab Technician


Adam Smith moved to Lethbridge in September of 2001 to study Biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge. After graduating with his Masters of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Lethbridge in 2008, Adam moved into the role of Research Assistant in Dr. Steven Mosimann’s (his graduate supervisor) biochemistry laboratory. He is excited to be joining Dr. HJ Wieden (his graduate co-supervisor) on a part-time foray into the world of iGEM and is particularly pleased to be experiencing the field of synthetic biology in its infancy. When not in the lab, Adam tries to balance outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking with vigorous sessions of sitting on the couch watching ‘Friends’ re-runs.

Nathan Puhl - Graduate Advisor


I have been involved with iGEM at the U of L since the spring of 2007, first as an undergraduate and now as an advisor. Through iGEM I have had the opportunity to travel to Boston twice and attend Synthetic Biology 4.0 in Hong Kong. I graduated from the U of L in 2009 with a major in biochemistry and am currently transitioning from a M.Sc. in Biology to medical school at the University of Alberta. Unlike my fellow iGEMers, I don't have the energy to come up with a funny twist to my bio, but I'll give you

"Interesting Nathan fact #36"

I created the U of L iGEM 2007 logo and the 2008 logo.

David Franz - Graduate Advisor


Originally from a farm in southern Alberta, Dave came to Lethbridge in 2000 temporarily for a one year transfer program in Engineering... ten years later, Dave is still in Lethbridge, and is now is a 3rd year PhD candidate in organic chemistry. Dave as received both his BSc in chemistry and MSc. in mathematical biology from the University of Lethbridge. He has been involved in both the 2007 and 2008 Lethbridge iGEM teams in an advisory role. Dave enjoys many outdoor activities, ranging from golf to hiking and skiing.

Fan Mo - Graduate Advisor


Fan is from the crazy, funny Wieden Lab. This is her second year in both the M. Sc program and as a supervisor in iGEM. She can often be found experimenting with radioactivity while listening to “The Phantom of the Opera”. In her free time when she isn’t running any experiments, she often tries to train the “mice” (the rest of the Wieden team) to sing songs from classic Disney movies. She also spends quite a bit of time keeping the mouse who shall remain nameless (Jeff Fischer) away from her food, mainly cookies.

Jeffrey Fischer - Graduate Advisor


Hi all, I'm Jeff. Currently I'm a PhD candidaate in HJ Wieden's lab, working on the prokaryotic protein synthesis machinery. Perpetually on a quest for caffeine (do science faster and with more energy), my research focuses on novel translation factors of unkown function. Outside the lab, I enjoy playing soccer, watching soccer (World Cup Year!!!), occasionally fishing, hiking, and can often be found having a beer with friends and family.

Hamid Sadeghi - Graduate Student

I am an Irani PhD student in Marc Roussel Lab working on mathematical modeling of biochemical process. My interest to systems Biology concept made me to take iGEM course and join HJ wonderful team. I have some experiences in molecular cytogenetics of fungi which dealing with chromosomes. It is believed that synthetic biology will affect all areas of industry in near future.


Hans-Joachim Wieden


Originally from Germany I moved to Canada in 2005 to start a research group on the structure and function of the bacterial protein synthesis machinery, a cellular process targeted by over 50% of the known antibiotics. I am intrigued by the molecular design and function of this essential bio-nanomachine. I try to unravel the underlying design principles in order to enable the rational design and engineering of novel bio-nanomachines. I am essentially asking the question if such novel bio-machines can be constructed from simple and fundamental principles or are these assemblies just to complex. Well and that’s why it was extremely easy to rope me into doing iGEM.

A. William Smith


Smith has a BS chem, BFA movement, BA mathematics, BM music theory and composition, MFA interdisciplinary, and PhD History of Theatre, History of Art. He started the New Media Department at the U of L teaching the first class in 1999. He loves getting out of his comfort zone [and encouraging others to get out of theirs].