Virginia Tech and Bluefield State Members



Darya Nesterova is currently a sophomore at Virginia Tech. She is pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration on Immunology and Microbiology as well as a minor in Medicine and Society and a minor in Sociology. iGEM was her first research experience to date but she plans to conduct more research in the future and pursue both a PhD and an MD. Ultimately, she hopes to attend medical school and become a doctor that is active in international health. In her free time, she enjoys running, photography, and going out dancing with her friends.

Sara Brickman, is a senior biological sciences and psychology double major at Virginia Tech. Prior to iGEM, her research experience predominantly involved behavioral genetics and neuropsychology. Sara’s current research interests involve microbial forensics and biodefense, and she aspires to work in those fields for the FBI one day. Her interests include, but are not limited to, ping pong, podcasts, and cheese fondue.

Joe Edwards is currently a senior studying Biological Sciences with a concentration in Biotechnology at Virginia Tech and will be graduating in May. He is interested in plant molecular biology and can be found researching tree molecular genetics using poplar in Dr. Amy Brunner's lab. He values his iGEM experience over any other summer experience he has participated in thus far because it has allowed him to work in a group with complete autonomy over experimental procedures. In his free time, Joe can be found drinking coffee and studying.

Jane Canter, is a rising junior at Virginia Tech. Majoring in Biology, and having previous research experience in synthetic and molecular biology, iGEM was a consummate opportunity to acquire and apply new skills to the field. With a principal interest in immunology and epidemiology, Jane plans to attend medical school after graduation and pursue a career in Pediatrics. In her spare time, she enjoys running and playing tennis.

Daniel Chique is currently a junior in Engineering Science and Mechanics. He is interested in mathematical modeling of systems. For him iGEM has been a very interesting experience given that his background is not based in biology. Daniel learned a lot over the summer about the field of synthetic biology. He enjoys soccer as well as longboarding.


Matt Lux Matt is a 3rd year PhD students in Genetic, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology (GBCB) at Virginia Tech and a DoD SMART scholar with the Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. A 2007 VT graduate in Electrical Engineering, he became involved in synthetic biology as a member of the 2007 VT iGEM team. His research involves applying bifurcation analysis and system theory tools to make engineering simple genetic systems more predictable. When he's not working on the computer or in the lab playing with bacteria, he enjoys cooking and adventurous eating, traveling the world, and hiking.

Jean Peccoud is an expert in computational synthetic biology. His current scientific interests include the development of linguistic models of DNA sequences, the optimization of DNA fabrication processes, and the development of new instruments to measure the dynamics of gene networks in live cells. Dr Peccoud's group is leading the development of GenoCAD, an open source web-based application to design synthetic DNA molecules from libraries of standard genetic parts. In the 1990s, Dr Peccoud pioneered the development of stochastic models of genetic networks.
Dr Peccoud joined the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech in 2006 as Associate Professor. Prior to joining VBI, he was responsible for a research program at Du Pont focused on gene and regulatory network discovery, the design of DNA transformation vectors, and the development of methods to analyze the genetic properties of gene networks. Dr Peccoud has been a visiting professor in the department of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, a visiting scholar with Wolfram Research, and the recipient of a NATO Fellowship. He serves as Academic Editor of PLoS ONE.


Brett Toliver is an upcoming fourth year at Bluefield State College. A major in applied science with a specialization in pre-medicine Brett plans to attend medical school after acquiring his undergraduate degree and specialize in Dermatological studies. The decision to join the IGEM team was mostly due to the opportunity to perform research in the field of Biology. With immense lab experience, Brett proves to be a help to the IGEM team while still expanding his knowledge of synthetic biology. Although this is the first synthetic biology research he has participated in Brett hopes to continue to develop his knowledge in the field. Outside of the lab he enjoys Sports and long walks on the beach….


Marta A. Eborall, Ph.D.
Dr. Eborall earned her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees at Virginia Tech. She is currently a Professor of Biology at Bluefield State College in West Virginia, instructing a diversity of classes including Microbiology. She participated in a RET in synthetic biology at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, during which she worked with Virginia Tech’s 2007 iGEM team. Her experience as faculty advisor for the 2010 Virginia United iGEM team has been very rewarding.