The 2018 Research Team
This is Team UofGuelph's second year participating in iGEM. This year our goal was to expand on our 2017 project, using the skills and knowledge gained from our formative year. This year we grew our team, formed and strengthened friendships and learned a whole lot more about what we are capable of and "how to science". We look forward to competing in the years to come and experiencing that iGEM has to offer.
The University of Guelph was founded in 1964 and specializes in Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine and Biology. Its main campus is located in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
President: Dan Lipworth
Dan is in his fourth year of Biological Engineering at the University of Guelph, having already completed a Bachelor of Business Administration at Wilfrid Laurier University. He also completed two years of BSc Biology at York University before transferring to engineering. Dan plans to be in some form of undergrad program for the rest of his natural life.
Dan is part of the team that designed and executed the experiment that improved the characterization of previous BioBrick parts, particularly comparing the expressivity of different promoters. Dan also supported the wet lab team on the main project. Dan also assisted with team administrative duties, including finance, fundraising, and team-building. Dan is a former executive of the Canadian branch of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space Canada (SEDS), the largest student commercial space advocacy group in the world. When not in school, Dan is playing keyboards, working out, and thinking about all the other undergraduate programs he could one day attend. Dan will be continuing in iGEM Guelph as the Director of Operations for the 2019 iGEM season.
Vice President and Co-Director of Wet Lab: Jehoshua Sharma
Jehoshua is in fifth year of Microbiology with minors in Molecular Biology and Genetics as well as Philosophy at the University of Guelph. He is currently completing a co-op within Dr. Rebecca Shapiro’s lab, where he uses CRISPR to study genetic interactions in the pathogenic yeasts, Candida albicans and Candida auris. His responsibilities this year included securing lab space, materials, funding and training the incoming team members. Outside of that his main focus was on experimental design and troubleshooting for our project. Throughout the competition he has also helped foster departmental and collegiate awareness and interest in iGEM Guelph and is currently working with the 2018-2019 President of Guelph Synthetic Biology Club (Nicole LeBlanc) to further garner interest locally in synthetic biology.
Outside of the lab, Jehoshua keeps himself busy with other lab activities, with ties to both the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding and the Shapiro lab you can always find him in a lab coat somewhere on campus. He also heavily puts his philosophy minor to the forefront of a lot of his work! His advocacy for synthetic biology and a publicly accessible concept is very tangible. He has written papers and given a talk on assessing the ethical implications of the ‘power’ that we as scientists have, in relation to the public framework provided for us to work in. He has an interest in science communication with the idea that if the public can understand us, we can go even further.
Co-Director of Wet Lab: Nykole Crevits
Nykole has just completed her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Guelph, and is a graduate of the Biotechnology Technician program at Conestoga College. She is currently employed as a Transgenic Canola Research Assistant at the University of Guelph and Saturn AgroSciences. Her main responsibilities within iGEM include laboratory work, experimental design, assisting in lab inventory and ordering, mentorship of other lab team members with technical tricks of the trade. She has also been contributing to the team in areas involving media design, fundraising, awareness efforts, recruiting, social media, outreach such as LGBTSTEMday, literature reviews and coding the wiki.
Outside of the lab, Nykole has somewhat of an eclectic collection of hobbies. She does all sorts of crafts from drawing to wood-burning, digital art to jewelry-making, you name it! She works part-time at an engraving shop to help pay for her other hobbies. She is an avid (and competitive!) player of Catan, as well as a variety of other board and video games. She holds a world record for a Staphylococcus aureus protein fold in the game ”foldit” and is recognized in a published journal for one of her contributions to a protein solution. Did we mention she’s a bit of a nerd?
Lab Member: Nicole LeBlanc
This is the other Nicole, AKA "Little Nicole". She is in her third year in Molecular Biology and Genetics with a minor in Statistics. She has a passion for synthetic biology and an plans to pursue her PhD in a related field. Nicole assisted with the lab work throughout the summer. She also lead the creation of the Guelph Synthetic Biology Club to help spread the word about synthetic biology to our campus and community.
While not in the lab, she is the president of the Guelph Synthetic Biology Club. She also lawn bowls for Canada's national team and enjoys playing sports.
Lab Member: Nathanael Willms
Nathanael is in his second year of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Guelph. He joined iGEM Guelph in order to gain experience in biotechnology laboratory skills, as well as knowledge of synthetic biology and genetic engineering and exposure to that academic field. During the summer, he spent many an hour working in the lab, and is also an executive member of the Guelph Synthetic Biology club.
Nathanael is interested in the molecular mechanisms by which genetic information is expressed as phenotypic traits, and their evolution. He spends his spare time reading fantasy novels, researching a variety of topics on the internet, and inventing languages. In the future, he wants to pursue a career in genetic engineering or molecular genetics research.
Lab Member: Ruth Dedman
Ruth is in her third year of Animal Biology with a minor in Molecular Biology & Genetics. She is very interested in livestock genetics and using selective breeding to increase production. She hopes to either complete her Masters in a related field or obtain her DVM through the Ontario Veterinary College. Ruth is a member of wet lab and worked in the lab this summer. She also helped found the Guelph Synthetic Biology club, an initiative to engage students on campus with the field of synthetic biology. She attended the annual oGEM conference as a Guelph team representative, where she helped present the team’s project and networked with other Ontario iGEM teams. She also attended the Synthetic Biology Symposium 3.0 at the University of Western Ontario, where she co-presented a poster detailing the 2018 Guelph iGEM project.
In her spare time, Ruth enjoys working with the cattle on her parents’ farm.
Lab Member: Eleanor Cloves
This is Eleanor Cloves, a second year student at University of Guelph, and in her second year working with iGEM. She’s currently in the Molecular Biology and Genetics undergraduate program, and is interested in working as a genetic counselor in the future. She also works with the Synthetic Biology Club on campus to spread word about innovations in science.
In her spare time, she enjoys working with camps to spark interest in science at a young age. She also plays a variety of intramural sports, mainly badminton and soccer.
Lab Member: Larsen Iorgovits
Larsen is a 2nd year Microbiology Co-op student studying at the University of Guelph. Larsen’s interest peaked with iGEM Guelph in hopes of gaining valuable laboratory in the growing fields of biotechnology and microbiology. As for outside interests, Larsen is very interested in the field of parasitology. He is consistently looking to gain exposure to the field. Larsen also enjoys fitness, rock climbing, and going mountain biking in his spare time. In the future, Larsen is still unsure of what he'd like to do as a full-time career. The scientific world is huge and there are so many options. He hopes that he'll have a better idea when he begins his first Co-op term this summer.
Larsen had contributed primarily towards the wet lab portion of the lab performing techniques such as micro pipetting, double digests, running gels, and setting up a miniprep. He had also participated plenty towards interlab portion as well. Additionally, he contributed with an outreach event promoting the LGBTSTEM day.
Driest Lab Member: Bowser
This is Bowser. While not generally active in the lab, Bowser is always there providing much needed moral and emotional support to the team. He spends most of his days lounging under his favourite heat lamp in Nykole's apartment. As for his interests, Bowser is very curious about the field of cricketology. He also enjoys rock climbing, jazz, blueberries, and the works of Cormac McCarthy and Bob Ross. In the future, Bowser plans to continue doing exactly what he is doing now, just louder.
Professors and Staff
Dr. Rebecca Shapiro
Dr. Shapiro is an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the
University of Guelph, but prior to that she has also worked at McGill University, the University of
Toronto, and MIT. Her current research focuses on microbial fungal pathogens and understanding their
pathogenesis and biology using CRISPR-based technologies. Dr. Shapiro is one of our team’s faculty
supervisors for the 2018 project year.
Dr. Stephen Seah
Dr. Seah is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University
of Guelph and has also studied at the National University of Singapore and the University of Sheffield.
His two major research projects right now are steroid degradation in Myobacterium tuberculosis & other
bacteria and microbial enzymes involved in lignin degradation & aromatic environmental pollutants. Dr.
Seah is one of our team’s faculty advisors for the 2018 project year.
Dr. Cezar Khursigara
Dr. Khursigara is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the
University of Guelph and has previously studied at Ryerson University, McGill University, and the
National Institutes of Health. He is currently working on elucidating the structure and function of
macromolecular assemblies governing bacterial cell division, cell-to-cell interaction, biofilm formation,
motility, and chemotaxis with the aim of identifying new drug targets to combat multi-drug resistant
strains. Dr. Khursigara is one of our team’s faculty advisors for the 2018 project year.
Marissa is an undergraduate teaching coordinator and laboratory demonstrator in the Department of
Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph, where she also serves on the Undergraduate
Curriculum Committee. Marissa helped our team find lab space and access the resources we needed.
Deb is an undergraduate teaching coordinator and laboratory demonstrator in the Department of
Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph. Deb also helped our team with lab space and