Brock University iGem Wiki

Dr. Aleksandar Necakov
I am an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Brock University who received training in Biochemistry (BSc, McGill University), Molecular Genetics (PhD, University of Toronto), and developmental cell biology through a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). I am a molecular cell biologist who applies a combination of genetic engineering, high-resolution live imaging, and Optogenetics to precisely visualize and control components of cell signalling pathways with light. I have volunteered my time to organize a group of undergraduate and graduate student research enthusiasts to participate annually in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition ( through the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

My goal is to use this competition as an opportunity to train students in advanced molecular genetic techniques, to increase science literacy in the student population, and to ultimately provide students with direct hands-on research experience in preparation for both academic and industrial research positions.
Taylor Lidster
I am a first year Masters student studying Molecular and Cellular Biology at Brock University. I completed my Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Guelph. I am currently investigating the role of stress-induced cellular senescence in the Drosophila midgut.

I began participating in science events as early as elementary school. Science has undoubtedly been a passion of mine from a young age and has since been a major creative outlet. I also enjoy outdoor activities, fitness and spending time with friends and family.

I am thrilled to be a part of such a multidisciplinary team of Brock students who enjoy scientific research as much as myself. iGEM is a great opportunity to showcase innovative ideas and to interact with other young scientists who share common interests and goals. With the guidance of our fantastic supervisor Dr. Necakov, I am confident that our team will succeed in bringing to life a project that incorporates synthetic biology, enzyme function and optogenetics.
Devin Ward
I am currently pursuing a Master of Science in Biological Sciences at Brock University. My project involves investigating the role of endocytic trafficking in the Notch signaling pathway in Drosophila. Specifically, I am using optogenetics to control endocytic trafficking with precise spatio-temporal precision to observe the effects of Notch signaling when this trafficking is activated and inactivated. I hope to continue this type of research in the future.
Dr. Feng Li
I am currently an Assistant Professor at Department of Chemistry and Centre for Biotechnology, Brock University. I received my B. Sc. Degree (2006) in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Tianjin University (China) and Ph.D. (2013) in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Alberta (Canada). My research interests include DNA nanotechnology where we make use of DNA as an engineering building block to develop novel structures, machines, and sensors, and biomedical engineering where we fabricate devices and portable equipment enabling field-deployable molecular tests for human and plant diseases.
Jenna Martin
I am in my third year of the honours Biochemistry program and will be graduating in December 2018. I have a passion for science and am hoping to pursue graduate studies in Biotechnology. In my spare time, I fence on the Brock University Varsity Fencing team, and I like to read and draw.
Marvel Megaly
My name is Marvel Megaly. I am a third-year Biomedical Sciences student at Brock University. I have always been interested in biology during high school but being at Brock has allowed me to narrow down my interests. I am most interested in molecular biology, cell biology, and human physiology.

I got involved in iGEM because I wanted to get more experience in the research field. Because of getting the chance to be on the Brock iGEM team I am now considering pursuing a Masters degree in Molecular Biology or Genetics after next year.

During my free time, I like to volunteer, bike and sketch. I volunteer on campus, helping youth with autism and people with spinal cord injuries improve their motor skills by creating effective exercise plans. I also volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters "Go Girls!" program as a mentor for young girls.
Mateo Andrade
I’m in my fourth year of Biotechnology at Brock University. My interests lie in molecular engineering as it provides the manipulation of molecular system for the application of therapeutic or industrial processes. My interest in my academic career is in chemical engineering at the moment.
Raymond Wong
I am currently a 3rd year student enrolled in the program Hons. BSc - Neuroscience (Neurobiology Stream) with co-op at Brock University. I would like to further my studies in Neuroscience/Neurobiology in a graduate program on the completion of my undergraduate degree. This summer, I will be participating in the NSERC program in Dr. Gaynor Spencer's lab researching Learning and Memory Consolidation in Lymnaea.

I have always had a passion for clinical neuroscience, from a medical and research standpoint. I like help others and take on challenges, hoping one day to discover something novel in the field of neuroscience. I also enjoy outdoor activities, such as the sport Rowing (as a Coxswain or a Rower) and spending time with friends.

I am ecstatic to be a part of the Brock 2017-2018 iGEM team because it gives me an opportunity to work with innovative individuals who are passionate in achieving a goal in a team-based environment. Under the guidance of Dr. Necakov and Master students, I am appreciative to have in-depth exposure to techniques used in synthetic biology.
Robert Martin
My name is Robert Martin, I am a fourth year Biochemistry student at Brock University. I have a strong interest in biotechnology, and how it relates specifically to the chemical properties of the compounds being studied. My current area of research is paper based DNA detection devices. I joined the iGEM team in order to further expand my knowledge of biology, and to strengthen my ability to work in a multi-faceted collaborative team over a long period of time on a large scale project.
Samantha Toole
My name is Samantha Toole, I’m a third year student at Brock University. I was born in Mississauga and grew up in Niagara Falls, where I attended Saint Paul High School. I enjoy reading, running, and love animals. I have been an equestrian for about twelve years, and have competed regionally until recently beginning my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences.

As a high school student, I developed an interest in human nutrition and physiology, which has been enriched during my time at Brock through courses focused on molecular theories, such as Cell and Molecular Biology. Currently, I am interested in the application of molecular biology techniques in medicine. This has recently lead me to joining the Brock University iGEM Team, which has taught me valuable research tools and resources that are commonly used by current researchers, while immersing myself in the project, hands-on.
Micheal Palmieri
I am a 3rd year Biochemistry student with Honours at Brock University. I enjoy both Chemistry and Biology and wish to apply the knowledge I have learned from both fields when working on any projects I come into. It is my desire to gain an in depth understanding of specifically Organic Chemistry and Molecular Biology. These goals have made me feel at home with the such a great team of diverse individuals. It is an honour to work on the Brock University iGEM team where I have been able to gain vital skills that I someday wish to use in research work I may someday go on to do myself.

Outside of my academic career I enjoy various outdoor activities and consider myself a hands on person. I always put passion and precision in my work since this was instilled in me at a very young age. I desire to volunteer wherever I can in order to expand my expertise as I believe there is no limit to learning.

From my perspective, research work would be an ideal career because not only is it providing a stable career, but it is a collaborative attempt to try and further the understanding of the scientific world. This is why I wish to also share any skills that I learn.
Andrea Oritz
I’m Andrea Ortiz, a third-year student in Honours Biotechnology. I am most interested in genetically engineering proteins, developing new technologies, and biotechnology techniques to modify these proteins.