Team Members Banner Image

Team Leaders

Sydnee Calhoun

As a long-time fan of Winnie the Pooh and my stuffed animal collection, I was drawn to the idea that CRISPR could be used to make new creatures! And maybe even living versions of some of my favourite stuffed animals like a teddy bear (as real bears are dangerous and not safely huggable). After some deliberation I came to the realization that CRISPR designed teddy bears might not be the most logical of goals in life, but all the research I had done toward it spurred my interest in synthetic biology and eventual life-long dedicated commitment to iGEM. After several years of being a part of both the high school and collegiate teams, I am happily back for another year of enjoyable torture.

Kristi Turton

Hello, my name is Kristi and this is my second year with the Lethbridge Collegiate iGEM team and my first year as an advisor for the High School iGEM team. I am currently studying Biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge and hope to continue in graduate studies. If you can't find me in the lab, you can find me playing music at home or bingeing YouTube videos.

Student Members

Keith Aiken

This is my third year of iGEM. I'll soon graduate with a B.Sc and B.Ed in December, 2018. I'm very happy to be part of the iGEM experience because it incorporates so many people with various talents who all have wonderful levels of ambition and passion. This year, my role has been mostly in a New Media capacity, including building the Wiki and creating graphics.

Maya Degrood

Hello! My name is Maya I am a fifth year biochemistry undergraduate at the University of Lethbridge. I spend most of my time in the lab crystallizing and characterizing fungal and bacterial proteins. With the advent of CRISPR technologies and my working in a cancer cell biology lab, I became very interested in the field personalized medicine. This lead me to pursue a Masters degree in cancer cell biology and proteomics where I can one day help develop more personalized treatments for cancer patients. I also wish to see a world where everyone gets as excited about proteins as I do and so I also have an interest in science literacy advocacy and science communication! These interests lead me to joining my university’s iGEM team to gain more hands on experience with gene editing and design and communicating this research to the public; this is my first year in iGEM. When I’m not in the lab or science communicating, I’m at a local art exhibit or music show.

Simmone D'souza

Hello friends, and welcome to a short autobiography of yours truly. I grew up in the harsh winters of Northern Alberta and decided to head to Lethbridge to pursue a degree in Biochemistry. I believed Lethbridge to be one of the warmest cities in Canada and little did I know that I would become a kite flying enthusiast due to all the wind. I am currently entering my third year as a Biochemistry student at the University of Lethbridge, and if you don’t find me in my books you’ll find me napping. This is my first year participating in iGEM and I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to be working with such a great team and learning about all the amazing feats we can conquer through synthetic biology. I can already tell that iGEM is going to have a huge impact on my experiences at the Universty of Lethbridge and I can’t wait to see what impact our project is going to have on others here in Lethbridge and around the world.

Travis Haight

My name is Travis Haight, and this is my first year with the Lethbridge Collegiate IGEM team. I grew up in Calgary AB, and I am in the fourth year of my Chemistry undergraduate degree. I joined IGEM because it seemed like an excellent complement to the work I do in an RNA based research lab, and to meet and work with others that share a passion for science.

Dong Ju (DJ) Kim

My name is Dong Ju Kim and I am 4th year chemistry student in University of Lethbridge. My experience with Synthetic biology alters my point of view towards issues on multidisciplinary subjects. Instead of looking for literature value from another person's work, we suggest, design and, create the solution. I believe that we, a part of iGEM community, are the trailblazer in this mysterious synthetic biology.

Catrione Lee

Hi, my name is Catrione and I am a 4th year undergrad biology student. This will be my first year in iGEM and I’m extremely excited to be a part of synthetic biology. I hope to one day be a microbiologist/immunologist and being involved in a project that could directly impact the technology in those fields is something that I’m really looking forward to.

Lucas Saville

My name is Luke Saville and I am from Calgary, AB. I have just completed my second year as a biochemistry major at the University of Lethbridge. I also do RNA based research at the University of Lethbridge. I joined iGEM because it seems like a good way to be surrounded by cutting edge science that is constantly growing.

Jessica Semmelrock

Know what's exciting? Biological systems functioning in synthetically derived cells. Newly engineered nucleotides. Someone linking all the yeast chromosomes together to form a functional mega chromosome. Generally speaking, all the advancements being made in the scientific world day after day. My life? Not so much. I’m just enduring a lot of trial-and-error before I make it to the big leagues and having extra fun with synthetic biology and rugby along the way.

Reanna Takeyasu

Hi, my name is Reanna Takeyasu and I am a fourth year biochemistry student at the university of Lethbridge. To me, synthetic biology has always seemed like an amazing, mad-scientist-esque option for finding a solution to many of the world’s problems. This is my first time participating in iGEM, and even though we haven’t quite fixed the entire world yet, I’m having lots of fun learning more about SynBio.

David Tobin

This is my first experience with synthetic biology and I'm excited to be part of the team!

The cells will not grow,

but will it work tomorrow?

The universe laughs.

Team Advisors

Aubrey Demchuk

I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Neuroscience but I have an academic background in Molecular Genetics, which definitely helped shape me into the SynBio nerd that I am today. I am a returning iGEMer because I really enjoy working on challenging interdisciplinary projects that bridge my research interests (and because I apparently cannot abide spare time)! And if I am not in the lab, you can find me on my mountain bike!

Graeme Glaister

After several years of being a part of iGEM I have come to the realization that I have grown addicted to it. This makes perfect sense with why I first joined iGEM. The idea that synthetic biology could help me kick my other addictions of smoking and caffeine consumption inspired me to work ever harder on our teams projects each year and helping to improve the synthetic biology field overall. Even though the “how” synthetic biology would relieve me of my addictions was not known at the time, and still isn’t, I have forever been convinced that the field has the power to do great things! I hope that my contribution to this year’s University of Lethbridge iGEM team has a lasting impact on science and society as my contributions to iGEM for six years has now become a new addiction.

Chris Isaac

I joined iGEM in 2012 to take a chance on something new. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of continuing to participate, mentor, and explore new ideas in synthetic biology. The best part of iGEM is the ability to engage in a meaningful multidisciplinary project and develop solutions to emerging challenges. In the future, I want to be able to bridge the worlds synthetic biology and public policy to make sure that we do the most good possible at the least cost.

Zak Stinson

Hey, I'm Zak, and I am an iGEMmer. I thought I was almost free of my fascination with genetic technologies when I transferred to the neuroscience program at the U of L in 2011 from biology at the U of R, but I lapsed right back when I learned that iGEM existed. I thought I had refocused when I began doing behavioural experiments with rats, but immediately developed and began an M.Sc. project designing a system for reporting gene activity in the brains of live animals. Once I’ve completed my M.Sc. in neuroscience in the coming year, I will likely continue to design synthetic biology projects in my future career as I am dangerously hooked. So I guess I'll talk to you all next year!


Dr. 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 too complex. Well and that’s why it was extremely easy to rope me into doing iGEM.

Dr. Trushar Patel

I joined the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute at the University of Lethbridge as an Assistant Professor in 2016 and the iGEM Lethbridge team in 2017. My laboratory is focusing on understanding the recognition events between viral nucleic acids and host proteins that results in up-regulation of viral replication. I am very excited to be a part of an iGEM team and learn more about advances in synthetic biology and apply synthetic biology approaches, in combination with biochemical and biophysical techniques to achieve our goals.

Dr. Angeliki Pantazi

A new addition to an established team! I am an Instructor at the University of Lethbridge, my background is in Medical Genetics and Cancer Genomics and this is my first time participating in iGEM. See you all in Boston!