During my prior research at Yamanaka Lab, for Cardiovascular Disease at UCSF Gladstone Institutes, I ran into a significant wet lab problem during the process of inserting CRISPR into living organisms. I wanted to be a part of iGEM to apply artificial intelligence to the problem of finding appropriate guide RNAs. I formed and led the project team, implemented human practices, and worked on the algorithm to provide us with a socially-distant research project during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Aaron Chacko Mundanilkunathil
After spending my formative years as a Java and Python 3 coder, I chose to join iGEM to apply my knowledge and skills. I worked on the algorithm by studying the Weissman Lab files, normalizing the scores, debugging the code, and exploring the training sets.
I joined iGEM because I was fascinated by the process of improving sgRNAs selection for the CRISPRi protocol. I had prior knowledge of machine learning and was excited to work towards innovative, real-life advancements in genetic engineering. I focused on improving the model through graphical representations of the variables and by debugging the code.
I joined iGEM as a way to explore more about biomedical engineering, one of my interests. Doing it with friends and learning new things has been a great experience over quarantine. I primarily worked on exploring the UCSC genome browser for protein information and doing the voiceover for team videos.
iGEM has been an amazing opportunity to pursue my passion for research and scientific thinking. Over the past few years, I participated in classes investigating the mechanism of cancer growth and conducted related research into unsolved protein functions; CRISPR technology is crucial in those fields. For our iGEM team, I surveyed the literature on CRISPR and explored other biological aspects to improve our model.
I chose to be a part of iGEM because the deep dive into biology was a great extension of prior lab research. I explored ViennaRNA to analyze secondary structure impact. I also led in design and animation.
I wanted to be part of iGEM because I really love biology, and CRISPR gene editing has intrigued me ever since I watched GATTACA four years ago. For our team, I worked on outreach, validating the model and exploring the use of polynomial regressions.
I decided to join our iGEM team to participate in a technological project that could have a real and lasting impact on the world. I also wanted real-world experience developing software. I worked on improving the algorithm and implementing off-target stringency.
I joined iGEM to use my time educationally during social distancing. I worked on website design and researching the background on the relevant genes.
Dr. Samuel Perli
Dr. Samuel Perli is a postdoctoral fellow working with Prof. Shinya Yamanaka at Gladstone Institutes and UCSF on developing computational and molecular tools for dissecting and engineering Biology as well as developing next generation applications of pluripotent stem cells. He has previously worked with Prof. Timothy Lu @ MIT, where he obtained his PhD. Prior to that, he earned a Master's degree in Computer Science from MIT working with Prof. Dina Katabi as a Presidential Fellow and finished his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering @ IIT Madras and was awarded an Institute medal.
Craig M. Trester
Craig M Trester is an educator and citizen scientist that utilizes principles of biomimicry and traditional ecological knowledge through applied mycology to develop regenerative solutions for many of the environmental challenges that impact our world. This is Craig's second competition and brings his past experience as an Instructor of a high school iGEM team to mentor GunnVistaPingry this year!
Siva Palagummi is software professional with 25 years of experience. He is passionate about Machine Learning, Biotechnology, solving complex problems inventively and loves systems level design, and programming. He worked with teams spread across globe providing guidance to engineers at various levels in problem solving, patenting ideas and career advice. He brings his past experience to mentor GunnVistaPingry team with software development.
Lauren Turetsky is a Sr. Art Director at Firewood Marketing. Lauren works with clients to help grow their brands, solve business problems, and to create new visual experiences. Her background includes working with companies of all sizes in the retail, healthcare and tech space. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Fine Art and has lived a year in the South of France and Japan. Before joining Firewood she worked at Google in the Privacy and Data Protection Office.