Team:Lethbridge Canada/team


The Team

Link to Adam Christiansen's bio Link to Amrinder Grewal's bio Link to Austin Kothig's bio Link to Brianna Carrels's bio Link to Brooke Heatherington's bio Link to Carissa Kirk's bio Link to Cassandra Logue's bio Link to Chris Isaac's bio Link to Dylan Sutherland's bio Link to Elaine Bird's bio Link to Fiona Spitzig's bio Link to Joseph Adam's bio Link Katie Thomas's bio Link Kieran McCormacks's bio Link Krista Fjordbotten's bio Link Marie Cooney's bio Link Mark Hasell's bio Link Patrick O'Donnells bio Link Tessa Carrels's bio Link Thomas Kazakoff's bio Link Wesley Mosimann's bio Link to Yoyo Yao's bio

The Advisors

Link to Erin Kelly's bio Link to Isaac Wards's bio Link to Mackenzie Coatham's bio Hans-Joachim Wieden's bio
The Team; Moose!

Adam Christiansen

Adam Christiansen's Photo

I am a Grade 12 student at Chinook High School. I spend a lot of my time thinking and learning, which is the main reason why I joined iGEM competition. In the fall I will be pursuing my education in mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta, so getting experience with bioengineering beforehand through iGEM interested me very much. I code our team's wiki and I built the math model. In my spare time I play badminton and golf, work with computers, play my trumpet and ukulele, and build things.

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Amrinder Grewal

Amrinder Grewal's Photo

I am in grade 11 at Winston Churchill High School. I like computer programming, science (biology, chemistry, physics), photography and playing the guitar. I usually make small computer programs, play my guitar or I am taking pictures, if I have any free time. I have also do dragonboating. I joined iGEM because I was interested in synthetic biology and I have been enjoying it so far. My favourite part of iGEM is working on the wiki, but I also like doing lab work.

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Austin Kothig

Austin Kothig's Photo

My name is Austin Kothig and I am currently enrolled in grade 11 at Chinook High School. My interests outside of school are music and reading. In my free time I tend to loaf around and study. I am in iGEM because I am fascinated by all the possibilities  and discoveries that can be found in synthetic biology.

A shiny rubik

Cube, twists with colors so bright

Geometric fun

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Brianna Carrels

Brianna Carrels' Photo

My name is Brianna Carrels and I am from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. IGEM has given me the opportunity to explore synthetic biology in a fun competitive form. Outside of IGEM activities, I competitively golf across North America on a circuit. My ultimate goal is to receive an athletic scholarship to the United States. After high school I hope to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering. I also enjoy biking, hiking, kayaking and anything else that takes place outdoors.

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Brooke Heatherington

Brooke Heatherington's Photo

I am currently in grade 12 at Catholic Central High School. In my spare time I enjoy playing the guitar and piano. I am a rock climbing instructor and love spending my time on a wall or in the mountains. This is my second year of IGEM, I was hooked after my first year and am so happy to be back. My favourite part about IGEM is meeting the new people and learning about such a new area of science. I have a keen interest in science and hope to pursue Bio-chemistry in the future. Human practices and Lab work are my interests in iGEM as I am hopeless with computers. In the following years I hope to enter into the medical field, though I am not quite certain in which area.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" -Mahatma Gandhi

Hundreds of feet up

Higher through the grades and clouds

On top of the World

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Carissa Kirk

Carissa Kirk's Photo

Hello, my name is Carissa Kirk and I am attending grade eleven at Chinook High School! I am a child of many interests, including art, crafts, baking (mainly decorating cakes) and I always enjoy learning something new, which is why I am a part of the Lethbridge High School iGEM team. In my free time I’m playing volleyball, doing homework, hanging with friends or doing some sort of artsy activity. Although these undertakings don’t quite match up with what iGEM is, I took interest in it because it is so unique. When we first had a presentation in our bio class about it I decided I wanted to be a member because I had never done, or heard of anything like it before, and it was such a wonderful opportunity. Because of that day, I have been a part of our iGEM for the past two years. One of my favorite parts of being in iGEM is getting to meet the team, we have a very large group of kids working on our project, and the diversity amongst everyone makes every meeting interesting! In addition to this, my favorite component of iGEM is the human practices section, just because I feel like I am most in my element there. With that I leave you with a quote: “Without freedom of choice there is no creativity. The body dies.” –Captain Kirk. (He’s practically my relative.)

A Dinosaur Haiku:


Rex big body with short arms

A hugless lifetime

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Cassandra Logue

Cassandra Logue's Photo

My name is Cassandra Logue and I am in grade 12 at LCI. Some of my main interests include biology, languages, baking, and travelling. In my free time I like to swim, read, draw, do mission work, hunt, and play the trumpet. I am in iGEM because I think it is a really great way to prepare myself for university, and I like being able to try such an interesting field of science. What I like most about iGEM is that I can actually modify living organisms for the betterment of the world and mankind. I am most interested in the hands on lab work in iGEM. I would like to be a geneticist in the future. My favorite movie is Ratatouille, favorite book is Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson, favorite song is Rodeo by Garth Brooks, and my favorite game is Settlers of Catan.

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Chris Isaac

Chris Isaac's Photo

Hello, hello. I'm a Grade 12 student at Chinook High School. My time is filled with fiddling on the piano, synthetic biology, socializing with my friends, and learning new things each day. iGEM caught my interest last year because of the laboratory experience and novelty of the science, I stay because I enjoy the challenge of putting together the puzzle we're building and love the atmosphere of the lab. As a member of the team, I regularly find myself spending time in the lab. I'm also heavily involved with the Human Practices element of the project; leading meetings and coordinating our activities. Regarding the wiki, I design the multimedia/graphics as well as tinker with the code. In the future, I'm looking towards pursuing a career in the field of medicine.

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world." Buddha

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Dylan Sutherland

Dylan Sutherland's Photo

Hello, my name is Dylan! I go to Chinook High School and I love rugby. I also enjoy playing video games and hanging out with friends/making new friends. My favorite book is without a doubt “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy find it oddly beautiful because of the brilliant writing style and realism.

I joined Igem because I enjoy learning and am considering a career in biochemistry/genetic engineering. Also as I mentioned I like to meet new people and make new friends and this seemed like a good way to do that. I wasn’t wrong.

From red tides of war,

To the resurgence of peace,

The roaming dove reigns.

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Elaine Bird

Elaine Bird's Photo

Hi, I am currently completing my last year of high school at Catholic Central and this is my second year being involved in the high school division of iGEM. As a returning member I obviously have loved the program and have worked with some pretty amazing people. The best thing in my opinion about iGEM is its endless opportunities, as synthetic biology has the potential to be applicable anywhere. In the future I hope to become a veterinarian since animals have always played a huge role in my life. Coming from a farm, any of my free time that is not spent working with animals at home is spent either at school or being involved in the community. By that I mean being in band, leadership, volunteering, or just spending time with family and friends.

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Fiona Spitzig

Fiona Spitzig's Photo

I am in grade twelve at Catholic Central High School, and this is my first year as part of the high school iGEM team (and it’s awesome!) I joined the team because science is wonderful, and iGEM is a really incredible opportunity, with being able to work as part of a team of similarly focused people my age, getting to work in a lab, and learning so much about synthetic biology. I really enjoy working in the lab, and the hands-on part of our project, as well as the human practices aspect. Ok, it’s all really awesome!

When I’m not doing iGEM, I am likely to be in choir, or reading, hiking if it’s summer, or writing. I really like sandwiches and ice cream (and ice cream sandwiches) and tumblr, and science, mostly biology. That’s why my future career will have something to do with science (which is very general, but I’m young!)

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Joseph Adams

Joseph Adams' Photo

My name is Joseph Adams. I am from Chinook High School and am currently in twelfth grade. Some of my interests are Computers, Video Games, Longboarding, Dramatic Arts, Singing, Graphic Design, and Anime. I am in iGEM because I find the idea behind it fascinating. To think that you can create something from synthetic DNA and apply it to everyday life is amazing! I like iGEM the most because of the people in it, from my advisors to my friends who are also in it, we have a great time. The component of iGEM that I naturally gravitate towards is the Wiki development because it has to do with computers. When I graduate High School and get all the degrees I need, I want to pursue a career in either Game Design, or Computer Engineering. My favorite band is currently Nine Inch Nails because I like their aesthetic and the originality of their sound. A quote that gets me through life is:

“Don’t ask for it, go for it. Do that and you will succeed."

I try to follow my own drive and do my own thing because that’s what I like to do.

I am Joseph A

Like my creativity?

This is my haiku.

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Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas' Photo

I am in grade 12 at Catholic Central High School.  The creative arts and science both spark an interest in me, hence why I chose to join iGem.  It allows one to use scientific knowledge and skills to construct something beautiful the world has not yet seen.  When school and lab work are not consuming my time, I can be found dancing at ballet, doodling a new-favorite anime character or losing myself in the wonderful world of Pokémon.

Dandelion Dreams:

Gentle, plush wishes

Drift carelessly in the wind

Hoping to come true.

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Kieran McCormack

Kieran McCormak's Photo

I am a student currently in grade 12 at Catholic Central High School within the city of Lethbridge, Alberta where I live. When I’m not participating in lab work (for iGEM), you can usually find me playing soccer and staying outdoors for the most part. I enjoy a healthy balance of activity along with study, to ensure that I do my best for both my body and for my education. When I’m not overloaded with work, I like to spend some of my downtime either sleeping or browsing the internet for current events/a good laugh. I decided to join iGEM, because throughout my biology 30-1 class I became fascinated with some of the synthetic biology components, and never found any knowledgeable teachers that could explain this new branch of science to me. iGEM allows me to properly learn synthetic biology hands on, with the help of both my advisors and my peers. Lab experience also gives me the opportunity to obtain certain certificates, and to develop my procedures and techniques within the lab, that I will surely spend much more time in later on in my life. My goals for my future are to one day hopefully become a medical doctor of some kind. I am leaving all my academic routes open so that if something goes wrong in a class or study, that I will still have careers available to me regardless the circumstances. Thank you, and have a nice day!

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Krista Fjordbotten

Katie Thomas' Photo

My name is Krista Fjordbotten and I am currently in grade 11 at Chinook High School. I am most interested in biology and chemistry, however I also enjoy reading and writing. In my spare time I like to get outside and get involved in activities like dragon boating and hiking. I am in iGEM because I feel it is a great experience that can be applied later in my studies, especially as this is my first chance to get any kind of research experience. I feel that iGEM is especially great because it opens doors for students that are interested in the field, but would otherwise not get to learn hands on what synthetic biology is. In the future I hope to be involved in the medical field, but don’t have a specific direction at this point.

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Marie Cooney

Marie Cooney's Photo

Hello! I am Marie Cooney, a twelfth grade student at Catholic Central Highschool. I enjoy reading, history, singing, playing a variety of instruments, writing, and learning Japanese.

I am in the iGEM program because I wish to learn new things about a rapidly expanding field, and its impact on society and the world. My favorite thing about iGEM is have the opportunity to manipulate DNA with my friends! I find the human practices aspect of iGEM to be the most interesting, as I like learning about how people respond and  react to new technologies and controversy. I also have a veritable obsession with all things Harry Potter.

"Let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure." -Albus Dumbledore

I can't do magic

So I do science instead

And that's close enough

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Mark Hasell

Mark Hasell's Photo

Hi, my name is Mark Hasell and I am in grade 12 at Catholic Central High school in Lethbridge. In my free time I enjoy skiing and water sports such as waterskiing and knee boarding. I am in iGEM because I have a great fasciation in the field of biology and the opportunity to learn more about synthetic biology and take part in hands on labs was too much to pass up. What I like most about iGEM is the opportunity to work in a real lab, however I am also interested in the wiki coding part of iGEM as well. I would like to pursue a career in the medical profession after I finish high school. In my spare time I enjoy reading books by Vince Flynn.

I am Mark Hasell

Science and Math define me

I enjoy reading.

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Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O'Donnell's Photo

My name is Patrick O'Donnell, and I'm a grade 11 student at Winston Churchill High School in Lethbridge, Alberta. I play ice hockey and rugby, as well as rock climbing, hiking, biking, and dragonboating. I spend much of my time during the week at rugby, after which I usually try to come to iGEM for a few hours to spend time with the team and perform experiments. I joined iGEM because I wanted to take the opportunity to spend time in an actual research laboratory and “try my hand” at science. I've really enjoyed the year so far, and look forward to presenting with my team at the High School iGEM competition in Boston this year.

"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you do, you're a mile away and you have their shoes" - Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Haikus are easy

But they don't always make sense


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Tessa Carrels

Tessa Carrels' Photo

My name is Tessa Carrels and I am from Lethbridge, Alberta. I attend Chinook High School and am currently in grade 10. IGEM has been a great experience for me to learn about synthetic biology in a fun yet challenging way. After I graduate, my goal is to go to medical school and specialize as a sports physician. Aside from IGEM, I play volleyball at Chinook High School and the Lethbridge Volleyball Club. I am part of the National Honours Society at Chinook High School and in the summer I volunteer at Southern Alberta Bible Camp. In my spare time I enjoy almost every outdoor activity such as hiking, biking, skiing, horseback riding, and swimming.

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Thomas Kazakoff

Thomas Kazakoff's Photo

I am currently in my eleventh year of schooling, attending Chinook High School in West Lethbridge, Alberta. Generally speaking, my interests include physics, genetics, personal philosophy and politics. I utilize most of my free time to read, spend time with friends or just to relax. I was initially interested in iGEM by the unique opportunities it presented. Getting the chance to do actual lab work and learn knowledge a little ahead of my age was an invaluable opportunity. I'd imagine the thing I like most about iGEM is the people. iGEM has introduced me to some great people whom I hope to spend more time with in the future .I contribute to my iGEM team by doing lab work and assisting in human practices. Realistically I have no idea at what I would like to do with the rest of my life. I am currently looking at theoretical physics or philosophy as an area of study.

FUN FACT: My favorite novel is Watchmen.

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Wesley Mosimann

Wesley Mosimann's Photo

Hi, my name is Wesley Mosimann. I am a grade 12 student at Chinook high school. I am very interested in the maths and sciences,I will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry next year, and I have a strong inquisitive personality. In my spare time, I typically play rugby, read clasic literature fiction and fantasy, or browse the internet and hang out with friends. I am in IGEM because of my passion for science and I thought it would be a fun and informative opportunity. My favorite part about IGEM is trying to understand what we are doing on both a macro and microscopic scale, and being able to work on this in a lab situation. When I am older, I would like to be a university professor in either the maths and sciences because I have a passion for learning, and research is practically the infinite pursuit of knowledge. My favourite movie is the princess bride, and my favourite books are Oryx and Crake, and A Memory of Light.

I love to read books,

I love to hang with my friends,

Dang, ain't life just great

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Yoyo Yao

Yoyo Yao's Photo

Hello all! I am Yoyo Yao and I am in grade 12 at Chinook High School. I initially was interested in iGEM by the seemingly limitless possibilities you can do with cells and synthetic biology. When I became more involved I became aware that iGEM applies to more than just things in the lab. The lead me to be quite involved in the human practices component of iGEM.

Outside of iGEM and school I enjoy reading, watching tv, skiing, and playing video games. In the future I hope to pursue a career in the field of medicine.

Using tweezers to

flip bacon? Someone likes to

live dangerously.

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Banner Advisors

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly's Photo

I am a student at the University of Lethbridge and I have just completed my first year of the Biochemistry Program. Science is all I do; I am currently researching RNA pseudouridine synthases on top of advising for High School iGEM. I was on the high school team last year and learned so much that I wanted to continue with the program and help teach genetic engineering to new students this year. I am also a part of the newly formed Lethbridge Entrepreneurial iGEM team and I am very excited to learn about the business side of science. Outside of the lab I love to go cycling, hiking and my sorry attempts at windsurfing. Eventually I plan to go to grad school at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

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Hans-Joachim Wieden

Hans-Joachim Wieden's Photo

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

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Isaac Ward

I am Isaac, a fourth year neuroscience major at University of Lethbridge. I work in the research lab of Dr. Gerlinde Metz at the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience. I am an advisor for the Lethbridge High School iGEM Program, and really enjoy helping young minds peruse scientific curiosity. When I am not busy in the lab I enjoy going camping, hiking, skiing and mountain biking. My interests include learning about the brain, and how it functions, robotics, synthetic biology and outdoor adventures. My favorite lab snack is Tim Horton’s Coffee and donuts (Canadian Maple) but more frequently Cookies. I am a strong believer in multidisciplinary science and the integration of social responsibility in the sciences. The students have come to refer to me as Papa Bear.

When the Sun goes down,

Even the trees go to sleep,

And the world is calm.

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Mackenzie Coatham

Mackenzie Coatham's Photo

First of all, I love cats. Every kind of cat, but working in an RNA lab for my Master’s degree, I cannot keep a cat with me due to their incessant need to shed. While it may not sound like shedding is bad, they release RNAses which cleave my experiments. During my spare time I like taking self-portraits of myself on my phone such as the one next to this blurb. As you can tell you I like smiling, but nothing makes me smile more than the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, and knitting.

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