Team:TPHS SanDiego/Team



We are brothers and sisters who together have sacrificed life and limb on the altar of science. We are a dynamic group of high school students aspiring to hop onto the band wagon of bioengineering set in motion by our predecessors. Facing limitless and oftentimes frustrating challenges has strengthened the bonds we have formed in our mutual love for bioengineering. The team consists of determined 10th and 11th graders at Torrey Pines High School. Being from sunny San Diego we are not accustomed to the faster more upbeat life in the East, so it should be quite the journey. Our members are vibrant and fun loving, but don’t let that fool you, when it comes down to the competition, we will show no mercy. Mentorship has been provided by three generous, svelte and praise-worthy graduate students at UCSD, who have opened both their labs and their hearts to us in a philanthropic attempt to enhance our learning experience and bolster our chances of success. We all have great Chemistry Biology, and are monumentally excited for the Jamboree.

Tareq is a hip and spry junior at TPHS who wants to major in bioengineering, but that doesn’t distract people from the simple fact that he’s the best at everything he does. Everything he touches turns to gold simply because every aspect of his personality is flawless, particularly his modesty.

Mokhshan is a svelte junior at TPHS who aspires to delve head first into a medicine-related field. Through useful suggestions and practical solutions, Mokhshan is able to boost the teams’ confidence by boosting our chances of success. At times he may frighten you, what with the black belt in Taekwondo, but he wouldn’t hurt a fly and seems to always greet the team optimistically with “So I’ve been thinking about an idea…"

Brian is an amazing junior at TPHS who amazingly aspires to fly towards the amazing field of Chemistry and Engineering. He is amazingly deep. Brian likes to baffle and stupefy his amazing friends with amazingly intangibly deep philosophy, hence earning him the most amazing nickname: "The Philosopher". Ladies say Brian is cute, but he doesn't approve. He is too amazingly good for them. Isn't it amazing?

Brandon is a junior at TPHS who wants to major in Bioengineering. He never ceases to put smiles on the faces of those he interacts with. Through good will and contagious catch phrases such as "dabes" and "next level" Brandon is able to charm the team and lighten the mood, even in the darkest of times. His constant lethargy reminds us of how important sleep really is, as is displayed in the somewhat unflattering portrait above.

Gha Young Lee is a bubbly sophomore who puts the G in Korean. Though her schedule is busier than most, she is nonetheless one of our most friendly and committed members. Every day she pours her heart and soul into iGEM work to ensure our success. When not devoting herself to the divine glories of iGEM she hosts invention contests, dives, and reads to expand her already abundant supply of knowledge. She is almost as amazing as Brian thinks he is and is spicy as shin ramen. Meow.

Michael Margolis has been with us from day one. As an invaluable member Michael has played a crucial role in all of our key labs. His commitment stems from his constant will to do what’s right and maintain an open mind. He is witty and technologically savvy which has proven useful when dealing with our miserably incompetent prehistoric thermo cycler, and champions burly forearms from his arduous days on the tennis courts. His plethora of inside jokes with Brandon leave the rest of us questioning his sanity, though he seems to enjoy himself, just as we enjoy his company.

Hope Chen is an honest member of the team whose integrity rivals most. She has contributed countless hours to both the website and the presentation and will be joining us on the field of battle in Boston. She has always been a core member of the team from day one and will always carry the pride of being part of this dynamic team.

Minh Tran is a junior, no, the junior. Being more experienced with regards to lab work, he smiles more than any member on the team, which is saying something. He brings the party to the lab and constantly sees the best in those he associates with. His AP biology skills have proven very useful throughout the year and his light-hearted nature has made the entire team respect his ability to somehow making tedious lab work fun.

Nicki is a light hearted sophomore who has played a large role in the making of our presentation. Though she was nonetheless trained accordingly in lab work, she delegated most of her time to the finer more aesthetic side of the iGEM competition. She is by far the sassiest member of the team, and at times can be easily distracted, but when it’s time to get it done, she gets it done, and does so with skill and precise attention to each immaculate detail.

Naim Kassira has reached levels of swag once thought impossible. He has been trained in lab work and contributed to the making of the poster. Throughout the year he’s managed to make light of the dire failures and has put smiles on the faces of several team members. He’s a good willed person who always has great intentions and ensures everyone knows of his unyielding allegiance to the San Antonio Spurs. #Swag.

Cindy Yang is a hard working sophomore who is quieter than most, but that doesn’t hide the fact that she is one of our most pleasant members. She always has the best of intentions and is as chill as a pint of maple syrup on a cool November morning, always greeting members with a warm smile and an inquisitive question about bioengineering. When she’s not working on the team or schoolwork she’s practicing arpeggios on her flute.

Eric Chen is a more technologically oriented individual who has proven invaluable with regards to both lab work and presentation design. His schedule is quite busy but he nonetheless contributes greatly to the valiant cause of iGEM. When his fuzzy-haired self is not with us, he is flaunting his intellect on the TPHS academic team or displaying his diligence through robotics. Though these achievements are admirable, he doesn’t let it get to his head, and approaches every meeting with a smile from ear to ear.

Spencer is an enigmatic second? year PhD student who refuses to add Tareq on Facebook because it would "ruin the students' ability to respect him as a mentor." When Spencer isn't making decisions unbecoming of a role model you'll find him training for triathlons or playing beach volleyball. Just kidding, you will actually find him in the Hasty Lab working on quorum sensing genetic circuits for microfluidic devices, or sitting at his computer uploading photos to Instagram updating his lab notebook. Spencer was on the 2011 Berkeley iGEM team and is happy to be back in a different role and spreading his love for Synthetic Biology.

Simply put, John is the Most Interesting Man in the World. Alternatively put, he used to be a helicopter snowboarding instructor. If that hasn't convinced you, John got his BA in Rhetoric when he was 20, then lived in a truck for 2 years at the bottom of Mt. Baker where he recorded snowfall for avalanche studies while flirting with the idea of becoming a professional snowboarder. Instead, he decided getting a BS in Chemical Engineering in 3 years was a more fitting challenge. John was on the 2011 Wisconsin-Madison iGem team and remembers seeing Spencer in his stupid checkered inspector hat and thinking "What a doofus!"

As enigmatic as Spencer likes to think he is, no one is shrouded in mystery quite like Dan. This unassuming brainchild uses all his powers for good, just like his heroes Batman and Superman. And by using his powers for good, I mean he uses his photographic memory to recount every movie quote and piece of trivia of every action flick ever to liven every conversation. Say every one more time. "Every". A man of the North, Dan was born and raised in the mid-west, or the flyover states as we here in San Diego like to say. He is still adjusting to the blinding light that seems to be quite pandemic here in southern California.

Brinn Belyea is an AP chemistry and AP physics teacher at TPHS who has opened his room to us for lab use. Without Mr. Belyea, we could not have participated in the iGEM competition, simple as that. When he isn’t teaching, he enjoys the sublime joy of fishing. We are very thankful for his generosity and for fostering our learning experience with such optimism.

Saed Younis is our advisor who has pushed for sponsorship and mentorship throughout the year. Without Mr. Younis we would not have found our mentors, and without our mentors, we would not have been able to participate in the iGEM competition and our learning experience would be severely hindered. We are very thankful that such a generous man was willing to help. He also has a voluminous mustache that no one has ever seen him without, mysterious indeed.