Team:Utah State/Team


Revision as of 16:09, 5 November 2009 by Trentmortensen (Talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

untitled USU iGem

Faculty Support
Utah State University
Team USU

This is Utah State University's second year participating in the iGEM competition. Our team has grown in the past year and includes high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, along with outstanding faculty advisors. Though there have been many challenges throughout this project, participation in the iGEM competition has been a great learning experience for all involved on the team. Below, you can meet each member of our team and find more information about Utah State University and Logan, Utah.

Team USU

The Team

Garrett Hinton is a Senior at Sky View High School in Smithfield, UT. He began his research experience at USU in 2006 as he was starting his freshman year in high school. He was a member of the USU iGEM team in 2008, and is excited to be involved again this year. For this project, Garrett performed various lab procedures, including DNA purification, gel electrophoresis, restriction enzyme digestions, ligations, and more. Additionally, he helped out in the lab by making medias and monitoring experiments. Outside of the lab, Garrett likes basketball and ping pong.


Jody Jerez is a senior at InTech Collegiate High School in North Logan, Utah. She has been interested in biological engineering and decided to participate in iGEM to learn more about it. This is her first year participating in iGEM and she has learned a lot and enjoys what she was able to do for the team. Jody contributed by doing general laboratory procedures in the lab, as well as adding content to the wiki. Other than learning more about biological engineering, Jody enjoys hiking, dancing, and rock climbing.


Jeff is also a senior at InTech Collegiate High School. He first learned about iGEM and synthetic biology when USU's Biological Engineering gave a presentation at his school. Although Jeff helped primarily with the team wiki, especially the protocol page, he did help with some work in the lab as well, particularly in the initial stages of the project. He has enjoyed learning about synthetic biology, and is excited for the Jamboree. Jeff is on his high school robotics team, plays the pipe organ, hikes, and swing dances.

Tyrell Rupp TYREL RUPP

Tyrel is a senior at a Sky View High School near USU. In the spring of 2009 he was exposed to synthetic biological engineering through an internship class. Ty spent the summer working for the Synthetic Biomanufacturing Center, which lead to his participation in iGEM. Over the past few months, he has learned a lot about synthetic biology and the research process. Among other things, Ty enjoys mountain biking and snowboarding in the mountain ranges above USU. For iGEM, Ty has helped carry out basic laboratory procedures and contributed some to the team’s wiki design.

Tyrell Rupp HYUN-JIN KIM

Hyun-Jin is a freshman at Intech Collegiate High School. He started at the lab from summer and is now very proficient in most laboratory procedures used in the Synthetic Biomanufacturing Lab. In example, he makes media, isolates plasmid DNA using the CTAB method, and carries out transformations of E. coli. He is from Gwangju, South Korea and is excited to be involved with the iGEM 2009 project. He enjoys football, Frisbee and basketball.


Sean Bedingfield is a Utah State Research Fellow in his freshman year. His personal research is focused on effective expression of the LacOperon gene for the production of particular proteins. Sean is an avid hiker, pheasant hunter, and cook. Sean’s contributions to the project include assisting with tri-parental mating, researching secretion systems of different bacteria, transforming competent E. coli, and getting the team T-shirts made.


Cole is a sophomore in Biological Engineering, and this is his first year participating in iGEM. He spent the summer enthusiastically working on USU’s iGEM project. When not in school or in the lab he likes running, cycling, hiking, rock climbing and skiing. Cole spent the majority of his time in the lab modifying and testing multiple broad-host range vectors, as well as performing general laboratory tasks and procedures.


Alex Hatch is a junior in Biological Engineering at Utah State University. His personal research has dealt with microbial diversity in TCE bioremediation and currently algal diversity in wastewater treatment and biofuel production. He is participating with iGEM for the first time this year and has enjoyed the opportunity to be introduced to this emerging field. He is pursuing a career in medicine and plans to attend medical school upon graduation. He loves to spend time with his young family, wife Laura and son Graham. Together they like to spend time outside, read together, and build forts out of furniture and blankets. Alex has helped in general laboratory activities and was responsible for addressing human practices in synthetic biology on the Wiki.


Rachel is in her third year at Utah State University majoring in Biological Engineering. She is interested in genetic and biomedical engineering research and would like to pursue a masters degree in biomedical engineering. She enjoys participating in iGEM because it is interesting and helps her apply the concepts she has learned in classes. She hopes to work in a research laboratory after graduation. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, her hobbies include playing volleyball, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and almost anything outdoors.


Trent is a finishing senior in Biological Engineering at Utah State University. His personal research is focused on the antimycobacterial properties of the St. John’s Wort herb. Trent participated in the 2008 Utah State iGEM project and is participating once again because of the excellent experience he had last year. He is looking into a career in the biomedical field in the area of disease and injury research and treatment and feels that Synthetic Biology has enormous potential for advancing this field. Trent enjoys hiking, fishing, and snowmobiling in the nearby mountains. He also enjoys playing basketball, racquetball, and ultimate. For this year’s project, Trent aided in laboratory work, team coordination, gathering materials for the Wiki, and preparation of the presentation materials.


Brad is a graduate student in the Biological and Irrigation Engineering at Utah State University. His personal research is centered around analyzing an unknown microbial community, and characterizing it's genetic phylogeny. Brad is participating in the iGEM competition for the first time, and has enjoyed being a part of the group. He has a passion for caving, and tries to go as often as the team would let him. Other than that, he enjoys rock climbing, camping, the occasional computer game, and is excited for the duck hunting season. Brad was primarily responsible for culturing the cyanobacteria, and conducting the tri-parental mating procedure, and generally helped out around the lab.


Libbie is a Masters student in Biological Engineering. Like a few others on this year's team, Libbie was also a member of the 2008 iGEM team. She is glad to be back for a second year, this time as an advisor. Her Masters' work is in investigating different ways to improve PHA production economics. She is hoping to complete her thesis within the next few months, followed by finding employment in bioprocess/biochemical engineering. In her spare time, Libbie is a musician. She also enjoys beating fellow iGEM teammate Trent Mortensen in racquetball, as well as playing with her 6 month old puppy, Rooster. For this years' iGEM team, Libbie advised on topics related to bioplastic production, secretion systems and mechanisms, and general laboratory procedures. She was also involved in coordinating efforts with the wiki.


Junling Huo is a PhD student in Biological Engineering at USU. His dissertation research is focused on design a gene expression system for Rhodobacter sphaeroides, which is a photosynthetic bacteria. This gene expression system will include BioBrick compatible promoters, Ribosome Binding Sites (RBS), and terminators. The planned promoters and RBS will have different activities. Terminators will be either bidirectional or unidirectional. He hopes to complete his dissertation in the next year or so, and continuing doing research. He was also a member of 2008 USU iGEM team, and is happy to serve as an advisor again this year.

Faculty Support

Our faculty advisors are Dr. Ronald C. Sims, Dean H. Scott Hinton, and Dr. Charles D. Miller. We would like to thank them for all of their help and guidance throughout the project. To view their professional biographies, please refer to our department website:

Utah State University

Located in Logan, Utah, about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah State University sits just outside the mouth of Logan Canyon. The city, founded in 1859, has a population of approximately 47,000 and boasts a rich heritage. Whether on campus, historic Main Street, down in the “island”, or up the canyon, there is always something to do.

Originally founded in 1888 as the Agricultural College of Utah, the school officially became a university in 1957. As the state's land-and space-grant university, USU conducts world-class research in many disciplines and has several projects in conjunction with the Department of Defense and NASA. USU’s research program is second in age only to MIT in the United States. USU's Space Dynamics Laboratory has put more experiments into space than any university in the world and is ranked first in the United States for funding for aerospace research.

The engineering program at Utah State is known for its excellence, with a 96% first-time pass rate on the national engineering exam compared to a national average of 55%. Beyond the Logan campus, Utah State's Extension programs extend academic resources and support throughout the entire state of Utah, having extension locations in each of Utah's 29 counties.

Biological and Irrigation Engineering is a relatively small department at Utah State, with about 30 faculty and 120 undergraduate and graduate students. This great student-to-teacher ratio helps students succeed in their classes. The Biological Engineering Program teaches students to manipulate biological systems for useful purposes, understand scientific literature, and to work well and communicate effectively with others, both in the field of Biological Engineering and out. In the first years of the program, students learn the basics of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. This knowledge base is then broadened by a study of liberal arts and humanities including literature, philosophy, political science, art, and music classes. Students finally delve into technical engineering courses, many chosen personally by students to apply to their particular areas of interest. These courses develop practical problem-solving abilities, increasing sensitivity to the economic, social, and legal dimensions of technical problems. Students leave the program well-qualified for their careers, with an understanding of the importance of social and professional ethics and responsibility to accompany their technical learning. After graduation, students will apply their knowledge to a wide range of careers, from genetic engineering to design of prosthetic devices for amputees.