Team:MiamiU OH/Team

iGEM 2021 | Miami University

Meet the Team!

The work done by Miami University's iGEM team was made possible by a team of dedicate and passionate students and advisors from a range of different STEM subject domains! Take a moment to learn more about this committed team! The entire Miami University iGEM team posing in Pearson Hall.


Annie Nguyen

| Biomedical Engineering

Portrait of Annie Nguyen
Fun fact: I love hiking and the best trail that I have achieved is Angel's Landing at Zion National Park, Utah.

Annie is a junior student majoring in biomedical engineering with a science-oriented mindset and strong interest in biomedical science, especially biotechnology. She's on the path of learning and enhancing herself and that fosters eagerness and excitement in her to learn, to create self-values, and to devote her time to the community.

Avery Imes

| Microbiology

Portrait of Avery Imes
Fun Fact: I grow and maintain bonsai trees!

Avery Imes is a senior microbiology major. She helped establish Miami University's iGEM team because she sees it as a great opportunity to design and complete a challenging research project at a level of depth not typically seen in a classroom. To her, iGEM represents a great opportunity to push her understanding of science while addressing everyday issues; issues which she wants to play an active role in creating solutions to. Avery also sees iGEM as a great opportunity to gain collaborative experience which she sees as a vital skill needed in her future career as a research scientist.

Camaryn Bennett

| Chemistry

Camaryn Bennett
Fun fact: I'm very good at remembering birthdays!

Camaryn Bennett is a senior chemistry student. Camaryn joined the Miami University iGEM out of excitement to experience the biological side of research; something that may play a role as she looks into the future. She hopes to go to graduate school to earn her PhD.

Cameron Headlee

| Web Developer

Cameron Headlee
Fun fact: I love snowboarding! My favorite resort is Seven Springs in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Cameron Headlee is a full-stack web developer. Cameron joined the Miami University iGEM because of his passion for web development and he wanted to assist with the development of the iGEM wiki. By joining the team, Cameron hopes to continue learning new web development skills. Working with the iGEM team allows him to gain valuable experience he will use in both his future career and personal projects.

Daria Perminova

| Biology

Portrait of Daria Perminova
Fun Fact: Scientific career or not, I'm already trained in the art of being a professional clown.

Daria Perminova is a junior biology major. She was drawn to the iGEM team because of its relation to the global food crisis; it was an exciting opportunity to be a part of something bigger than herself since it is a real and ever-pressing issue. By joining the team, Daria hopes to expand her research experience and explore the relatively new field of synthetic biology, helping her navigate the many career choices that await her as a future research scientist.

Hope Townsend

| Microbiology

Portrait of Hope Townsend
Fun Fact: I play piano, am active in my local church, and participated in iGEM all while planning my wedding in October!

Hope Townsend is a senior majoring in microbiology with an unsurprising love of science. She finds systems and synthetic biology a unique challenge, representing a different form of thinking about biological problems than typically seen in a classroom. This perspective drew her towards helping establish the Miami University iGEM team, allowing her to challenge herself as an innovator rather than an observer while expanding her experience in what she believes will become the new foundation of modern scientific work.

Kyle Lierer

| Computer Science

Portrait of Kyle Lierer
Fun Fact: I am surprisingly good at making latte art!

Kyle Lierer is a senior computer science major. As a skilled computer scientist and software engineer, Kyle enjoys the opportunity to approach projects with a unique and interdisciplinary perspective. Having experience with everything from high performance computing to cloud architecture and even graphic design, Kyle is always able to provide an interesting point of view. Kyle joined the iGEM to work with a passionate team and provide technical expertise outside of the realm of synthetic biology.

Mackenzie Britton

| Microbiology

Portrait of Mackenzie Britton
Fun fact: I am a twin.

Mackenzie is a junior microbiology major. She is currently involved in the Honors Student Advisory Board, Microbiology CLub, and pursuing independent research. She joined the iGEM team to connect with other students who have a passion for science and to gain valuable skills by working with a team of people from diverse backgrounds. Mackenzie is excited to pursue a project unlike those previously done in a classroom and work with the many wonderful people who make up the team.

Max Brenner

| Microbiology

Portrait of Max Brenner
Fun fact: I sunburn really easily.

Max is a junior microbiology major at Miami University. He is involved in independent research and is a member of the school's boxing club. Max is deeply interested in genetics and metabolomics and enjoys looking at different systems that play roles in biology. He joined Miami's iGEM team because it aligned with his interests and he is excited about earning experience in the lab and working with a great team.

Nicholas Nocevski

| Biomedical Engineering

Portrait of Nicholas Nocevski
Fun fact: I really love talking about human geography!

Nicholas is an incoming senior student studying bioengineering and biomedical engineering. Nicholas joined the team to be a part of starting something at Miami University that would enable students to meet each other, work together on humane and sustainable solutions to global problems, and learn lessons that will allow us to make the change in the world we want to make. His desire is that this team can contribute substantially to finding solutions that make life better for our global human brotherhood and sisterhood. Nicholas passion is to enable happier and healthier lives through synthetic biology and engineering.

Tra Yen Nhu Phan

| Computer Engineering

Portrait of Tra Yen Nhu Phan
Fun Fact: I always beat my sisters in a drinking milk competition when we were children, and I turned out to be the smallest one in my family.

Tra Yen Nhu Phan is a junior majoring in computer engineering. Not only does the team test her engineering skills, but it brings her the chance to work with others and become a better collaborator. She joined the team in part due to the fun of having a group of friends working together to create something new. To her, the research process is not just about the result, but the journey of building new skills and ideas with a group of people.

Rhonda Krehbiel

| Professional Writing

Portrait of Rhonda Krehbiel
Fun Fact: I hold a lot of odd jobs. I am a preschool teacher, tour guide, gardener, and babysitter!

Rhonda is a senior majoring in international studies and professional writing. Her academic interests include cross cultural communication and the study of accessible language. She joined the iGEM team to expand her skills in technical and scientific writing. Also, she had previously worked with and met a few of the Miami University iGEM team members before and wanted the opportunity to collaborate with this wonderful, passionate, and incredibly intelligent team.

Prinicipal Investigator and Instructors

Xin Wang

| Professor of Microbiology

Portrait of Xin Wang
Fun Fact: I used to love novels but now I can only read non-fictions.

Xin Wang is an assistant professor of microbiology and serves as the primary principal investigator on Miami University’s iGEM team. Dr. Wang has been with Miami University since 2017. He is an expert in metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, and the metabolism of microbes. His research investigates cyanobacterial metabolisms to eventually rewire the central metabolism to sustain cell growth and meet engineering goals such as biofuel production. Aside from his own lab research, he inspired the formation of this team.

Luis Actis

| Professor and Chair of Microbiology

Portrait of Luis Actis
Fun Fact: Actis is originally from Córdoba, Argentina.

Luis Actis serves as the secondary principal investigator on Miami University's iGEM team. After receiving his Ph.D. from the National University of Córdoba in Córdoba, Argentina, Dr. Actis has served as a professor of and the chair of Miami Universitys microbiology department. His current research centers on the genetic, molecular and functional analyses of some of the factors responsible for the ability of the bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii to persist in medical environments and cause serious infections in humans.

Zhenxiong Jiang

| Computational Microbiology

Portrait of Zhenxiong Jiangs
Fun Fact: I am happy to be back in the game even though I'm in a different role!

Zhenxiong "Shaun" Jiang is a computational microbiology Ph.D. student and is serving as the instructor for the team. Shaun served as a team lead for his iGEM team NJAU_China in 2014 and is now using his experience to help guide the Miami University team. He is mainly responsible for the instruction of the computational modeling team, but he also constantly shares with the entire team reminders and helpful tips.

Explore Next

A group of people sitting around a table eating.


Every member of the Miami University iGEM contributed in a meaningful and impactful way. See how and what each person attributed to that made our project what it is!

A group of people sitting around a table eating.


Through our work we were able to add parts of our project to the registry to aid future teams in their research. See how we were able to aid in the iGEM registry.