Team 2019




Field of study: MSc Bioinformatics

Following an elective course during his bachelor’s program in Electrical Engineering, where Lucas learnt about cell biolgy and gained interest in biotech, he decided to enrol in a master’s program of bioinformatics. Meanwhile, he has developed a passion for any synthetic microbial organism, believing that the true potential of engineered bacteria and phages is yet to be unlocked. Powered by the positive energy given by the team sharing his love for SynBio, Lucas feels that only sky's the limit!

Fun fact: Even though Lucas will be graduating soon and wants to pursue a career in biotechnology, only recently did he touch a pipette for the very first time.


Field of study: MSc Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Inspired by the immense possibilities of synthetic biology, Federica deemed iGEM a unique experience she had to be a part of. As a curious scientist-to-be, she took the initiative to co-found the 2019 iGEM team. The goal was to form a multidisciplinary team of students, each bringing in their own expertise, to solve a relevant problem using the power of SynBio. Currently, together with a motivated team of science and engineering students she hopes to make a lasting impact and learn from this experience.  

Fun fact: She studies microbiology even though she's a germophobe.






Field of study: MSc Drug Development

Ambition-driven and goal-oriented, Amber enjoys group projects and is determined to work hard to achieve good results. Working with a fantastic team of students from diverse backgrounds, she dreams big to bring our iGEM project to the top of the competition. She believes that the experience provides a great platform not only to further her knowledge about biotechnology, but also to improve her soft skills, a combination that can facilitate her professional career.

Fun fact: She’s obsessed with everything pink


Field of study: MSc Biomedical Sciences

Even during childhood, Anke’s mind was full of questions about how the world exactly works and why everyone is the way they are. As her curiosity and passion for human biology expanded over the years, she watched her older sister participating in a project called iGEM. Motivated by her enthusiasm, Anke knew that one day she would follow in her footsteps and dig into the fascinating world of synthetic biology.

Fun fact: At the age of 12 Anke genuinely did apply for Hogwarts to become a wizard.






Field of study: MSc Molecular Biology

Scientific projects have always been Bert's favourite – A strong preference for getting tangible projects to demonstrate to people, combined with the prospect of meeting new people and ways of thinking make iGEM the perfect haven for scientific exploration! Bert looks forward not only to seeing his own project develop, but also the projects of others and what brand new ideas there are out there to discover!

Fun Fact: Despite being Belgian, this year is the first time Bert has lived in Belgium since leaving the country at 3 months old.


Field of study: MSc Biochemical Engineering

Cheska enjoys working in the lab and never minds staying up late to finish up several experiments. She has always dreamt of making other people’s lives easier which is the reason why she chose both engineering and iGEM. There are no shortcuts in life, but she believes that scientific and technological advancements can ameliorate the burdens that the modern world carries.

Fun fact: Although Cheska was born and raised on an island, she doesn’t know how to swim properly.  






Field of study: MSc Biomedical engineering

Erik has always been fascinated by how we can push human capabilities further than ever before, either with mechanical or biological means. These interests all converged in the field of Biomedical Engineering, and now he hopes to apply the skills he learnt in his studies to solve both medical and environmental problems with iGEM.

Fun fact: Would not hesitate to get bionic body parts.


Field of study: Msc Nanoengineering - Biotechnology specialization

Konrad has a liking for innovative and new technologies, and that's why he saw himself as a member of iGEM. From a young age Konrad loved all things biology. From watching animals in the forest or the zoo, to trying his skills at a microscope in hopes of finding tardigrades, that was his passion. Being the hipster and contrarian, he decided to pursue a bachelor's in physics. Currently, he combines his engineering knowledge with his biological passion and pursues his studies at the interface where physics, engineering, and biology interact.

Fun Fact: He strongly believes that the best mode of transportation is Mammoth-back riding.






Field of study: MSc Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Since an early age, Lore has been cultivating passion for science and specifically for biology. As a future scientist, it’s her goal to tackle current world problems and try to offer sustainable solutions for them. Her motivation for joining iGEM was the opportunity to work together with a multidisciplinary team of students who are as crazy and passionate about synthetic biology as she is.  

Fun fact: When Lore was 12 years old, she blackmailed her sister by threatening that she would blow up the house with her chemistry box for beginners


Field of study: BSc Chemical Engineering

Having a long-standing interest in sustainability, Niko believes that science and technology have the potential to transform our planet into a place where biodiversity can thrive. With iGEM she hopes to explore ways in which biotechnology can aid ecological restoration. As an enthusiastic and curious mind, she eagerly faces new challenges and cannot wait for sleepless summer nights filled with coding.

Fun fact: Niko carries at least one tea bag in her backpack at all times to ensure that she can survive in this coffee-addicted world.






Field of study: MSc Biomedical Sciences

Driven by fascination for (micro)biology, Bas has interests widespread across the field. He believes that it takes a substantial effort to find something unworthy of some curiosity and consideration. Unsurprisingly, iGEM readily sparked his interest. Biological issue which he finds the most intriguing is the complexity of the human brain.

Fun fact: Among others, Bas has a ‘small’ addiction to sports.


Field of study: MSc Bio-engineering

Senne has a deep-rooted passion for biotechnology and its unlimited applications. Now, thanks to his studies as a bio-engineer, he opened his eyes to the environmental problems challenging this world. Therefore, he hopes to tackle them by means of synthetic biology. This has motivated him to join the iGEM competition.


Fun fact: He is obsessed with dinosaurs and wouldn't hesitate a moment to bring them back to life.  






Field of study:
 BSc Industrial Engineering

As they all say 'you only live once', Valentino is striving to be the change that he wishes to see in the world - a balance between rationality and sensibility. His passion for science entangles with his curiosity to explore the significance of human existence both now and in the future.     

Fun fact: Began as a Latin dancer, turned out to be a graphic designer, got in uni for anthropology but ended up studying engineering.    


Field of study: MSc Biomedical Sciences

Science and the human body are Zarina’s abiding passions. She is amazed at how the human body functions and is interested in the regeneration of different tissues. She is excited to dive further into the field of synthetic biology and explore how it can help solve various biomedical diseases as well as environmental issues. She is very excited to get her hands on developing a project together with her teammates that will help the world in a small but significant way!  

Fun Fact: She can disassemble and reassemble an AK 47 in under a minute






Function: Team coach KU Leuven iGEM 2019

As the team coach, Victor wants to bring synthetic biology closer to the people. With his previous iGEM experience, he tries to help the new KU Leuven iGEM team and bring this organization to the next level. It is his mission to spread the positive word and educate the future generation of scientists. He is driven by the dream of creating a biotech community in Leuven and by extension in Belgium.

Fun fact: Victor must be bitten by an iGEM bug because he can't let go of it.


PI KU Leuven iGEM 2019

Professor Swinnen is a professor and cancer researcher at the KU Leuven, he has a tremendous enthusiasm and passion for his students and his work. He is the driving force of many events related to cancer research and participates regularly in local and international events to raise awareness for cancer research. Besides all his professional work, he is an ultra-runner, running for hundreds of kilometers. He is a true inspiration for every team member and will move mountains to be of any help.

Fun fact: Professor Swinnen ran 2 marathons a day for 30 days from Leuven (Belgium) to Compostella (Spain) to raise money for cancer research.





Function: PI KU Leuven iGEM 2019

Professor Bram Van de Poel is a bio-science engineer working on molecular plant physiology, focusing on developmental processes controlled by plant hormones, such as the volatile plant hormone ethylene. His lab studies plant hormonal responses towards abiotic stressors such as light, salinity and flooding (low oxygen). His lab also carries out applied research on innovations in agriculture, using the latest technologies such as LEDs, IoF and wireless sensors.   

Fun fact: As a teenager, Professor Van de Poel was obsessed with jet fighter planes. He even applied (unsuccessfully) to get in the military academy to become a fighter pilot.   

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