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Lab members

Tom Ellis

Principal Investigator

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I’m Tom, born and educated in the UK with a spell doing research in the USA too. I run the group which means overseeing all theses cool projects, coming up with exciting new ideas and answering way too many emails. In my spare time I don't have spare time.


Koray Malcı

Research Associate 

Hi! My research interest is designing and programming microorganisms to do cool stuff; I also like to implement modelling and automation to accelerate this process. Currently, I am working within the NextSkins consortium to develop engineered living materials to solve real-world problems. When I have free time, I enjoy playing strategy games and exploring nature.


Anastasiya Kishkevich 

Research Associate

Hi! I am a yeast geneticist and interested in biotechnology and metabolic engineering of yeast.  I am developing strains which will be able to secrete high quantities of peptides and proteins of interest for pharma and biotech. In non-lab time I enjoy Earl Grey tea, English gardens, and the seaside. 

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Fankang Meng

Graduate Student

Hi, I’m Fankang, and I love synthetic biology. In my PhD, I'm developing synthetic tools and systems to explore the infinite possibilities of bio-design. I also love space exploration. I hope that maybe one day, I can apply synthetic biology to help us become a multi-planet civilization.


Xinyu (Jane) Lu

Research Associate

Hi, I’m Xinyu (Jane).  I'm now a postdoc here after doing my PhD with the group. I have been researching how to defragment the yeast genome for preferable synthetic control and I'm now thinking about how we scale to the human genome. In my free time, I love traveling and playing flute.


Ivy Li

Graduate Student

Hello! My research area involves using living microorganisms to create new materials made of bacterial cellulose. Specifically, in my PhD, I'm working with the NextSkins consortium to create engineered living materials that are functionalised by using a mix of different microorganisms. Outside of the lab, I have a passion for sports like swimming and surfing, photography, and the bioeconomy


Jazz Ghataora

Research Associate

Hi, I'm Jazz! My interest is in using synthetic biology to generate microbial biosensors to detect various environmental stresses. Specifically, I focus on developing tools that enable broad-species sensor design to provide the ability to couple detection of inputs to permanent DNA recording. In my spare time, I enjoy going to the gym, playing instruments, drawing, and making cocktails for friends and family.

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Timon Schneider

Graduate Student joint with Aaron Zhao's group

I'm building machine learning models (co-supervised by Aaron Zhao) to generate new-to-nature DNA sequences and validate them in the lab. Always keen to chat about machine learning, synthetic biology and entrepreneurship! You can reach me at

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Alex Van de Steen

Research Associate

Hi I’m Alex and I believe that large scale implementation of biotechnology is needed for humanity to develop sustainably. I am excited to be working within the Ellis Lab on protein biomaterials in partnership with industry, to offer new possibilities over traditional materials. Beyond research, I enjoy bouldering and the odd bit of pottery. 


Livia Soro

Graduate Student

Hi! The aim of my project is to develop a machine learning tool that can aid custom writing of synthetic chromosomes. This means you will find me in the lab, generating lots of useful datasets to train the model (i.e. lots of plating and some automation).  I also enjoy rugby, running, good food and attempting to make art. 


Annalise Zouein

Research Associate

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” I've recently completed by PhD here on controlling gene circuits in mammalian cells and I'm now working on a synthetic nucleus project with an international team. In my spare time I enjoy learning new crafts, cooking and travelling.


Oliver Hernandez

Graduate Student joint with Naomi Nakayama's group

Hi! I'm Oli. My PhD project focuses on elucidating engineering principles to design self-organised multicellular patterns. To do this I am focusing on auxin, a hormone from plants that I use to control multicellular development in budding yeast! Outside of the lab I love all things related to movement, currently enjoying weightlifting, calisthenics and martial arts.


Alison Heggie

Graduate Student joint with Teresa Thurston's group

Hi, I’m Alison! My PhD project is focussed on engineering bacteria to target tumours. Outside the lab I enjoy playing hockey, trying out different places to eat, and travelling.

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Mia Fukino

Research Associate

Hi! I am Japanese American from Luxembourg. I am an MSc student, completing my research project under Tom Ellis’s group. In my project I am working with a company functionalising cellulose with coloured proteins that respond to light and electricity. Last but not least, I enjoy travelling and finding yummy places to eat.

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Natasha Kisseroudis

MRes Student joint with Ravinash Kumar's group

Hi, I'm Natasha! My MRes project involves 3D printing microbial communities for ELM production. I am co-supervised by the Ellis lab and Dr Ravinash Krishna Kumar. I am passionate about Latin dancing and spend my free time dragging my course mates to salsa and bachata lessons. -


Lisa Doetsch

Graduate Student joint with Tom Ouldridge's group

I'm Lisa, a past member of the Stan group who is now in the Ellis lab using RNA motifs to enable programmable circularisation of RNA in yeast, bacteria and other cell types.


Harshi Kumar Sampath

MRes Student joint with Teresa Thurston's Group

Hi I'm Harshi, and my MRes project is looking at overcoming the limitations in delivering therapeutic proteins using bacteria. Outside the lab, I like music, finding new books to read and playing tennis


  • Elena Perini: BioEng MEng: Jan 2024 – Jun 2024

  • Srinivas Balagopal: BioEng MEng: Jan 2024 – Jun 2024

  • Dr Anastasiya Malyshava: PhD (Bioeng): Sep 2019 Feb 2024

  • Dr Klaudia Ciurkot: Postdoc and Nanopore superstar: Nov 2021  Dec 2023 

  • Dr Linde Van de Landuyt: Postdoc: Jan 2022 – Jun 2024

  • Lucas Canizares Alonso: BioEng MEng: Jan 2023 – Jun 2023

  • Aidan Lees: BioEng MEng: Jan 2023 – Jun 2023

  • Dr Kenneth (Marcus) Walker: PhD, Postdoc and BC star: Oct 2016 - Sep 2022

  • Luis-Enrique Garcia Rivera: MRes: Jan 2022 – Sep 2022

  • Dr Joaquin Caro-Astorga: Postdoc and Fellow: Nov 2018 Aug 2022

  • Dr Fabio Liberante: Postdoc and Sanger Institute Legend: Nov 2019 – Apr 2022

  • Olivia Gallup: BioEng MEng Jan 2021 – Jun 2021

  • Yuqian Huang: BioEng MEng Jan 2021 – Jun 2021

  • Cerys Barclay: BioEng MEng Jan 2021 – Jun 2021

  • Dr Vivianne Goosens: Postdoc and Microbe Queen: Nov 2016 - Jan 2021

  • Dr William Shaw: PhD, Postdoc and Ultimate YTKer: Oct 2014 - Nov 2020

  • Yue (Casey Chen), MRes Sys & Syn Bio: Feb 2020 – Sep 2020,

  • Dr Benjamin Blount: Postdoc Hero and Beer Expert: Nov 2010 - Feb 2020

  • Fiachra Sweeny, MRes: Jan 2019 - Oct 2019

  • Dr Wolfgang Ott, DFG Fellow: Aug 2018 - Aug 2019

  • Dr Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro, ICR Fellow: Aug 2017 - Aug 2019

  • Dr Linda Dekker Postdoc: Sep 2017 – Aug 2018

  • Dr Charlie Gilbert PhD (Bioeng): Oct 2014 – Jul 2018

  • Dr Olivier Borkowski Postdoc: Dec 2014 – Feb 2018

  • Dr Georgios Pothoulakis PhD (Bioeng): Oct 2012 – Aug 2017

  • Dr Vivek Senthivel (RA): Mar 2017 – Aug 2017

  • Dr Tim Weenink: PhD (Bioeng): Oct 2012 – Nov 2016

  • Alice Boo: BioEng MEng: Nov 2016 – Jun 2017

  • Rob McKiernan: Bioinformatician: Jan 2014 – Jan 2017

  • Dr Francesca Ceroni: Postdoc and ICL Research Fellow: Sep 2012 – Oct 2016

  • Dr Benjamin Reeve: PhD (Bioeng): Nov 2011 – Apr 2016

  • Sabine Wagner: visiting PhD (Munich): May 2016 – Sep 2016

  • Dr Dejana Jovicevic: PhD (Bioeng): Apr 2012 – Apr 2016

  • Robert Chen: Visiting Whitaker Fellow: Oct 2014 – Sep 2015

  • Hugo Villanueva: MRes Sys & Syn Bio: Feb 2015 – Sep 2015

  • Michael Florea: Biology BSc: Oct 2013 – Aug 2015

  • Dr Arturo Casini: PhD (LifeSci): Oct 2010 – Jun 2015

  • Dr Elena Martinez-Klimova: PhD (Bioeng): Jan 2011 – May 2015

  • Marios Koutsakos: MRes Sys & Syn Bio: Jan 2014 – Dec 2014

  • Marta Garcia Bellmunt: Technician: Mar 2013 – Nov 2014

  • Dr Ollie Wright: Postdoc Superstar: Aug 2012 – Dec 2013

  • Dr Rhys Algar: PhD (Bioeng): Oct 2010 – Oct 2013

  • Mihails Delmans: BioEng BEng Oct 2013 – Jun 2014

  • Isuru Goonatilake: BioEng MEng Oct 2013 – Jun 2014

  • Joshua Smit: MRes Sys & Syn Bio: Feb 2013 – Sep 2013

  • Joachim De Jonghe: BioEng Msc: Jan 2013 – Sep 2013

  • Henrik Hagemann, Bianca de Blasi, Jocelyne Holdbrook, Sophie Morse, Yutong Wu: BioEng BEng Oct 2013 – Jun 2014

  • Piotr GidzinskiBioEng MEng: Jan 2024 – Jun 2024

  • Lucie Paoli Elena Perini: BioEng MEng: Jan 2024 – Jun 2024

  • Antonio Casablanca: BioEng MEng: Jan 2024 – Jun 2024

  • Shiyu Yu: MRes: Jan 2023  Oct 2023

  • Aurelien Lingua: BioEng MEng: Jan 2023 – Jun 2023

  • Freya Morris: BioEng MEng: Jan 2023 – Jun 2023

  • Dr Pascal Püllman: Postdoc and Pichia star: July 2022 - May 2023

  • Dr Mateo Sanchez Lopez: Marie Curie Fellow: Jan 2021 - May 2023

  • Dr Lucie Studena: PhD (Bioeng): Aug 2018 – Aug 2022

  • Dr Amritpal Singh: PhD (Bioeng): Oct 2017 - Aug 2022

  • Dr Alicia Graham: UROP Jun 2016-Sep 2016 & PhD (Bioeng): Oct 2018 - Mar 2023

  • Yao Wang: BioEng MSc Feb 2022 Sept 2022

  • Shufei Wang: Bioeng MEng Jan 2022 - July 2022

  • Choi Lo (Czarina): BioEng MEng Jan 2021 – July 2021

  • Hia Ming: BioEng MEng Jan 2021 – Jun 2021

  • James Urban: BioEng MEng Jan 2021 – Jun 2021

  • Marianne Buat: BioEng MEng Jan 2021 – Jun 2021

  • Dr Glen Gowers: PhD (Bioeng): Oct 2016 – Apr 2020

  • Silvia Hernandez Arago, MRes: Jan 2019 - Oct 2019

  • Keith Kam: BioEng MEng: Oct 2018 - Aug 2019

  • William Beardall: BioEng MEng: Nov 2018 - Jun 2019

  • Niko McCarty: MRes Sys & Syn Bio: Feb 2018 – Sep 2018

  • Rachatida (Luke) Det-Udom: Visiting PhD & Newton Fellow: May 2017 – May 2018

  • Brooke Rothschild-Mancinelli: MRes Sys & Syn Bio & RA: Feb 2017 – Feb 2018

  • Jelle Van Der Hilst: MRes Sys & Syn Bio: Feb 2017 – Sep 2017

  • Akash Das: BioEng Msc: Dec 2016 – Sep 2017

  • Ariana Miano, Alex Leung, Francesco Guagliardo, Monika Zbytniewska, Sergi Fayos Villalta: BioEng BEng Oct 2016 – Jun 2017

  • Matthew Layton: BioEng MEng: Nov 2016 – Jun 2017

  • Dr Ali Awan: Postdoc and Fungal Wizard: Jul 2013 – Jan 2017

  • Maureen Driessen: Technician: Jun 2014 – Jan 2017

  • Dr Carlos Bricio Garberi: Postdoc and Music & Star Wars Guru: Jul 2014 – Sep 2016

  • Jack Ho: MRes Sys & Syn Bio: Feb 2016 – Sep 2016

  • Alicia Graham: ICL UROP student: Jun 2016 – Sep 2016

  • Michaela Murgiano: visiting MSc (Italy): Oct 2015 – Mar 2016

  • Simon Arsene: BioEng Msc: Dec 2014 – Sep 2015

  • Despoina Paschou: BioEng MEng: Nov 2014 – Jun 2015

  • Arinbjorn Kolbeinsson: BioEng MEng: Nov 2014 – Jun 2015

  • Thomas Hargest: BioEng Msc: Jan 2013 – Sep 2013

  • Nicolas Kylilis: MRes Sys & Syn Bio: Feb 2012 – Sep 2012

  • Anna Kress: Visit from Aachen University: Apr 2012 – Sep 2012

  • Piotr Fabr: BioEng MEng: Nov 2011 – June 2012

  • Yaksha Novicic: BioEng BEng:  Nov 2011 – June 2012

  • Jiayue (Nina) Zhu: BioEng BEng: Nov 2011 – June 2012

  • Fabio Chizzolini: visiting MSc (Italy) Sept 2010 – July 2011

  • Charles Fracchia: Biology BSc: May 2011 – July 2011

  • Hung Hsu: BioEng BEng: Nov 2010 – June 2011

  • Riham Satti: BioEng MEng: Nov 2010 – June 2011

  • Serge Vasylechko: BioEng MEng: Nov 2010 – June 2011

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