Members

Arjun Khakhar

Assistant professor, Department of Biology

Email: khakhar@colostate.edu

Bio: I am passionate about fighting global hunger and malnutrition. My major hobbies are cooking, making art, and reading. Science fiction is my favorite genre and I love that my job gives me the opportunity to bring some of the things I have read about closer to reality. I grew up in Mumbai, India and have been working in the field of synthetic biology since 2015. 

Tawni Bull

Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: tawni.bull@colostate.edu

Bio: I was born and raised on the Western Slope in Colorado where I helped with our family farm. Seeing the difficulties of farming first-hand, I became passionate about improving agricultural crops and practices to help benefit farmers. I received my PhD from UC Davis in Horticulture and Agronomy studying the genetic loci important for in vitro regeneration and developing methods for improved regeneration in lettuce. I love to read thriller/suspense novels and to go on weekend adventures with my husband and our two corgis, Kya and Luna.

Lauren Farina

Lab manager

Email: lauren.farina@colostate.edu

Bio: I am interested in the improvement of agricultural crops and systems. After working in plant breeding for agriculture, I look forward to approaching such topics from a synthetic biology perspective. I grew up in the Midwest in Wisconsin and Minnesota and am excited to be close to the mountains because I love skiing and hiking. 

Max Combest

Research Technician

Email: max.combest@colostate.edu

Bio: I am fascinated by all things in biology, but my curiosity has led me to focus on plants and their viruses. I want to learn how to use viruses as tools to study plant biology and develop technologies that can be used to address pressing issues facing humanity, particularly malnutrition. My undergraduate studies were in biochemistry at the University of Kansas, and I received a Master’s in botany and plant pathology from Oregon State. I believe that synthetic biology has the transformative potential to bring novel developments to biotechnology and agriculture, and I’m more than excited to be involved with this lab. 

Noah Hoglund

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: noah.hoglund@colostate.edu

Bio: Ever since I was a little child, I dreamt of flying and that dream has been amplified by my past experiences of flying helicopters in the US Army. I am now working towards completing my undergraduate degree in biology with the intent of graduating and immediately transitioning to a PhD. in cellular and molecular biology. This is in pursuit of one day becoming an astronaut and studying science in space.


Dahlia Kopycienski

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: dahlia.kopycienski@colostate.edu

Bio: My passions include solving global conservation issues through synthetic biology. I grew up in Maui, Hi, where I witnessed the rapid degradation of coral reefs. I believe synthetic biology can be used to tackle global issues such as climate induced coral bleaching, and many more. My goal is to increase my knowledge on engineering mutualistic systems in order to contribute to research in conserving symbiotic organisms in nature. Outside of my studies at CSU I spend my time painting, caring for my plants, cooking, and reading fantasy. 


Sam Sutton

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: sam.sutton@colostate.edu

Bio: I am an undergraduate student at Colorado State University studying biology. I have always wanted to drive science forward and help make the world a better place. The Arjun Lab feels like a great place to do these things. For my future I am considering going to graduate school or going into professional research. My interests include skiing and playing Dungeons and Dragons. Working on genetic modification feels like using transmutation magic and I think that is super cool.