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People

Paul Jensen

Principal Investigator

I trained as an engineer and microbiologist at the University of Minnesota, the University of Virginia, and Boston College. In 2016, I joined the bioengineering faculty at Illinois to mentor students in systems microbiology, artificial intelligence, and automated science. I enjoy reading and gardening with my wife and two children.
Kenan Jijakli

Graduate Student

I joined the Jensen Lab in 2016 as a Ph.D. student, and I am working on inferring gene expression states by combining high-throughput growth experiments with models. In my spare time I get lost on Wikipedia, walk and talk with friends, and read.
Ryan Wyllie

Graduate Student

I graduated from UIUC in 2016 with a B.S. in bioengineering and a minor in chemistry. After working at Argonne National Lab as a summer research assistant, I joined the Jensen Lab in the fall of 2016 as an M.S student but switched into the PhD program that summer. My research primarily focuses on the development of synthetic biology tools that can be used to answer questions regarding gene function and gene expression in the oral streptococci. Outside of lab, I enjoy running, political philosophy, the history of Late Antiquity, and ancient Roman numismatics.
Walden Li

Graduate Student

I received my B.S in Biological Science (Public Administration minor) at Zhejiang University in China in 2015, focusing on microbiology, and M.S. in Bioengineering at UIUC in 2018, focusing on host-synthetic circuit interaction in E. coli. In the Jensen lab I’m working on the genetics, metabolism, and social behaviors of oral streptococci, particularly the oral pathogen S. sobrinus. The Jensen lab has been a great place for both being a researcher and being a human. Outside the lab I’m drawn to the great outdoors.
Adam Dama

Automation Engineer, Software

I graduated from UIUC in 2019 with a B.S. in bioengineering and a minor in computer science. I joined the Jensen Lab in 2017 as a sophomore where I began working on small lab devices like a miniaturized plate reader and a bacteria colony tracker. After graduation, I joined the lab full-time as an automation software engineer to wrangle some robots and establish our “Deep Phenotyping” high-throughput assay pipeline. Currently, I am working on AI-driven approaches to combinatorial problems we face as microbiologists. Beyond the lab, I enjoy photography, wasting my time learning useless things on YouTube, and, when I get the chance, channeling my inner Roger Federer.
Deepthi Suresh

Graduate Student

I graduated from UIUC in 2019 with a B.S. in Bioengineering. I joined Jensen Lab the summer of 2018 and have continued on in the lab for my M.S. in Bioengineering. I began by working on laboratory automation, integrating robotic systems into the lab's workflow. I continue that work now by studying different gel biomaterials that would allow for bacteria suspension with the use of pipetting robots. I am also researching the career outcome expectations of students in the field of AI, as part of a new engineering education project that the lab is undertaking. In my free time I enjoy hiking, playing ultimate frisbee, and watching movies!
Kevin Kim

Lab Technician

I graduated from UIC in 2019 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and part of the GPPA Medical Scholars program. I joined the Jensen Lab in early 2020 and I am performing full time research during my gap year before starting medical school next fall at the UIC College of Medicine at Peoria. I am currently working on developing the Deep Phenotyping pipeline and establishing a method to rapidly knockout genes in Streptococcus mutans. Outside of the lab, I enjoy playing tennis, spending time with friends, and giving my cat way more attention than she wants.
Benjamin David

Graduate Student

I graduated from UIUC in May 2020 with a B.S. in bioengineering. I joined the Jensen Lab in the fall of 2019 as an undergraduate, and I have continued to work in the lab as a graduate student. I am currently working on implementing a low cost RNA-seq library preparation workflow for the lab, and I am interested in using that workflow to model how oral streptococci respond to combinations of stressors. In my free time, I like to play golf, hike, and play my saxophone.
Danielle Leyva

Lab Technician

I graduated from UIUC in 2020 with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I joined the Jensen Lab in 2019 as a part of the Deep Phenotyping team. I am currently working as a full time lab technician during my gap semester before starting dental school next fall at UIC's College of Dentistry. I conduct automated experiments in systems microbiology and analyze data related to the lab's research. Outside of the lab, I enjoy training for triathlons, cooking, and hiking.


Soham Saha

Undergraduate Student

Pranith Bottu

Undergraduate Student



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