7Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero
Junior Editors
Patricia was in Grade 7 when she began her role
as Junior Editor on Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero
(2018). She had just finished competing in her
rst regional science fair, where she won a Bronze
Medal for using CRISPR to engineer yeast with a
green fluorescent protein and testing it for sur-
vival at different temperatures. Yet, her curiosity
about genetic engineering began years before, at
age 7, after seeing How To Train Your Dragon and
hearing about geneticists looking to bring back
the woolly mammoth. This sparked questions like
“What would it take to create a dragon genome?
Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero gave Patricia the
foundation to go deeper into synthetic biology
essential lab and biosafety skills, and to gain the
understanding required to begin reviewing and
analyzing research papers. For her Grade 8 sci-
ence fair project, she engineered genes to express
antifreeze proteins (from the Eel pout and Spruce
budworm) into yeast, and tested them for survival
at temperatures as low as -196 ⁰C. This won her
First Prize at the 2019 Lunenfeld Tannenbaum Re-
search Institute Science Fair, a Gold Medal at the York
Region Science & Technology Fair, and a Silver Medal
at the 2019 Canada Wide Science Fair, where she
also received the Discovery Award for Canadas top
research project by an elementary student.
In 2019, Patricia was a panelist at MIT’s Biosummit
3.0, where she also presented her research on an-
tifreeze proteins. She has twice been selected to
Team Canada at international science fairs: Expo
Sciences International 2019 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and
MAGMA Exporecerca Jove International Research Fair
2020 in Barcelona, Spain.
Patricia volunteers with Ontario’s youth-led group
STEM Kids Rock, and is working towards setting
up the rst high school iGEM team in Ontario. Her
long-term goal is to create a strain of yeast that can
achieve cryptobiosis to survive the temperature,
atmosphere, and radiation of Mars. She lives in
Markham, Ontario, with her parents and younger
brother, and many Petri dishes of yeast.
Pau Anta (2005) is a maker at the intersection
of digital and life sciences, who believes that
genetic engineering and synthetic biology can
solve some of the grand challenges of our time.
He engineered cells for the first time at age 12,
using Aminos technology and training, and is
interested in the development of practical bio-
based applications.
For years now, Pau has been doing a STEM
project every year. His most recent one being
the development of a deep-sea dropcam, a low-
cost research device to capture video footage of
biodiversity on the dark seaoor. He presented
this project at the Biosummit 3.0 conference
hosted at the MIT Media Lab in 2019.
In 2018, Pau was featured in a documentary
about biohacking, produced by Japan’s national
broadcasting company NHK.
Pau is currently using the skills and knowledge he
gained through his Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero
journey to work on a novel biomanufacturing
project involving spider silk, protein engineering
and 3D printing.
Pau is a 9
th
grader at the Washington International
School in Washington DC. Besides STEM, his
interests are manga, The Matrix, and water polo.
@PatriciaRea20 @pau_anta05
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