ARI Biochemistry Stream


biotechnology, bioengineering, genetics, synthetic biology

our research

Our Research

This iGEM ARI stream focuses on developing novel Synthetic Biology research projects for upperclassmen every year. Uniquely, this stream is tied tightly to the iGEM competition timeline, and our projects develop with toward that goal.

Starting in January, members of our research group begin to learn lab skills while also ideating a novel research projects -- thus, every year our research focus changes!

Depending on funding, we aim to send a subset of our students to an international conference to present their stream work.

iGEM Stream Timeline

  • Spring Semester. Learn laboratory skills while proposing new research ideas.  Progress a collaborative research project.
  • Fall Semester. Continue performing wet-laboratory or computational experiments and develop scientific communication.


2022 iGEM Team

Our Strategy

Students will gain wet-laboratory experience in molecular biology and genetics while also reading literature, learn how to design and engineer DNA sequences in silico, and develop a project for the year. 

research impact

Our Impact

Our research regularly addresses unique synthetic biology challenges and targets problems that impact our society at large, but particularly Austin.  As we conduct each novel project, our students develop new skillsets with an eye towards developing tools that may be more broadly used within the Synthetic Biology community.

Past iGEM Projects

  • Developing a bacterial chassis capable of detecting environmental DNA to help combat White Nose Syndrome (bats are cool!)
  • Developing a bacterial biosensor capable of accurately detecting the concentration of caffeine in a beverage.

Learn More

Our Team

Profile image of Dennis Mishler

Dennis Mishler

  • Assistant Professor of Practice
  • Freshman Research Initiative
  • College of Natural Sciences

Dr. Mishler leads the Microbe Hackers undergraduate research stream within the FRI program. He also co-organizes and co-advises the UT Austin iGEM team with Professor Barrick. This commitment involves a spring and fall course on synthetic biology research as well as a summer research experience.

Telephone Number:5124710486
Building: NHB
Room Number:1.412C
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Profile image of Jeffrey E. Barrick

Jeffrey E. Barrick

  • Associate Professor
  • Molecular Biosciences


Course Credit
Research Outcomes

UT Austin iGEM Team Accolades

  • 2019 Measurement Award, Finalist for Best Foundational Advance Project.  This project successfully characterized the metabolic burden of hundreds of DNA sequences.
  • 2022 Best Foundational Advance Project, Finalist for Best Presentation, Finalist for Best Part Collection, Top10 overall finish.  This project focused on developing the tools and knowledge to more easily engineer ADP1 to be an environmental DNA detector.  We successfully characterized the detection of antibiotic resistance gene DNA and designed and tested a prototype circuit capable of detecting the DNA of p. destructans, the fungus that causes White Nose Syndrome in bats.