FRI Biochemistry Stream


biochemistry, molecular biology

our research

Our Research

In the Biobricks stream, we investigate the activity of proteins involved in various pathways in different organisms utilizing biochemical and molecular biology laboratory techniques, such as molecular cloning and protein expression.

Biobricks Research Projects

  • CDX2 (Caudal Type Homeobox 2). Identification the active site on the CDX2 homeodomain responsible for ATM inhibition that is separate from the region responsible for its transcription activity.
  • TRPM2 (Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin 2). Examination of the molecular function of TRPM2 on regulating the cellular metabolism in the central nervous system and investigate the correlation between aberrant TRPM2 activity and neurological disorders.
  • RNA-editing CRISPR. Examination of the biochemical activity of rfxCas13d and rspCas13d in RNA processing.
  • Anti-CRISPR. Examination of the inhibitory effect of Type II Anti-CRISPR proteins on Cas9 or Cas13d enzymes in vitro.
  • Polyketide Synthase (PKS). Generation of various pools of recombinant PKSs and screen for polyketides that display potential antibacterial, anticancer, or antifungal properties.
  • University of Texas Wine Initiative (UTWI): Examination of the molecular impact of Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) in Texas Grapevine leaves on activating pathways to support resistance against extreme heat and sunlight.



Our Strategy

Our lab is designed to guide undergraduate students in developing molecular and biochemical laboratory skills, critical thinking, verbal and written communication in science, and application of general principles to a research setting to a level of knowledge and skills that will allow them to conduct independent research. We provide students with the opportunity to build social connections not only with the current members in the stream but also with alumni who are pursuing a career in various fields with a STEM degree. These competencies will equip students with the intellectual ability, determination, and drive to become valued members of the STEM disciplines.

Biobricks Research Techniques

  • DNA Cloning
  • E. coli transformation
  • Recombinant protein expression
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (EMSA)
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE)
  • Western Blot Analysis
  • Agarose gel electrophoresis
  • Recombinant protein purification
  • Experimental design for DNA cloning

Our Impact

Students get hands-on experience in a state of the art, fully equipped laboratory. Our researchers further apply the lab techniques in Biobricks to investigate the following scientific goals:

  • identification of the active site on the human homeobox transcription factor CDX2 that is responsible for regulating the kinase activity of ATM in response to DNA Double-strand break (DSB) damage
  • determination of the phosphorylation effect of eIF-iso4G1, eIF-iso4G2, and eIF-iso4F by Ca2+ Dependent Kinase has an effect on in vitro activity and in vivo function
  • cloning CDHR3 mutants to increase solubility of the protein in E. coli
  • examination of the RNA binding activity of the Arabidopsis KH1 and KH2 proteins in vitro
  • expression and purification of CRISPR proteins to further examine biochemical activities

Our Team

Profile image of Soo Hyun Yang

Soo Hyun Yang

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

Research Educator | Biobricks Stream

Telephone Number:512-471-0472
Building: NHB
Room Number:1.412B
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Profile image of Karen S. Browning

Karen S. Browning

  • Professor
  • Molecular Biosciences


Course Credit
Research Outcomes