FRI Biochemistry Stream


analytical chemistry, microbiology, organic chemistry, plant biology & physiology

our research

Our Research

Bioprospecting can be summed up as the search for useful products and compounds from nature. In our stream we study plants, plastics, and plants + plastics. Researchers working on plants focus on the “omics of plant stress"–using transcriptomic, proteomic, and metagenomic approaches to discover products that can make plants more resilient to things like heat and nutrient stress.

Bioprospecting Research Projects

  • Plastics. Researchers investigate microbes from various environments (beach, soil, worm gut, etc.) to identify species capable of plastic degradation.
  • Plastics in the Rhizosphere. Researchers aim to understand how microplastics may be changing interactions between plant roots and microbes, and what kinds of plastics are found in central Texas soils.



Our Strategy

In Bioprospecting, our researchers develop basic laboratory and writing skills in a research-focused setting. Students will interact with core concepts from plant biology and physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, analytical chemistry and organic chemistry. In the spring semester, we work through foundational chemistry and biochemistry skills. In the fall, students choose independent research projects that will lead to skill-building in specific areas of molecular biology, biochemistry, and chemistry. In addition, researchers will analyze and interact with genomic/transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic data sets.

Bioprospecting Research Skills

  • cultivate and work with model research plants
  • extract nucleic acids, proteins, and metabolites from plants
  • culture/isolate microbes from environmental and plastic waste sources
  • design and test plastic degradation experiments

Our Impact

It is no secret that our world is changing rapidly due to human activities. Our stream works to provide new tools to combat or adapt to these changes, by focusing on the end goals of understanding how we might create more resilient plants, and discovering new options to degrade or remediate plastics.

We are grateful for support from the following partnerships:

Our Team

Profile image of Kasia Dinkeloo

Kasia Dinkeloo

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

Research Educator | Bioprospecting 2.0 Stream

Profile image of Andrew Ellington

Andrew Ellington

  • Professor
  • Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Regents Chair in Molecular Biology
  • Wilson M. and Kathryn Fraser Research Professorship in Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biosciences
Profile image of Jennifer Brodbelt

Jennifer Brodbelt

  • Professor
  • Department Chair
  • Chemistry

Larry R. Faulkner Departmental Chair for Excellence in Chemistry and Biochemistry
Rowland Pettit Centennial Chair in Chemistry
Department of Chemistry Excellence Endowment
William H. Wade Administrative Endowment in Chemistry and Biochemistry


Course Credit
Research Outcomes

Coming Soon!