People

David Taylor, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

David is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences. He started as an Assistant Professor at UT Austin in September 2016. He earned his Ph.D. at Yale University and performed postdoctoral training at UC Berkeley with Eva Nogales and Jennifer Doudna. He has a passion for RNPs. He loves the Warriors, Syracuse basketball, teaching, and ‘starting’ projects that other lab members actually finish.

Helen Chen, Ph.D.

Research Associate and Lab Manager

Helen joined the lab as Research Associate/Lab manager in October 2016.  She got her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Texas A&M University with Dr. James Sacchettini.  She enjoys gardening and cooking in addition to Science.  

Jack Bravo, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Researcher

Jack joined the group as a postdoctoral researcher in early 2020, having completed his Ph.D. at the University of Leeds, UK in 2019. During his Ph.D., he used various structural and biophysical approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms of RNA chaperone proteins involved in virus assembly. Jack is particularly interested in using cryo-EM to understand the inner workings of various biomacromolecular machines, with a particular focus on bacterial nucleoprotein complexes. Learn more…  

Isabel Strohkendl, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Researcher

Isabel joined the group in the summer of 2021 after completing her PhD at UT. Her dissertation work focused on class 2 CRISPR effectors, using kinetics-based assays and a biophysical approach to characterize the DNA targeting specificity of these RNA-guided nucleases. Isabel is interested in learning cryo-EM to uncover how CRISPR effectors assemble with their guide RNAs and how these contacts influence DNA targeting behavior. When not in lab, Isabel enjoys fun under the sun. 

Caitie McCafferty, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Researcher (Joint with Professor Edward Marcotte)

Caitie was a NSF GRFP fellow and graduate student in both the Taylor and Marcotte Labs, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher. Her research interests include interdisciplinary approaches combining mathematics, computer science, and physics to answer biological questions. Currently, she focuses on developing new tools that employ various techniques ranging from shape reduction to citizen science in an effort to reconstruct macromolecular complexes. Outside of lab Caitie is passionate about science communication and organizes the Molecular Biosciences BioTACOS Lecture series in addition to hosting the KVRX (91.7FM) They Blinded Me With Science radio show. Caitie’s other hobbies include hanging out with her dog, painting, and almost any outdoor activity that isn’t disc golf.

Jamie Yelland

Graduate Student (Joint with Professor Arlen Johnson)

Jamie is a graduate student in the ICMB Biochemistry program, jointly advised by David Taylor and Arlen Johnson. He studies the structures of intermediates of ribosome synthesis, with a particular interest in learning more about enzymes that are critical for proper formation of ribosomal subunits. Jamie earned a B.A. in Biochemistry from Oberlin College in 2013. He is an avid long distance runner and enjoys an occasional bout of fly fishing.

Roisin O’Brien

Graduate Student

Roisin is a graduate student in David Taylor’s lab, joining the UT Biochemistry Ph.D. program in the fall of 2017. In the Taylor lab, she uses cryo-EM to study the structure and function of large CRISPR-Cas complexes. Before coming to UT, she graduated with a Biochemistry degree from the University of San Diego, while completeing research and working at a biotech company. In her free time, she likes to run around Austin’s beautiful Lady Bird Lake and do yoga. 

Grace Hibshman

Graduate Student

Grace joined the Taylor lab as a graduate student in June 2021. She completed her B.A. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology with a certificate in Neuroscience at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2020. There she studied the higher order structures of telomeres using atomic force microscopy, as well as TERT activation in metastatic cancers in the laboratory of Thomas R. Cech. Now, her research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of novel CRISPR-Cas complexes through structural and biophysical methods. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the green spaces and live music Austin has to offer. 

Jacquelyn Wright

Graduate Student (Joint with Professor Daniel Dickinson)

Jacquelyn is a Biochemistry graduate student who joined the Taylor and Dickinson labs in the summer of 2021. Before UT, she earned a B.S. in Chemistry on the Biochemistry track with a second major in Spanish and Hispanic Studies at Creighton University in 2020. While working there in Dr. Lynne Dieckman’s lab, Jacquelyn developed a TIRF microscopy system to investigate an interaction of two proteins that functions in gene silencing. Her work at UT focuses on using fluorescent microscopy methods to better understand the biophysics and mechanisms of CRISPR-Cas systems. Outside of the lab, Jacquelyn loves exploring food around Austin and spending time outdoors with friends and her dog.

Matt Hooper

Graduate Student

Matt joined the Taylor Lab as a graduate student in January 2022. He earned a B.S. in Neuroscience with a certificate in Business from The University of Texas at Austin in 2019. After graduating, Matt spent 2 years working as a Research & Development scientist at the biotechnology company, PerkinElmer, before returning to UT. Currently, he is interested in understanding the structural and functional mechanisms of naturally occurring and engineered CRISPR-Cas systems. Outside of lab, Matt enjoys writing music, playing video games, and all forms of true crime media. 

Delisa Ramos

Research Technician

I graduated from UT with a B.S. in Biology and certificate in Applied Statistical Modeling. I joined the Taylor lab in 2019 and currently work on resolving the structures of anti-crispr proteins targeting Type I-C crispr-cas complexes. Outside of lab, you can find me cycling around Austin’s hill country, doing yoga, or trying out new recipes.

Shashwat Limbasia

Undergraduate Researcher

Shashwat joined the Taylor Lab as an undergraduate research technician in the Fall of 2021. He graduated from TAMS in Spring 2021 and is now a Neuroscience major at UT. He is working on characterizing the mechanisms and structures of novel CRISPR-Cas complexes for improved targeting. In his free time, he likes to go bouldering and explore Austin with his friends.

Catherine Moy

Undergraduate Researcher

Catherine joined the Taylor Lab in April 2022 right before graduating from UT with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Spanish. Currently, she is studying mutations in Cas12a to improve its fidelity and efficiency. When she’s not in the lab, she enjoys running around the Hike and Bike trail, sampling new Austin eats, and trying to convince her dogs to fetch frisbees. She unfortunately had David for BCH370, but she decided to join anyway (added by DT).

Zachary Ryan Taylor

Vice-President for Emotional Support

Zach loves long walks, chasing squirrels, and all members of the Taylor lab. He does not like other dogs. He provides counseling services in his spare time.

Lab Alumni


Graduate Students

Matthew Schepers (2018-2020; M.S.)

Eric Verbeke (2017-2021; Ph. D.)

Evan Schwartz (2017-2022; Ph. D).

Currently at Beckman Coulter

Currently Postdoctoral Researcher at Princeton University

Currently support scientist at UT Austin Sauer Structural Biology Laborotory

Postdoctoral Fellows

Shanzhong Gong (2016-2019)

Yi Zhou (2017-2018)

Mu-Sen Liu (2017-2021)

Zhongwu Zhou (2019-2021)

Currently Scientist at Tango Therapeutics

Currently Cryo-EM Lead, Regeneron

Currently Discovery Lead at Rheos

Currently CryoEM Facility at UMass Medical School

Undergraduate Students

Anna Cruz (2017-2019; B.S.)

Kyungseok Jung (2017-2021; B.S.)

Currently Technician at Microconsult, Inc.

Currently at Yale School of Medicine


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