People

David Taylor, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

David is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences. He moved to 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.

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.  

Zhongwu Zhou, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Researcher

Zhongwu Joined the Taylor lab in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at UT Austin as a Post-doctoral researcher in November 2019. He earned his Ph.D. at Purdue University, and he previously performed post-doctoral training at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center with Xiaodong Cheng. He loves to operate electron microscopes.

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 ribonucleoprotein complexes. 

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

Graduate Student (Joint with Professor Edward Marcotte)

Caitie is a NSF GRFP fellow and graduate student in both the Taylor and Marcotte Labs. 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.

Eric Verbeke

Graduate Student (Joint with Professor Marcotte)

Eric is a joint Ph.D. student in the labs of David Taylor and Edward Marcotte. He has a B.S. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His research focuses on developing methods for structural studies of macromolecular machines from cell lysates using single particle cryo-EM.

Evan Schwartz

Graduate Student

Evan spent his undergraduate years at the university of Michigan, where he received a degree in biochemistry. He spent time in two interdisciplinary labs, studying the chemistry of arctic snowpack and the kinetics of flavin enzymes. He then joined the Taylor lab in the spring of 2017 and was one of the first two graduate students to join the lab. He now works on solving structures of Class I CRISPR complexes through cryo-EM. 

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. 

Candice Nichols

Research Technician

Candice joined the Taylor lab as an undergraduate student in November 2018. She earned her bachelor degree in Biochemistry at UT Austin in 2019. Upon graduation, she transitioned into a full time position of research associate at the Taylor lab. She is working on developing a computational tool that sort protein subunits into novel EM maps.

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.

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.)

Currently at Beckman Coulter

Postdoctoral Fellows

Shanzhong Gong (2016-2019)

Yi Zhou (2017-2018)

Mu-Sen Liu (2017-2021)

Currently Scientist at Tango Therapeutics

Currently Cryo-EM Lead, Regeneron

Currently Discovery Lead at Rheos

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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