Barrick Lab :: Team

Lab Photo

Principal Investigator

Prof. Jeffrey E. Barrick 🐋

Associate Professor of Molecular Biosciences (01/2011–present)
B.S. Chemistry, Caltech
Ph.D. Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University
Postdoc, Michigan State University
Twitter: @barricklab

Prof. Barrick has a longstanding interest in fundamental and applied studies of molecular and microbial evolution. He is currently interested in intersections between those topics, synthetic biology, and entomology. He is an avid if plodding swimmer and enjoys the "classics" of literature, including a certain 19th century American novel involving a monomaniacal fascination with an albino cetacean.

Lab Manager

Jack Dwenger

Lab Manager (11/2022–present)
B.S.A Biochemistry, University of Texas at Austin

Working as the lab manager, making sure things always work in Barrick's lab. I manage the day to day of the Long Term Evolutionary Experiment. My research interests are in chemical ecology. I think some of the most profound biological and environmental questions have chemical answers.

Senior Researchers

Prof. Dennis Mishler ⚔

Assistant Professor of Practice and Research Educator for the Freshman Research Initiative (04/2013–present)
B.S. Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California at San Diego
Ph.D. Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University
Postdoc Emory University

Dr. Mishler leads the "Microbe Hackers" undergraduate research lab and co-advises the UT Austin iGEM team with Professor Barrick. The Microbe Hackers most recent research has focused on "Caffeinated Coli", including a 2019 publication in AEM, among other projects. He is super proud of all of his students, but wants to give a shout out to the 2019 iGEM team members who were recognized with a Best Measurement award this past fall. Prior to coming to UT Austin, he worked in the fields of pre-mRNA splicing and synthetic riboswitches. He is an avid gamer and can be found regularly playing games throughout Austin. He annually attends the World Boardgaming Championships, where his main games include Here I Stand and Sekigahara

Dr. Daniel Deatherage ✅

Research Associate (09/2011–present)
B.S. Biochemistry, University of Evansville
Ph.D. Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology, The Ohio State University

Dan’s exposure to Illumina sequencing data in his graduate work on ovarian cancer has morphed into an interest in using next generation sequencing data to answer questions about evolution and synthetic biology in microbes. Dan is always exploring ways of using non-standard library preparation techniques to get extra data from NGS data to do such things as lower error rates and limits of variant detection, increase coverage of variant regions, and replace laborious assays with NGS workflows. Recently published work on selecting for microbes with lower-than-natural mutation rates has encompassed many of these methods. He looks forward to publishing another such study involving tracking evolution at low frequencies soon. In his spare time Dan wonders if his listening to audiobooks counts as having “read” 100s of books per year, or reading zero books per year.

Dr. Lucio Navarro

Research Fellow (08/2023–present) Jointly advised with Nancy Moran
BS Biology, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia.
PhD Entomology, Purdue University, Indiana.

Lucio is a Molecular Entomologist with broad research interests in arthropod genomics, insect-microbial symbiosis and insect-plant molecular interactions. He currently works on developing symbiont-mediated RNAi to be used on various applications, including functional genomics and future insect pest management methods. In his free time, Lucio enjoys stargazing and playing on little projects with Raspberry Pi microcomputers.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Isaac Gifford 🐴

Postdoctoral Fellow (01/2020–present)
B.S. Microbiology, University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D. Microbiology, University of California Davis

Isaac’s primary research interests are the mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer and its role in genome evolution. He currently works with Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 while his graduate work focused on molecular genetics of Frankia nitrogen-fixing symbioses. Isaac’s personal interests include game design and 21st century sequential art.

Dr. Patrick (PJ) Lariviere 🦉

Postdoctoral Fellow (08/2021–present) Jointly advised with Nancy Moran
B.A. Biochemistry, Bowdoin College
Ph.D. Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

As a molecular microbiologist with industry experience, PJ is broadly interested in both studying and engineering biological systems involving bacteria. He is currently developing molecular tools for use in engineering symbionts of honey bees. Ultimately, PJ hopes these tools would be beneficial both in basic science research and real world applications, allowing for more robust study of bee genetics and protection against pathogens. PJ is also interested in studying the interaction between honey bees and their bacterial symbionts at a molecular scale. Outside of lab, PJ enjoys running, biking, playing/listening to music, and playing with his dog Duncan.

Graduate Students

Cameron Roots 🦊

Biochemistry Graduate Student (05/2020–present)
B.S. Biochemistry; Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Washington
Post-baccalaureate Certificate, National Institutes of Health
Twitter: @_croots

Cameron work seeks to improve our ability to predict burden and consequential behavior of small systems, such as bacteriophages or engineered plasmids. His past work was in mitochondria systems genetics and cell-machine interfacing. Ultimately, Cameron would like to work towards synthetic biology as a system to solve human-derived problems like diabetes and pollution through contributing research, policy, or outreach. He has too many hobbies, but some highlights include Dungeons and Dragons, playing guitar, and running.

Victor Li 🐖

Microbiology Graduate Student (05/2021–present)
B.S. Human Biology; University of California San Diego
Email: livictorATutexasDOTedu

Victor is interested in synthetic biology and evolution. His previous work was in phage evolution and ecology. His current work is on evolution and genetic stability in phage and bee gut symbionts. Victor is taking up cooking but still ends up ordering take out far too often.

A H M Zuberi Ashraf 🐼

Microbiology Graduate Student (05/2022–present)
B.S. Biology (Biotechnology Concentration), Minor in Chemistry, Texas A&M University-Central Texas
Email: ashraf.ahmz95ATutexasDOTedu

Zuberi is interested in evolution in symbionts and the different forces that drives it. He is currently working with the honeybee gut symbiont, Snodgrassella alvi. In the past, Zuberi worked as a MLS in a microbiology lab from Baylor Scott & White. During his undergraduate years, Zuberi studied the crop microbiome community in honeybees and how that affected honey composition. Outside of work, Zuberi loves to travel, go on hikes, and try the different types of food all over Austin

Anthony VanDieren 🦂

Microbiology Graduate Student (04/2023–present)
B.S.E.S. Entomology, University of Georgia
B.S.A. Biological Science, University of Georgia
B.S.A. Chemistry, University of Georgia
Email: avandierenATutexasDOTedu

Anthony is interested in insects and their corresponding symbionts which affect many aspects of their physiology. Currently, Anthony works with aphids and is attempting to engineer their vertically inherited symbionts. Before coming to UT, Anthony worked as an analytical chemistry lab technician for Henkel and served as a staff entomologist for the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Michigan. Anthony was also an undergraduate reasearcher working on kissing bugs and their gut symbionts. Anthony is a serious entomologist and enjoys finding, rearing, and preserving various exotic insects and arachnids when not in lab.

Undergraduate Researchers

Elizabeth Manriquez 🐌

B.S. Biochemistry (06/2023–present)
I'm researching Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1's genome evolution with transposon introduction and the potential of transposons as a stable targeted gene amplification system. I've previously studied aptamers for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. Hobbies that follow me into lab consist of listening to music and crime podcasts.

Alexa Morton 🐿

B.S. Biochemistry (06/2023-present)
My research currently involves combatting plant pathogens through synthetic biology. I aim to engineer non-pathogenic bacteria for potential use as agricultural biocontrols by making them secrete antimicrobial peptides against bacterial phytopathogens. When not hovering over a Bunsen burner or making constructs in Benchling, I enjoy hiking, reading, going to the gym, and staring at random animals on campus.

Kadena Cope 🌸

B.S. Biochemistry (01/2023-present)
I am currently researching underneath the BEE EDGE project, studying the endosymbionts native to the honeybee gut and applying synthetic biology practices to learn more about this insect. I’m interested in learning more about how things work on a molecular level, and enjoy learning about biochemistry both in the classroom and in the lab. Outside of my academics, I enjoy trying new recipes in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, and working with a local non-profit organization to provide STEM programming to young girls.
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Contributors to this topic Edit topic JeffreyBarrick, SarahBialik, KateElston, AustinMeyer, MichaelHammerling, CraigBarnhart, JackDwenger, CameronRoots, AurkoDasgupta, JuliePerreau, SeanLeonard, IsaacGifford, GabrielSuarez, ZuberiAshraf, AlvaroRodriguez, ColinBrown, DennisMishler, ElizabethManriquez, SimonDAlton, ElizabethRobinson, GeoffColburn, KadenaCope, VictorLi, DaciaLeon, LindseyWolf, JordanMonk, AnthonyVandieren, DanielDeatherage, PengGeng
Topic revision: r254 - 2023-09-22 - 10:15:56 - Main.JeffreyBarrick
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