Faculty : Faculty

Richard Myers, PhD

Lecturer of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Primary Appointment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
(305) 243-2305
Gautier Building Room #305
Research Summary: The mechanics of inheritance, DNA damage repair and its consequences, genome engineering using viral recombinases.
Publications: PubMed

Research Interests:

The Myers Laboratory for Genetic Recombination studies the mechanics of inheritance, DNA damage repair and its consequences, and genome engineering using viral recombinases. Student researchers develop skill in one or more areas depending on the project. These areas include microbial genetics, bioinformatics, protein biochemistry, and molecular biology. Recent projects have focused on
  1. Creation of an HIV genetic system using bacteriophage-mediated recombineering and bacterial artificial chromosomes;
  2. Dissection of mechanistic coupling between recombination nucleases and binding proteins to determine how homologous DNA pairing regulates DNA resection;
  3. Reconstructive molecular paleontology to uncover a universal mechanism for DNA mismatch repair;
  4. Evaluating protein-protein interactions and the co-evolution of host and viral proteins to identify the “functional unit” of recombineering;
  5. Fluorescent protein engineering by in vivo site-directed mutagenesis using viral SynExo recombinases;
  6. Recombineering in human cells using a Herpes virus recombinase. Students fully participate in lab meetings, and become trained in research design, methodology, analysis, record-keeping, ethics, presentations and authorship. Advanced students will have opportunities to present their work at research conferences and may contribute to research publications.

Research for credit information from Dr. Myers:
“I direct the BMB undergrad research program. I will not register a student for research until they have done some “pre-research research” to demonstrate to me (and their potential mentor) that they have the “right stuff”. A prospective student researcher is encouraged to visit faculty web pages, browse through faculty research interests, and see if any of the Faculty work on a problem of interest to the student. Having identified a few prospects, the student should go to PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi to look at some papers about the subject (especially those by the faculty of interest). After reading a couple papers and writing down a few questions about the reading, the student should arrange to visit a potential faculty mentor to discuss the papers and to determine if there is a good “fit” between the student’s interest and aptitude and the faculty members research interests, expertise and resources. If everything looks like it will work out and the student and mentor come up with an acceptable project, I register the student for the course and get their online Research Journal set up in Blackboard. The student keeps a weekly record of her/his progress and challenges and each student in the course is expected to read the other student entries and ask/answer questions as appropriate. I also weigh in now and then, to keep folks on track and to offer advice. Students write up a research report and present their work at a course Research Symposium once a semester.”


  • George Paff Outstanding Medical Educator Award
  • TEDx speaker (Storytelling in Science)
  • Faculty Senate Outstanding Teacher Award
  • TEDx speaker (Viral Nanobots)
  • Outstanding Mentor Award
  • Outstanding Student Mentor Award
  • Stanley Glaser Award for outstanding research productivity and achievement


  • 1989 Ph.D. University of Illinois
  • 1986 M.S. University of Illinois
  • 1983 B.S. Iowa State University


Rik Myers holds a B.S. in Microbiology from Iowa State University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois. He was post-doc at the University of Oregon and worked at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research at the University of British Columbia. In 1997, Rik joined the University of Miami’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, where his honors include the Stanley Glaser award for outstanding research productivity and achievement (1999), recognition as an “outstanding student mentor” (2002, 2005), recipient of the 2013 Faculty Senate Outstanding Teaching Award and the 2015 George Paff Outstanding Medical Educator Award. His lab studies genetic recombination in bacteria and human cells and develops innovative genetic systems for studying human diseases. Rik has trained 5 graduate students, 5 post-docs and medical fellows, and over 50 undergraduate and 30 high school research students. Rik has consulted in the biotechnology industry and is co-inventor on patents for genetic engineering technologies. His innovative classes discuss ethics and public service to balance the excitement of scientific discovery with its impact on society.