Cara (Yijin) Zou

Cara (Yijin) Zou


UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston


My name is Cara Zou and I’m a D1 at UTSD. My hometown is Katy, Texas but I’ve also lived in China, Canada, Malaysia, and Singapore!

What is the purpose of this website? To showcase some of my projects and what I’ve learned so far. This website also acts as some of my notes for these topics and hopefully, if you are also a bioinformatics student, it can maybe help you too! But, disclaimer, while I try my best to explain topics, I’m still learning so there may be mistakes.


  • Virtual Drug Screening
  • Computer Science
  • Machine Learning
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Dentistry


  • Doctor of Dental Surgery, Anticipated Completion 2025

    UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston

  • Bachelor of Science in Computational Biology, Elements of Computing Certificate, 2021 (Highest Honors)

    University of Texas at Austin




dplyr, ggplot2

Web Programming


Data Visualization

Tableau, GraphPad Prism


Processing, Adobe Illustrator



UTSD Summer Research Program

Jun 2021 – Jul 2021 Houston
  • Digital image analysis of 3D structures for salivary tissue engineering using Imaris (microscopy image analysis software)

Application Development Internship

Mar 2021 – May 2021 Remote
  • Worked with company founders to plan, model, and create web apps using Wordpress, Ninja Forms, Airtable, and Zapier.

Undergraduate Research Mentor

College of Natural Science TIDES/FRI- Virtual Drug Screening

Jan 2020 – Dec 2020 Austin, TX

Responsibilities include:

  • Demonstrated lab techniques, ensured lab safety, and aided the development of new researchers
  • Organized and led weekly team meetings with students to discuss key concepts and provide guidance
  • TA for PyMOL workshop for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty. Facilitated discussion in break out rooms over Zoom for intermediate and advanced PyMOL skills.
  • Lead summer 2020 mentor with additional tasks including writing protocols, leading journal article reading discussions, and scheduling mentors and students

Biochemistry (BCH369) PLUS Facillitator

Peer-Led Undergraduate Studying (PLUS)

Sep 2019 – Dec 2019 Austin, TX
Collaborated in a team to lead and promote discussion in study sessions and exam review sessions

Undergraduate Researcher

College of Natural Science TIDES/FRI- Virtual Drug Screening

Jan 2019 – Dec 2019 Austin, TX

Responsibilities include:

  • Utilization of computational methods to identify potential protein inhibitors: PyMOL, Genetic Optimization for Ligand Docking (GOLD), Chimera, YASARA, XQuartz, Cyberduck
  • Applied wet lab techniques to express and purify target protein: Midi-prep, agarose gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing analysis, protein expression, SDS-PAGE, Ni-NTA affinity chromatography, ion exchange chromatography, enzyme assays, site directed mutagenesis, PCR, Snap-freezing, DSF
  • Volunteer work over summer 2019 (80+ hours) developing a protocol for autoinduction expression of Mycobacterium tuberculosis D-alanine D-alanine ligase gene on pNIC-Bsa4 plasmid.

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for Biostatistics (SDS328M)

UT Austin Department of Statistics and Data Sciences

Aug 2018 – Dec 2019 Austin, TX

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisted during lecture and lab sessions by resolving questions on statistics and R code; Proctored exams
  • Graded weekly homework and labs and provided detailed feedback to students for improvement.


TD Green Hack Challenge Winner

Web app designed to introduce and build upon skills and concepts of financial literacy for young girls (aged 10-15).

2020 and 2021 Distinguished College Scholar of UT Austin

Recognized for being in the top 4 percent of the College of Natural Science.

College of Natural Sciences 2019 Second Year Excellence Award

For academic performance during freshman and sophomore year.
See certificate