Research in the Hughes lab focuses on the development of protein and small molecule-based reagents for the control and monitoring of biochemical pathways. One project in their lab focuses on the development light-activated biosensors for the detection of oxidative stress (a precursor/predictor of numerous degenerative diseases) in cells. A second project is aimed at developing environmentally sensitive protein-based reagents that initiate biochemical pathways ending in cell death. Finally, they are developing library-based methods for the production of improved protein chimera via a linker optimization strategy. Other areas of interest include methods for the design and selection of improved biocatalysts.