Researcher biography

Dr Amin Esmail is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at IMB, UQ. He is broadly interested in genomics research; applying next-gen sequencing (NGS) technologies and bioinformatics to understand biological systems at molecular levels. Amin completed his PhD in November 2016 at the coral genomics group (David Miller's lab) at James Cook University. During his PhD studies, he was interested in understanding the molecular cross-talk between corals and micro-algae at the transcriptional level. He used RNA-Seq to study establishment of coral-algal symbioses (for the first time) and discovered the coral transcriptomic sigantures during interaction with microalgae with different symbiotic nature (mutualistic/parasitic). This work was a game-changer in the coral-algal symbiosis field as it showed for the first time the feasibility of large-scale transcriptome analyses to study this system compared to previous approaches (microarrays). Results from his PhD thesis have been published in respected journals in Microbial Ecology and Microbiology such as: Nature's ISME journal and 2x Molecular Ecology.

Following his PhD, Amin received a 3-year OCE postdoctoral fellowship from CSIRO to work in the area of Atlantic salmon genomics. During his fellowship, he worked with Dr James Kijas to understand the transcriptomic and epigenomic basis of onset of sexual maturation in Atlantic Salmon. He deployed multiomics (RNA-seq, WGBS and ATAC-seq) to profile genome-wide changes in transcription, CpG methylation and chromatin accessibility before constructing gene regulatory networks driving the transition into sexual maturation. This multiomics project represents the first and largest dataset for any aquaculture species and provides a framework for analysing and integrating transcriptomic and epigenomic data. After very productive period at CSIRO, Amin held a reseach fellow position at both GEOMAR and Kiel University in Germnay, before he joined the Nefzger group at IMB in 2021.

Amin received several awards such as the prestigious "Virginia Chadwick Award” in 2017 from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Australia and the "Research Director Award" in 2018 from CSIRO, Australia (shared with Dr Marina Naval-Sanchez). Amin has authored 10 publications as a first-author including original articles, conference papers and a book chapter, among other co-authored publications. He has been a reviewer for a number of peer-reviewed conferences and journals such as Nature Climate Change, PNAS, BMC genomics and mSystems.

His current research at IMB is focused on using multi-omics (single-cell and bulk RNA-seq and ATAC-seq) and sptatial transcriptomics to understand the molecular underpinnings of reprogramming processes and cellular aging.