Our group uses advanced bioinformatic and database approaches to study genome evolution of microbes, and to explore and develop highly scalable phylogenomic approaches. A core theme is the genome sequencing of Symbiodinium, a specialised group of dinoflagellate algae that grow symbiotically with diverse coral reef animals including corals and sponges. These algae are critical primary producers in the oceans, and contribute to the survival of coral reefs. We are interested in the genome evolution of these algae and their closely related polar species, specifically related to their evolutionary transition from free-living to symbiotic lifestyles, and its functional implications for the coral host and health of the coral reefs in light of global climate change. Our research routinely involves de novo assembly and analysis of next-generation sequencing data, and high performance-computing.

Traineeships, honours and PhD projects include

  • Discovery of gene functions critical to coral-algae symbiosis
  • Microbial genome evolution and environmental adaptation
  • De novo genomics of non-model organisms
  • Bioinformatics and development of scalable phylogenomic approaches

Project members

Project Supervisor

Dr Cheong Xin Chan

Senior Research Officer
Institute for Molecular Bioscience