The lab was established at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) in 2015 and works on the crux of biosecurity, genomics and evolutionary biology, creating novel capability to address real world problems.
Alexie heads the lab which basically means he spends 50% of his time on administrivia. Otherwise, Alexie is a genome bioinformatician working on ecological and economically important species, such as the Heliconius butterflies, the megapest Heliothine moths, invasive Tephritid fruit flies, C4 grasses, eucalyptus trees and marine species such as oysters and anemones.
Before becoming faculty at the HIE (Lecturer, the Australian equivalent to the American Assistant Professor), Alexie was a post-doctoral fellow at the CSIRO Entomology/Ecosystem Sciences/Land & Water (the department rebranded every two years), a research associate at the University of Exeter in Cornwall, UK and completed his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany.
Alexie’s work aims to blend the frontiers of molecular biology and computer science to secure Australia’s agricultural and natural ecosystems in the face of a changing climate. His main research interest is developing bioinformatics capability to address evolutionary questions such as how organisms adapt to a changing or novel environment. His main teaching activities focus on empowering researchers to analyse their own data and helping post-docs develop the soft skills needed for furthering their academic or industrial careers.
A post-doctoral member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis, Alex joined the HIE July 2015 and is working with us and Oula Ghannoum on dissecting the mechanism for C4 & C3 photosynthesis in model species and Australian native grasses. Alex completed his PhD at the University of Southampton on the transgenerational effects of elevated CO2 on plants.
Kay Jutamat Anantanawat
Joining us in July 2015 as a visiting post-doctoral fellow for 2 years, Kay is a molecular biologist in the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences in Murdoch University based at SARDI and now the HIE. She is spearheading the effort of developing new transcriptomic methods and using them to understand how environmentally stressed insects trigger and inhibit apoptosis.
Kay completed her PhD through the University of Adelaide working on transgenerational immune memory in insects in response to pesticide. Kay’s PhD work included identifying genes using RNASeq that might be involved in this immune response pathway. Subsequently, she worked at Adelaide in the area of entomovectoring (using insects to deliver biological control in vineyards) and at SARDI developing assays for the detection of fungal plant pathogens.
Kaitao joined us in June 2015 after completing his PhD at the University of Queensland on crop genomics and bioinformatics. He is driving our research project on pangenomes (i.e. “is the reference genome really a reference?”) and discovering variation within honey bee ecotypes. He is also the lead developer of the TaxaCloud system, an elastic cloud computing system for taxonomic analytics of metagenomic amplicon data with QIIME (Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology), and supporting our metagenomics collaborators in the HIE.
Brendan joined HIE in 2016 as a graduate PhD student supervised by A/Prof Jeff Powell and Alexie. He is currently developing his evolutionary biology thesis on the exciting topic of the interaction between beneficial and pathogenic fungi that can co-exist in plant roots.
Emily is a second year undergraduate student of biological/biomedical sciences at WSU. She is working with us as an undergraduate scholar on understanding how Culex pipiens f molestus mosquitoes can lay eggs without requiring the blood meal that most other mosquitoes need. She is learning about RNA biology while undertaking her own mosquito transcriptome project.
Daniel is currently completing his computer science WSU undergraduate degree. He worked with us as a second year undergraduate research project student and summer scholar learning about bioinformatics and developing new techniques with SVMs and kmer databases. Working with Paul Greenfield (CSIRO) and Alexie, his work was instrumental in facilitating on jump-starting a research project on the environmental degradation of RNAi biopesticides.
Interested in joining or working with us?
Contact the Stressed Fruit Fly Lab: