Who we are


Dr Cheong Xin Chan (CX)

PhD (Genomics & Computational Biology), UQ
Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience, Faculty of Science, UQ
Research Group Leader, Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, UQ
Affiliate Research Fellow, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, UQ
c.chan1 [at] uq.edu.au
P +61-7-33462617
F +61-7-33462101

I have a broad interest in evolutionary genomics, particularly of microbial eukaryotes. A focus of my current research is on the evolutionary transition of dinoflagellates from free-living to symbionts critical to coral reefs. I am interested in developing scalable, alignment-free phylogenomic approaches, and the use of cutting-edge genomic technologies to quickly infer evolutionary histories of thousands of microbial genomes. At UQ I also teach in a number of courses in genomics and bioinformatics. For more information, see my research profile and my teaching profile.

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Dr Katherine Dougan

E: k.dougan [at] uq.edu.au

I pursued my PhD under the supervision of Dr Rodriguez-Lanetty at Florida International University in Miami, Florida, where I researched the diversity and transcriptional activity of insulin-like peptides in cnidarians, especially corals. My PhD research also focused on the genomic sequencing and analysis of the thermotolerant coral symbiont Durusdinium trenchii, exploring the link between extensive genome duplication and the acquisition of thermotolerance in this ecologically important species. I joined Team CX in 2020 where I am investigating genomic signatures of adaptive selection in coral symbionts from the family Symbiodiniaceae, and continuing my research on the genomic evolution and acquisition of thermotolerance in coral symbionts.

PhD students

Sarah Shah

MSc (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Dalhousie University, Canada
PhD candidate, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
E: sarah.shah [at] uqconnect.edu.au

I am interested in the evolutionary transition of free-living organisms into parasitic or symbiotic lifestyles in various microbiomes such as the animal gut or coral reefs. I am currently investigating the genomes of Symbiodiniaceae isolated from the Great Barrier Reef to identify what led them to colonize sea animals, and what drives them to leave their hosts.

Yibi Chen

Master of Agricultural Extension (Horticulture), Yunnan University, China
PhD candidate, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
E: yibi.chen [at] uq.net.au

Undergraduate/Masters research students

Michael Ciccotosto-Camp

Summer research undergraduate, BMath+BInfTech student
E: m.ciccotostocamp [at] uq.net.au

Michael Fortuin

Summer research undergraduate, BBiomedSc student
E: michael.fortuin [at] uq.net.au

Xiaoyu Hou

Summer researcher, MBioinf student
E: xiaoyu.hou [at] uq.net.au


Raúl A. González-Pech, Ph.D. (2020)

Postdoctoral Associate, University of South Florida
E: raulgonzalez [at] usf.edu


My major research interest is the evolution of coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis. I currently compare genomes of different isolates within the genus Symbiodinium (clade A) looking for signatures of the evolutionary transition from a free-living to a symbiotic lifestyle. I am also interested in the application of large-scale analysis approaches (such as the ‘-omics’) to get a big picture of the processes driving evolution of symbiosis.

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Timothy G. Stephens, PhD (2019)

Postdoctoral Associate, Rutgers University
E: ts942 [at] sebs.rutgers.edu


Pierre Youssef

Master of Bioinformatics student, Institute for Molecular Bioscience
E: p.youssef [at] uq.net.au

Maika Matsumoto

Master of Bioinformatics student, Institute for Molecular Bioscience
E: m.matsumoto [at] uq.net.au

Clarisse Louvard

PhD candidate, School of Biological Sciences
E: clarisse.louvard [at] uqconnect.edu.au