Genetics, Genomics, and Health

Our Research

We utilise genetic and genomic approaches in a diverse range of organisms, from the smallest microbe through to humans, to answer key questions in environmental, reproductive, developmental, and disease genetics.

By investigating how gene products function, we are able to answer how an individual cell might respond to an environmental cue, or how an entire population may adapt and evolve in response to environmental change. Using genomics approaches we seek to understand how genes interact with the environment to control natural variation, mating behaviour and success, and adaptation. Finally, we use these approaches to identify the genetic causes and contributions to infectious and inherited disease, and develop novel therapies and strategies to treat them.

Theme Leaders

Theme Leader: A/Professor Robert Bryson-Richardson

Deputy Theme Leader: Dr Jeremy Barr

Researchers

The following researchers study genetics, genomics, and health.

  • A/Professor Sureshkumar Balasubramanian: Suresh is interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying phenotypic variation that shapes evolution in plants.
  • Dr Jeremy Barr: Jeremy studies bacteriophage and their interactions with the human body. His focus is on the mucosal surface and the antimicrobial effect that bacteriophage exert at these critical barriers.
  • Professor John Bowman: John researches the genetic and molecular basis of pattern formation in plant development and the evolution of land plant morphology.
  • A/Professor Rob Bryson-Richardson: Robert researches the genetic causes, disease mechanisms, and potential therapies for a range of neuromuscular diseases using the zebrafish as an in vivo model system
  • Dr Richard Burke: Richard is using the experimental advantages of the vinegar fly Drosophila to investigate the genetic regulation of ion transport and metabolism in animal development and disease.
  • Professor Steven Chown: Steven is engaged in biogeographic and macroecological studies, macrophysiology, spatial ecology, and invasion biology. Translation of science into policy is a major focus.
  • Dr Tim Connallon: Tim is interested in the conceptual links between theory and data in evolutionary biology. Topics of interest include sexual dimorphism, genome evolution, and genetic constraints to adaptation.
  • A/Professor Damian Dowling: Damian's research focuses on the dynamics of life-history evolution. A core goal is to understand the evolutionary processes that shape our energy producing genes.
  • Dr Chris Greening: Chris' research explores the metabolic processes that enable environmental and pathogenic bacteria to persist in deprived environments and adapt to ecosystem changes.
  • Dr Matt Hall: Matt's research focuses on the mechanisms by which nutrition shapes lifelong health and ageing using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as model for understanding human health.
  • Dr Kay Hodgins: Kay researches plant evolution in human altered environments, plant adaptation to climate change, crop evolution and the evolution of plant sexual systems.
  • Dr Travis Johnson: Travis' research explores the genetic and molecular control of cell communication during development using the fruit fly as a model.
  • Dr Mike McDonald: Mike and his research group evolve populations of microbes in a variety of laboratory environments, with the goal to understand how organisms adapt to better fit their environment.
  • Dr Matt McGee: Matt’s research utilizes experimental studies of behaviour in conjunction with modern genomic techniques to understand the phenotypic and genotypic dynamics of ecological speciation, evolutionary innovation, and convergent evolution in fish communities.
  • Dr Christen Mirth: Christen's research explores the regulation and evolution of developmental plasticity,focussing on how environmental conditions alter body size and shape, life history traits, and patterns of foraging behaviour.
  • Professor Moira O’Bryan: Moira's research studies sperm development and function and the causes of human male infertility.
  • Dr Matt Piper: Matt's research focuses on the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the molecular mechanisms that mediate these effects, with the goal of understanding these processes in humans.
  • A/Professor Carla Sgro: Carla researches the genetic basis of adaptation to environmental change. How evolutionary processes can be incorporated into biodiversity conservation is a focus.
  • A/Professor Coral Warr: Coral uses the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to investigate cellular and developmental genetics, with a focus on how cells respond to signals from their environment.
  • Professor Craig White: Craig is an evolutionary physiologist interested in describing and understanding the causes and consequences of physiological variation in animals.

Damaged muscle fibres in a zebrafish myofibrillar myopathy model. Image: Dr Avnika Ruparelia (Bryson-Richardson Lab)

Bacteriophage. Image: Dr Jeremy Barr.

Microfluidics. Image: Dr Jeremy Barr.

Microfluidics. Image: Dr Jeremy Barr.

Profiling. Image: Dr Mike McDonald.

Electron micrograph of developing spermatids in the mouse testis. Image: Jo Merriner (O'Bryan Lab) and Martin Bergmann.

Larval Brain Neurons. Image: Dr Travis Johnson.