Environmental Microbial Genomics, Extremophiles and Global Ecosystem Health

The Cavicchioli group has a range of programs that examine microbial adaptation at the level of cellular responses, evolution and the impact of microorganisms on whole environmental ecosystems.

Our interests cover microorganisms from Antarctica, the Southern Ocean, Heard Island and acid mine drainage sites in the Hunter Valley, to mention a few. In addition to addressing fundamental aspects of biology, we perform commercially orientated research, such as that addressing the use of enzymes from extremophiles to find improved methods of cleaning water recycling membrane filters. Student projects can be based in genomics/proteomics (including metagenomics/metaproteomics), microbial ecology, microbial physiology, microbial genetics, microbial evolution, bioinformatics, biochemistry/biophysics of proteins, enzymology; in essence, whatever is required to address a large number of biological questions of interest.

Projects provide scope for wet-lab, bioinformatics and field-based projects involving interactions with on-going Honours and PhD students, Postdoctoral Research Fellows, visiting scientists, and local and overseas collaborators, and using a host of whizz-bang research equipment.

Published papers that speak to some of the research themes:

  • Cavicchioli R, 2006, 'Cold adapted archaea', Nature Reviews Microbiology, 4: 331-343.
  • Allen M, Lauro FM, Williams TJ, Burg D, Siddiqui KS, De Francisci D, Chong KWY, Pilak O, Chew HH, De Maere MZ, Ting L, Katrib M, Ng C, Sowers KR, Galperin MY, Anderson IJ, Ivanova N, Dalin E, Martinez M, Lapidus A, Hauser L, Land M, Thomas T and Cavicchioli R, 2009, 'The genome sequence of the psychrophilic archaeon, Methanococcoides burtonii: the role of genome evolution in cold-adaptation' International Society of Microbial Ecology Journal, 3: 1012-1035 (feature article).
  • Lauro FM, McDougald D, Thomas T, Williams TJ, Egan S, Rice S, DeMaere MZ, Ting L, Ertan H, Johnson J, Ferriera S, Lapidus A, Anderson I, Kyrpides N, Munk AC, Detter C, Brown MV, Robb FT, Kjelleberg S and Cavicchioli R, 2009, 'The genomic basis of trophic strategy in marine bacteria', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 106: 15527–15533. (Cover story and commentary: Church MJ, 'The trophic tapestry of the sea', 15519-15520.)
  • Ng C, DeMaere MZ, Williams TJ, Lauro FM, Raftery M, Gibson J, Andrews-Pfannkoch C, Lewis M, Hoffman JM, Thomas T and Cavicchioli R, 2010, 'Metaproteogenomic analysis of a dominant green sulfur bacterium from Ace Lake, Antarctica', International Society of Microbial Ecology Journal, 4: 1002-1019 (feature article).

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