Get to Know Us

Meet the team

Patrick Buerger, PhD (he/him)

Principal Investigator

Patrick leads the Marine Omics and Technology Lab at Applied BioSciences, Macquarie University. He is a molecular and computational ecologist with a research focus on microbial genomics, biotechnology and bioinformatics. 

Before coming to Macquarie University, Patrick worked as a postdoctoral fellow, researching the genomics of heat-evolved microalgae at CSIRO and the University of Melbourne. He completed his PhD at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and James Cook University in Townsville with a focus on the genetics of viruses associated with coral diseases.

Patrick is also part of the team "Enhanced Corals and Treatments" from the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP) and maintains a strong connection to AIMS. 


Amara Jabeen, PhD (she/her)

Research Fellow

Amara is a bioinformatician with expertise in protein structural bioinformatics and cheminformatics. 

Her current research investigates the genomics of hybrid corals and their symbiotic microalgae. 

Previously, she worked on functional annotation of human olfactory receptors through structural bioinformatics and machine learning methods. 


Afrin Priya Talukder (she/her)

PhD candidate

Afrin has a passion for exploring the intersection of biotechnology and marine science. Her research interests include genetic engineering, synthetic biology, microbial genomics, and environmental microbiology. Currently, Afrin is working on a PhD using genetic engineering to explore the gene functionalities in coral-associated microalgae. 

Afrin holds a Master of Science in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology from the University of Rajshahi (Bangladesh), and has rich background in real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR), bacterial whole-genome sequencing, and specialised genotyping techniques. 


Tianxing Zhou (he/him)

Master student

Tianxing is completing a Master student in Bioinformatics at Melbourne University, and working on deciphering splicing variants in symbiotic microalgae (Symbiodiniaceae). He uses re-annotations pipelines such as funannotate and BRAKER3 to uncover mechanisms of enhanced thermal tolerance.

Tianxing has an interdisciplinary background in Biotechnology and Forest Science, and is keen to pursue a bioinformatics career through a PhD.


Julian Brown (they/them)

Master student

Julian completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in molecular bioscience, at the University of Tasmania in 2022 and is currently enrolled in a Master of Science (Bioinformatics) at the University of Melbourne. 

Julian's research project is focused on the genomics of Symbiodiniaceae using PacBio and Hi-C data. Because they love marine science, the goal is to build a career in the marine field, using bioinformatics.


Jasmeen Kaur (she/her)

Master student

Jasmeen is a Bioinformatics Master's student at the University of Melbourne, interested in microbiome analysis, GIS mapping and molecular genetics. Currently, Jasmeen is working on the genomics of hybrid corals using PacBio long-reads and Hi-C data. 

Previously, Jasmeen has analysed data from different next-generation sequencing platforms, including NovaSeq 6000, DNBSEQ-G50RS, and DNBSEQ-G400RS, and has researched fitness dynamics and viral transmission among aphids, moths, and host plants in an Australian Grains Pest Innovation Program (AGPIP) project. 


Xinhui Yu (she/her)

Master student

Xinhui (Alex) is a Master of Science student in Bioinformatics at the University of Melbourne with a bachelor's degree in Ecology from Shandong University.

Currently,  Xinhui is involved in a research project focused on genomics of Symbiodiniaceae using Nanopore long reads. The aim is to provide a detailed genomic overview of SCF049, contributing to our understanding of its potential for coral reef restoration. This project aligns with her career goal of applying bioinformatics tools to marine science and conservation.




John Boikov
Master student
(2020 - 20202)

John completed his Master degree on the metagenomics of heat - evolved Symbiodiniaceae.

Wenyi Pan
Master student
(2022 - 2023)

Wenyi studied splicing variants in heat-evolved microalgae using DEXseq and rMATS.

Pallavi Khodlan
Master student
(2023 - 2024)

Pallavi completed her Master degree on the hybridisation of Symbiodiniaceae strains with protoplast fusion.