The Coral Symbiomics Lab
Red Sea Research Center
Division of Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering


Yi Jin Liew

Postdoctoral Fellows


Once upon a time
Maths was my true love, but Bio
was way much cooler.

Three years of essays
made me ponder whether code
was easy to write.

Why not both? I thought
Four years I spent: in the lab
and StackOverflow.

somehow I got employed to
parse data with code!

Research Interests

My primary interest is the role of epigenetics in helping corals adapt to the rapidly changing environment, especially pCO2 stress. My challenge is to integrate methylation and expression data in explaining the phenotypic responses of my coral of interest to its acidic surroundings--it's impressive how it manages to calcify despite being placed in a tank with acidities high enough to erode unprotected calcium carbonate skeletons!

Due to my training, my expertise lies somewhere in the intersection between molecular biology and bioinformatics (it's also a convenient way to impress people on either side with my other side, but perhaps being jack of all trades means that I'm master of none), I have found myself interested in finding better ways to analyse the immense amounts of data generated by my lab. Knowing how to carry out the analyses is important, but so is couching the discoveries in biological terms--what does the data say, why is it biologically significant, etc.

Besides having an odd satisfaction over computing precise p values, and incomprehensible delight over pretty graphs (bonus points if the errors were estimated correctly!), I strive to be better at communicating my science better to peers/students. This includes understanding how to plot cleaner and more informative graphs, mastering the art of sprinkling an abstruse word or two in my writing to disguise my science as something more interesting than it actually is, and also finding ways to express ideas in simpler terms to make my talks more appealing to a diverse audience!

Selected Publications

  • Liew YJ, Li Y, Baumgarten S, Voolstra CR, Aranda M. Condition-specific RNA editing in the coral symbiont Symbiodinium microadriaticum. PLOS Genetics, 13(2):e1006619.


    Liew YJ, Aranda M, Voolstra CR. Reefgenomics.Org - a repository for marine genomics data. Database, 2016:baw152.


    Liew YJ, Ryu T, Aranda M, Ravasi T. miRNA Repertoires of Demosponges Stylissa carteri and Xestospongia testudinaria. PLOS ONE, 11(2):e0149080.

  • Baumgarten S, Simakov O, Esherick LY, Liew YJ, Lehnert EM et al. The genome of Aiptasia, a sea anemone model for coral symbiosis. PNAS, 112(38):11893-11898.


    Liew YJ, Aranda M, Carr A, Baumgarten S, Zoccola D et al. Identification of microRNAs in the coral Stylophora pistillata. PLOS ONE, 9(3):e91101.‚Äč


  • Ph.D. in Genetics, University of Cambridge (2008-2012).
  • B.A. in Genetics, University of Cambridge (2005-2008).