I initially obtained my bachelors degree in the Agricultural Facility of Science in Chinese Agricultural University. I later acquired my bioinformatics Masters degree in Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing Institute of Genomics. Before my PhD career, I participated in multiple rice genome projects, including re-annotating the Nipponbare genome based on RNA-seq data, evaluating transposons and miRNAs in rice genome and analyzing the Kasalath genome. Subsequently, I joined Manuel Aranda’s group at the Red Sea Research Center and focused on the comparative genomics of several cnidarians for my PhD research, which set out to understand how calcification evolved in corals.
The massive calcium carbonate skeletons of reef-building corals form the large structures that provide an essential habitat for a variety of marine species. Here, we set out to understand 1.) how the non-calcifying ancestor of contemporary corals evolved to become a foundation species of an entire ecosystem and 2.) to identify genes essential for the calcification process. For this purpose I used a comparative genomics approach to analyze the genomes of six members of the anthozoan sub-class Hexacorallia, including two non-calcifying Actinaria (Nematostella vectensis and Aiptasia pallida), two Corallimorpharia (Amplexidiscus fenestrafer, Discosoma sp.), as well as two calcifying Scleractinia (Stylophora pistillata, Acropora digitifera).
Research Interests Keywords