The DEGNAN LABS   marine genomics on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef


The marine genomic research groups of Sandie Degnan and Bernie Degnan have diverse interests in ecological and evolutionary developmental biology and genomics of coral reef invertebrates.  We are based at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, with easy access to the incredible biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef, where we do most of our field work.


Recent News from the Degnan Labs

Our lab across the world...

August was a busy travelling time. Bioinformatics postdoc Selene Fernadez Valverde visited Woods Hole for the Marine Biological Lab Workshop on Molecular Evolution, and PhD student Felipe Aguilera spoke at the 12th Int’l Symposium on Biomineralization in Germany. In the same month, Sandie was honoured to be an invited speaker at the inaugural Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Marine Ecology, held at the incredible campus of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The super typhoon that closed us down for half a day was only part of the excitement; the meeting itself was just brilliant, and we can’t wait for the next one!

Congratulations Dr Ueda!

We are thrilled to announce that Nobuo Ueda has been awarded his PhD.  Equally thrilling is that he is about to join the wonderful research group of Dr Gáspár Jékeley at the Max Planck Institute of Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany. When Nobuo takes up his postdoctoral position there, he will be reunited with another past PhD student from Sandie’s lab - Dr Elizabeth Williams! We’re very sad to see you go Nobuo, not least because no-one prepares abalone as deliciously as you!

New papers published...

Nobuo Ueda and Sandie Degnan. 2013. Nitric Oxide Acts as a Positive Regulator to Induce Metamorphosis of the Ascidian Herdmania momusPLoS ONE 8(9): e72797. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072797. Find the paper at

Felipe Aguilera, Carmel McDougall and Bernard M Degnan. 2013. Origin, evolution and classification of type-3 copper proteins: lineage-specific gene expansions and losses across the Metazoa. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013, 13:96 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-96. Find the paper at

Welcome lab newbies

William Hatleberg has joined us for his Research Masters as a 2012 AAA-UQ USA to Australia Fellow. With his keenness for evo-devo and marine inverts, William is a great addition to the lab - find out more about William and the program that is supporting him, at

How wonderful to have Degnan Lab graduate, Dr Maely Gauthier,  back with us as a postdoc from September 2013. Since she left us, Maely has honed her skills in molecular biology, bioinformatics and stem cell biology during postdoctoral positions in Switzerland and Australia. She will apply her multiple talents to helping us shed more light on interactions between the coral reef sponge Amphimedon and the microbes that live in and around it.