Samia conducted her PhD jointly between the University of Tunis El Manar and the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the US, sponsored by a Fulbright fellowship. She then moved to Imperial College London in the UK to do a postdoc funded by the Unesco-L’Oréal for women in science international fellowship before moving to Australia where she hold her current position with the Australian government. Dr Elfekih’s main research interests are focused on using population genomics and bioinformatics to address potential issues related to food security and global human health. She is particularly interested in the genomics of invasive insect pests and the possible effects of climate change on their distribution and invasion pathways. She is also interested in using biocontrol strategies for the management of vector-borne diseases (dengue fever, malaria) in regions where these diseases are underreported. Dr Elfekih is currently leading several international collaboration projects with various institutions such as the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London in the UK and the University of Oregon in the US. Dr Elfekih’s work was sponsored by highly-prestigious awards and fellowships such as Fulbright and EMBO, the Unesco-L’Oréal program and more recently the Royal Society UK exchange grant. Her work has been featured in the media including ELLE magazine in France, the Independent Newspaper in the UK, AL-Ahram daily in Egypt and Leaders Magazine in Tunisia.
- Arias, MB, Elfekih, S. & A.P., Vogler (2018) Population genetics and migration pathways of the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata inferred with coalescent methods. PeerJ
- Elfekih, S., Etter, P., Tay, W. T., Fumagalli, M., Gordon, K., Johnson, E., & De Barro, P. (2018). Genome-wide analyses of the Bemisia tabaci species complex reveal contrasting patterns of admixture and complex demographic histories. PloS one, 13(1), e0190555.
- Elfekih, S., Tay, W. T., Gordon, K., Court, L., & De Barro, P. (2017). Standardized molecular diagnostic tool for the identification of cryptic species within the Bemisia tabaciPest Management Science.
- Pearce, S. L., Clarke, D. F., East, P. D., Elfekih, S., Gordon, K. H. J., Jermiin, L. S., … & Rane, R. V. (2017). Genomic innovations, transcriptional plasticity and gene loss underlying the evolution and divergence of two highly polyphagous and invasive Helicoverpa pest species. BMC biology, 15(1), 69.
- Tay, W. T., Elfekih, S., Gordon, K. H., Delatte, H., & De Barro, P. J. (2017). The trouble with MEAM2: Implications of pseudogenes on species delimitation in the globally invasive Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) cryptic species complex. Genome Biology and Evolution.
- Elfekih, S., Chen, C. Y., Hsu, J. C., Belcaid, M., & Haymer, D. (2016). Identification and preliminary characterization of chemosensory perception-associated proteins in the melon fly Bactrocera cucurbitae using RNA-seq. Scientific reports, 6.
Awards, grants and fellowships
2018 Royal Society UK mobility grant (co-applicant) (12,000.00 GBP)
2017-2018 EMBO Fellowship [7,000.00 Euros]
2013-2016 OCE postdoctoral fellowship (CSIRO) [294,942.000 AUD]
2011-2013 UNESCO-L’Oréal International Fellowship for women in science [40K$]
2015 Biochemical Society UK grant [350.00 £]
2015 Genetic Society UK training grant [1,000.00 £]
2013 Fulbright Alumni Development Grant [(2,360.63 $]
2012 Korner fellowship (University of Sussex, UK) [400£]
2011 UCLA travel grant, USA [3,300.00USD]
2011 Royal Entomological Society travel grant [500 £]
2007-2008 Fulbright fellowship
Invited talks, Seminars
- “Genome-ˇwide SNPs decipher global invasion pathways in the whitefly Bemisia tabaci species complex”. Essig Museum of Entomology (UC Berkeley). Jan 15th, 2016.
- Evolutionary genomics of Bemisia tabaci and characterization of its endosymbiont metacommunities using nextRAD sequencing. International Plant and Animal Genome Asia (July 12-ˇ15th, 2015), Singapore.
- “Evolutionary genomics of Bemisia tabaci using nextRAD sequencing". Division of
Evolution, Ecology & Genetics, Australian National University (ANU). Oct 8th, 2015.
Rujiporn is a population geneticist whose main interest is in the genetic management of rare species. She completed a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in 2009 at Murdoch University. Working with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (Western Australia), her honours project was aimed to understand reproduction biology, mating system and pollen dispersal of Banksia nivea spp. uliginosa in the fragmented Busselton ironstone community. While she was undertaking her honours, she was also involved in a similar project for Calothamnus quadrifidus. She then worked as a Phytophthora research scientist in the same department, conducting a new phosphite application field experiment and detecting Phytophthora cinnamomic in suspected areas such as national parks.
Rujiporn developed an interest in conservation genetics and pursued a PhD at the University of Western Australia. Her PhD, which was completed in 2016, investigated genetic consequences of population mixing in translocations of burrowing bettongs and island dibblers as well as population structure and dispersal of mainland dibblers. The focuses of this project were on short- and long-term effects of admixture, factors influencing the genetic contributions of parental lineages and how population structure and dispersal patterns can be used in founder selection.
Weeks, A. R., Moro, D., Thavornkanlapachai, R., Taylor, H. R., White, N. E., Weiser, E. L., and Heinze, D. (2015). Conserving and enhancing genetic diversity in translocation programs. Pages 127-140 in D. Armstrong, M. W. Hayward, D. Moro, and P. J. Seddon, editors. Advances in reintroduction biology of Australian and New Zealand fauna. CSIRO Publishing, South Australia.
Thavornkanlapachai, R. (2014). Is mixing populations beneficial for translocation? Genetic consequences of translocating burrowing bettongs in Western Australia. Newsletter of the Australasian Wildlife Management Society 28, 8-9.
Sampson, J. F., Byrne, M., Yates, C. J., Gibson, N., Thavornkanlapachai, R., Stankowski, S., Macdonald, B., and Bennett, I. (2014). Contemporary pollen-mediated gene immigration reflects the historical isolation of a rare, animal-pollinated shrub in a fragmented landscape. Heredity 112, 172-181.
Gibson, N., Yates, C., Byrne, M., Langley, M., and Thavornkanlapachai, R. (2012). The importance of recruitment patterns versus reproductive output in the persistence of a short-range endemic shrub in a highly fragmented landscape of south-western Australia. Australian Journal of Botany 60, 643–649.
2017 12th International Mammalogical Congress, Perth, Australia
2017 Bioscience Early Career Researchers Research Summit, Melbourne, Australia
2015 Australasian Wildlife Management Society Conference, Perth, Australia
2014 Animal Biology Research Day Conference, Perth, Australia
2013 Australasian Wildlife Management Society Conference, Palmerston North, New Zealand
2017 Perth Zoo Prize for Conservation Research Award
2015 The Department of Parks and Wildlife Ad-Hoc Scholarship
2011 – 2014 Australian Postgraduate Award (APA)
2012 UWA Graduate Research School Travel Award
2009 Murdoch University Environmental Science Honours Scholarship
James Maino, Honorary Research Fellow
James researches better approaches to forecast and manage risk surrounding outbreaks of agricultural invertebrate pests. Part of this work aims to address the increasing problem of pesticide resistance in Australia, whereby a combination of resistance surveillance, novel genetic techniques, and predictive modelling are used to develop management strategies. He is interested in using the latest digital resources (e.g. satellite based climatic and land-usage data) and analysis methods that incorporate mechanistic processes to better predict pest dynamics so that impacts can be anticipated and minimised.
In 2016 James was jointly awarded a PhD at the University of Melbourne and Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam) under the supervision of Michael Kearney and Bas Kooijman.
James is currently involved with research projects on some important species of aphids and mites, aiming to develop better management practices that utilise a variety of control strategies, in the face of increasing chemical resistance problems.James also is applying modern data sets and analysis techniques to better assess risks of biosecurity threats to agriculture, which not only includes novel species, but novel biotypes (i.e. new genes that occur overseas but not in domestic varieties).
2018 Climate contributes to the evolution of pesticide resistance JL Maino, PA Umina, AA Hoffmann Global Ecology and Biogeography 27 (2), 223-232 2018 No longer a west-side story–pesticide resistance discovered in the eastern range of a major Australian crop pest, Halotydeus destructor (Acari: Penthaleidae) JL Maino, M Binns, P Umina Crop and Pasture Science 69 (2), 216-221 2017 The universality of the von Bertalanffy growth curve. Comment on:; Physics of metabolic organization; by Marko Jusup et al. JL Maino, MR Kearney Physics of life reviews 20, 63-65 2017 The effect of egg size on hatch time and metabolic rate: theoretical and empirical insights on developing insect embryos JL Maino, EI Pirtle, MR Kearney Functional Ecology 31 (1), 227-234 2016 Mechanistic models for predicting insect responses to climate change JL Maino, JD Kong, AA Hoffmann, MG Barton, MR Kearney Current opinion in insect science 17, 81-86 2015 Ontogenetic and interspecific scaling of consumption in insects JL Maino, MR Kearney Oikos 124 (12), 1564-1570 2015 A dynamic energy budget for the whole life‐cycle of holometabolous insects AL Llandres, GM Marques, JL Maino, S Kooijman, MR Kearney, J Casas Ecological Monographs 85 (3), 353-371 2015 Testing mechanistic models of growth in insects JL Maino, MR Kearney Proc. R. Soc. B 282 (1819), 20151973 2014 Reconciling theories for metabolic scaling JL Maino, MR Kearney, RM Nisbet, SALM Kooijman Journal of Animal Ecology 83 (1), 20-29 2014 Ontogenetic and interspecific metabolic scaling in insects JL Maino, MR Kearney The American Naturalist 184 (6), 695-701
• Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence in the PhD Thesis, University of Melbourne 2016
• Student Paper of the Year Award (Runner-up), The American Naturalist 2015
• Elton Prize for best paper in the Journal of Animal Ecology by a young researcher 2014
Megan is based mainly in the National Herbarium building of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and during semester at the Burnley Campus of Melbourne University
Meg obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science-Horticulture at Burnley College whilst working on rare and threatened plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne (RBG) under various roles (nursery technician, seed bank officer, research assistant). Meg successfully undertook an Honours year with Forest and Ecosystem Sciences under the supervision of Craig Nitschke and continued working with rare flora but with a stronger emphasis on seed conservation (working with the Victorian Conservation Seedbank, RBG). Meg undertook a PhD in ecology and evolution under the supervision of Ary Hoffmann, Neville Walsh and Philippa Griffin, and successfully completed her studies in 2017. Meg’s thesis investigated plant adaptation in a group of native Australasian daisies from the genus Brachyscome. She transplanted seeds and seedlings across different environments and in artificially heated plots to test for adaptation to local and future conditions.
Meg currently works in the Victorian Conservation Seedbank, on the Fungal Barcode Project based at the RBG and as a sessional tutor in plant morphology/identification skills at the University of Melbourne (Burnley campus). Meg is based mainly in the National Herbarium building of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, and during semester at the UniMelb Burnley Campus.
Testing the horticultural potential of rare and threatened Australian plants
Hirst, M.J. (2017). Plant evaluation and selection for conservation horticulture: improving the odds. The Botanic Garden 49, 39 -40. https://issuu.com/bganz/docs/tbg_iss49_nov17_final_171123
Hirst, M. J., Griffin, P. C., Sexton, J. P. and Hoffmann, A. A. (2017), Testing the niche-breadth–range-size hypothesis: habitat specialization vs. performance in Australian alpine daisies. Ecology 98, 2708 – 2724
Messina, A., Hirst, M.J., Walsh, N.G. (2017) Getting by with a little help from my friends. Samara: The International Newsletter of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. Issue 30. 13
Hirst, M. J., Sexton, J. P., and Hoffmann, A. A. (2016) Extensive variation, but not local adaptation in an Australian alpine daisy. Ecology and Evolution 6, 5459 – 5472
Hirst, M.J. (2013). A global message from an old bird. The Botanic Garden 37, 9–10. http://issuu.com/bganz/docs/tbg_iss37_dec2013/2
Slatyer, R.A., Hirst, M. and J.P. Sexton. (2013). Niche breadth predicts geographic range size: a general ecological pattern. Ecology Letters. doi:10.111/ele.12140.
Hirst, M.J. (2013). A phylogenetic and morphological approach in a key Australian plant genus, Brachyscome. Australasian Plant Conservation 21, 24–26.
Hirst, M.J. (2012). Native daisies add versatility. Australian Horticulture 109, 8.
2018 – 2019: Helen McLellan Research Grant, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria:
2018 – 2019: Australian Flora Foundation Research Grant
2018: Botanic Gardens of Australia and New Zealand Professional Development Award.
I am a master student from Berlin/Germany and joined the Hoffmann lab for 6 months to complete an internship as part of my masters program at the Freie Universität Berlin. I obtained my bachelor degree in biology 2016 and worked with a variety of insects, including flies, wasps, termites and different species of beetles. During my final bachelor project, supervised by Prof. Jens Rolff, I investigated antimicrobial peptides in the immune system of T. molitor respectively the ability of bacteria to evolve resistances against these substances. Further I also studied immune responses of T. molitor during infections with the entomopathogenic fungus B. bassiana. During my stay with PEARG I gained skills in the maintenance of Mosquito colonies, artificial blood feeding methods as well as DNA analyses.
I am currently working on the impact of non-human blood types (e.g pig and sheep) on Ae. aegypti and its Wolbachia infection.
Maistrou, S., Paris, V., Jensen, A.B., Rolff, J., Meyling, N.V., Zanchi, C. (in prep): A constitutively expressed antifungal peptide protects Tenebrio molitor during a natural infection by the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana.
- 2017: PROMOS scholarship (Program for the mobility of undergraduate and postgraduate students)
- Funding of internships outside Europe
- 2017: PROMOS scholarship (Program for the mobility of undergraduate and postgraduate students)
Weibin is an associate professor at Shanghai Normal University and has joined PEARG as a visiting scholar in 2017. Weibin was awarded a PhD in Molecular Ecology at East China Normal University under the supervision of Professor Xiaoming Wang, joint curator of Shanghai Science & Technology Museum, Shanghai Natural History Museum and Shanghai Planetarium. His research focus is on the infection rate and effect of Wolbachia in natural populations of Lepidoptera insects.
Study on the influence of mitochondrial variation in genus Polytremis caused by Wolbachia infection
Jiang WB (2017) Molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of lepidoptera with special reference to influence of Wolbachia Infection in the Genus Polytremis. Chapter 3 of Lepidoptera, 42-62, InTech Press, ISBN 978-953-51-3660-6.
Jiang WB, He HY, Li YD, Ren MY, Ma YZ, Zheng LL, Zhu JQ, Yu WD* (2016) Taxonomic status and molecular phylogeography of two sibling species of Polytremis (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Scientific Reports, 6: 20820.
Jiang WB, Chen MH, He HY, Wu YJ, Zhu JQ, Yu WD* (2016) Eleven microsatellite loci developed from the Chinese Hesperid butterflies, Polytremis fukia (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae), and cross-amplification in other species of Polytremis. Applied Entomology and Zoology, 51(4): 669–672.
Jiang WB, Zhu JQ*, Yang QC, Zhao HD, Chen MH, He HY, Yu WD* (2016) Complete mitochondrial DNA genome of Polytremis nascens (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Mitochondrial DNA Part A, 27(5), 3131-3132.
Jiang WB, Zhu JQ, Chen MH, Yang QC, Du X, Chen SY, Zhang LN, Yu YM, Yu WD* (2014) Wolbachia infection status and genetic structure in natural populations of Polytremis nascens (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 27: 202-211.
Jiang WB, Zhu JQ*, Zhan L, Chen MH, Song C, Yu WD* (2014) Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci in Polytremis nascens (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae), and their cross-amplification in related species. Applied Entomology and Zoology, 49: 177-181.
Jiang WB, Zhu JQ*, Song C, Li XY, Yang Y, Yu WD* (2013) Molecular phylogeny of the butterfly genus Polytremis (Hesperiidae, Hesperiinae, Baorini) in China. PLoS ONE, 8 (12): e84098.
Jiang WB, Liu N, Zhang GT, Renqing PC, Xie F, Li TY, Wang ZH*, Wang XM* (2012) Specific detection of Echinococcus spp. from the Tibetan fox (Vulpes ferrilata) and the red fox (V. vulpes) using copro-DNA PCR analysis, Parasitology Research, 111: 1531-1539.
Jiang WB, Wang XM, Li M, Wang ZH* (2011) Identification of the Tibetan fox (Vulpes ferrilata) and the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) by copro-DNA diagnosis. Molecular Ecology Resources, 11 (1): 206-210.
Hong Y, Peng JB, Jiang WB, Lin JJ* (2011) Proteomic analysis of Schistosoma japonicum schistosomulum proteins that are differentially expressed among hosts differing in their susceptibility to the infection, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, 10(8): M110.006098.
Peng JB, Han HX, Gobert GN, Hong Y, Jiang WB, Lin JJ* (2011) Differential gene expression in Schistosoma japonicum schistosomula from Wistar rats and BALB/c mice, Parasites & Vectors, 4: 155.
Jiang WB, Hong Y, Peng JB, Fu ZQ, Feng XG, Liu JM, Shi YJ, Lin JJ* (2010) Study on Differences in the Pathology, T Cell Subsets and Gene Expression in Susceptible and Non-Susceptible Hosts Infected with Schistosoma japonicum, PLoS ONE, 5 (10): e13494.
Li-Jun is a research fellow in the Institute of Plant and Environmental Protection, Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences. He completed his Ph.D. studies at Beijing Forestry University in 2016. His studies focused on the origin and dispersal of several pest insects. This January he joined PEARG as a visiting scholar investigating interactions between Wolbachia and viruses. He will detect Wolbachia strains in field populations of Drosophila simulans and investigate the abundance of viruses in Wolbachia positive and negative populations from different locations.
I received my PhD many years ago at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School with a Drosophila evolutionary geneticist, Costas Kastritsis who had studied inversion polymorphisms with T. Dobzhansky. I then did a post doc at the University of Texas, Austin, studying ecdysone and chromosome activity in Rhynchosciara, particularly in relation to gene amplification. My supervisor was the Brazilian geneticist, Crodowaldo Pavan. After that I came to Melbourne and worked for several years in the Melbourne University Genetics Department at the end of the time of Michael White’s tenure there. I made the mistake of trying to raise Rhynchosciara in Australia since I was very familiar with that fly and I felt that there was a lot of work still to be done. That attempt was not successful. Subsequently, I had a long period at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil working with Professor Francisco Lara. I have been in and out of Brazil for many years through various political changes and still visit there. During some of that period I was a lecturer for about 8 years at the College of Advanced Education which became the Department of Education of the University of Melbourne. I began to work with Ary when I came back from a long period in Brazil and he was still at La Trobe University. I could have retired but I decided to work a little longer. My first project involved clines in inversion polymorphism. I have been associated with Ary’s group ever since, working casually on various projects and most recently in an honorary position. My speciality is chromosomes, particularly fly chromosomes, which most people do not work with anymore.
Chromosome evolution in Australian Scaptodrosophila: I have examined mitotic chromosomes of a number of Australian Scaptodrosophila species and carried out C-banding and Ag-NOR banding. I have also examined polytene chromosomes. Since Ag-NOR banding was only variably successful, I may also do rDNA in situ hybridization when I am in Brazil. I intend to put together my results in a manuscript showing the relationship among the species.
- Stocker AJ, Foley B, Hoffmann AA (2004) Inversion frequencies along a latitudinal cline in Australian populations of Drosophila serrata. Genome Dec; 47(6) 1144-53.
- Stocker AJ, Madalena CG, Gorab E (2006) The effects of temperature shock on transcription and replication in Rhynchosciara americana (Diptera: Sciaridae). Genetica Mar 126(3) 277-90.
- Fiorini A, Gouveia FS, Soares MAM, Stocker AJ, Ciferri RR, Fernandez MA (2006) DNA bending in the replication zone of the C3 DNA puff amplicon of Rhynchosciara americana (Diptera: Sciaridae). Mol Biol Rep. Mar 33(1) 71-82.
- Rako L, Anderson AR, Sgro CM, Stocker AJ, Hoffmann AA (2006) The association between inversion In(3R)Payne and clinally varying traits in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetica Sep-Nov 128(1-3) 373-84.
- Madalena CG, Amabis JM, Stocker AJ, Gorab E (2006) The localization of ribosomal DNA in Sciaridae (Diptera: Nematocera) reassessed. Chromosome Res (2007) 15(4) 409-16.
- Gorab E, Amabis JM, Stocker AJ, Drummond L and Stollar BD (2009) Potential sites of triple-helical nucleic acid formation in chromosomes of Rhynchosciara (Diptera: Sciaridae) and Drosophila melanogaster. Chromosome Res. 17(6) 821-32.
- Stocker AJ, Rusuwa BB, Blacket MJ, Frentiu FD, Sullivan M, Foley BR, Beatson S, Hoffmann AA, Chenoweth SF (2012) Physical and linkage maps for Drosophila serrata, a model species for studies of clinal adaptation and sexual selection. G3 (Bethesda) 2(2) 287-297.
- Soares MAM, Hartfelder K, Tesserolli de Souza JM, Stocker AJ (2015) Developental ecdysteroid titers and DNA puffs in larvae of two sciarid species, Rhynchosciara americana and R. milleri (Diptera: Sciaridae). Genetica 143(5) 597-612.