Appointment boosts CSIRO bioinformatics research


“Bioinformatics, the interface between computing and biology, is a fast growing field and Dr Jermiin’s appointment is part of CSIRO’s move to build its skills base in genome bioinformatics,” CSIRO Entomology’s Chief, Dr Mark Lonsdale said.


“Given Dr Jermiin’s experience and research excellence, we are excited about what he brings to our research in genome bioinformatics.”


Dr Jermiin’s research interests range widely from questions on the origin and evolution of life and the mechanisms that govern the evolution of genes and genomes, to questions on how to extract valuable information from the genomes of microbes, plants and animals, including the cotton bollworm – an important worldwide crop pest.


Using his knowledge of how organisms are related and how their genomes have evolved, Dr Jermiin aims to improve our understanding of evolutionary patterns and processes at the molecular level and, ultimately, to engineer enzymes and other organic compounds for use in the pharmaceutical, agriculture and energy industries.


“The availability of completely sequenced genomes from a variety of species provides us with a tremendous opportunity to increase our understanding of biodiversity at a molecular level as well as of the evolutionary processes that led to this diversity,” Dr Jermiin said.


“With this information, we will be able to manage our resources better and to engineer novel enzymes and other molecules that are useful from a biotechnological or pharmaceutical perspective.”


Dr Jermiin takes a cross-disciplinary approach to his research and collaborates with leading mathematicians, statisticians and computational scientists around the world.


“It is at the interface of the life sciences, statistics, mathematics and computational sciences where the greatest potential for discovery and innovation lies,” Dr Jermiin said.


“My team has already developed several statistical methods and computer programs for comparative and evolutionary studies of genomics data. Our bioinformatics tools help us to gain a better understanding of the diversity of functions that their genes encode.”


Dr Jermiin comes to CSIRO from the University of Sydney where he was an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences. He did his undergraduate studies in Denmark and his PhD at La Trobe University. His position is funded by the CSIRO Office of the Chief Executive Science Team.

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