Dr Qi Yang

Research Fellow

College of Medicine and Public Health

+61 8 72218567
place Bedford Park
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

My research interests are mainly in the field of marine sponge microbiome. The current running project is to unlock the intracellular microbial endosymbionts of marine sponges for new drug discovery. Marine sponges contribute over 30% of all marine natural products discovered so far and their associated microbes are considered as the major contributor. We aim to establish the fundamental understanding of sponge intracellular endosymbionts to explore untapped microbial resources for drug development. My focus is to understand endosymbiotic microbiome of different types of sponge cells. The protocols of sponge cultivation, sponge cells dissociation, separation, and purification are developed and optimised. A multi-primer approach (amplicon-based metagenomic sequencing) developed in my PhD is employed to reveal the endosymbiotic microbial profile. The functional pathways indicated by the whole genome analysis of purified sponge cells uncover the relationship between the specific microbiome and their unique secondary metabolite profile. Moreover, I am also interested in the methodology development to isolate the endosymbiotic microbes from sponge cells in the biologically complex holobiont and make them culturable in the laboratory conditions. The secondary metabolites provided by the endosymbionts could be the promising resources of novel bioactive compounds, which are of significant interest to drug discovery due to a growing need for the development of new and potent therapeutic agents.

  • Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Biotechnology, Flinders University
Honours, awards and grants
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence: Outstanding academic performance in the course leading to the Doctor of Philosophy, Flinders University (2018)
  • Conference Best Poster Award-The 3rd International Symposium on Sponge Microbiology (2018)
  • Australia Institute of Marine Sciences- Conference Travel Award (2017)
  • Flinders University Student Association Development Grant (2015-2016)
  • Flinders University Overseas Traveling Award (2015)
  • Australia Biological Resources Study National Taxonomy Research Grant Programme-Travel Grant Award (International) (2015)
  • Flinders University Faculty Conference Travel Grant (2013-2015)
  • BioInfoSummer 2014 Travel Grant Award (2014)
  • Australia Biological Resources Study National Taxonomy Research Grant Programme-Travel Grant Award (Domestic) (2013)
  • People’s Choice Award in Flinders University Finals of The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition (2013)
Supervisory interests
Marine microbiology
Molecular phylogenetics
Sponge-associated bacteria