Principle Investigators

Professor David Miller is a Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and a key member of JCU’s Centre for Tropical Bioinformatics & Molecular Biology. His current research interests include: using flies to understand the function of coral gene; coral spawning; dinoflagellate genetics; evolutionary genetics; microarrays of coral genes; and Evo–devo: the evolution of developmental mechanisms. Prof Miller received his PhD from the University of Kent at Canterbury in 1980. He was a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Bristol University between 1980 & 1982, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Adelaide between 1982 & 1984. He joined James Cook University (JCU) as a Reader in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1996.

Dr Ira Cooke is a Senior Lecturer in Bioinformatics at James Cook University. He is one of two directors of JCU’s Centre for Tropical Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology. As a Bioinformatician, he combines his dual interests in molecular biology and computational tools. His research interests include: coral genomics and transcriptomics; evolution of cephalopod toxicity; software for proteomic and proteogenomic analysis; statistical analysis of gene and/or protein expression data. Dr Cooke holds a dual Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Chemistry from JCU, and a PhD in Physics from ANU. 

Prof Jan Strugnell is a Professor at JCU’s College of Science & Engineering. She is also a Theme Leader with JCU’s Centre for Tropical Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology. Her research applies next generation sequencing tools to help solve bottlenecks in fisheries and aquaculture industries. A/Prof Strugnell obtained a DPhil at Oxford University (UK), funded by a Rhodes Scholarship. She then worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Queen’s University, Belfast, the British Antarctic Survey and Cambridge University (UK).

A/Prof David Bourne has a joint position as an Associate Professor at James Cook University and a Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville. His training is in the area of molecular microbial ecology and his research is focused on the investigation of microbial diversity, structure and function in complex ecosystems. A/Prof Bourne holds a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Queensland. He has held postdoctoral positions at the University of Warwick (UK) and at Bergen University (Norway).

Dr Peter Cowman is an ARC DECRA Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at JCU. He is also an academic member of JCU’s Centre for Tropical Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology. His research focuses on reconstructing the evolutionary history of diverse groups of fishes and corals that are associated with tropical reefs habitats, and uses those phylogenetic hypotheses to explore macroevolutionary questions on topics ranging from the origins of trophic novelty, processes driving biodiversity patterns, and the ancestral biogeography of reef-associated lineages. Dr Cowman is originally from Ireland were he completed a BSc (Hon) degree in Marine Science at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He completed his PhD at JCU in 2012 on the topic of the evolutionary origins and biogeography of coral reef fishes.

Professor Norelle Daly is a Professor at JCU’s Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine and a Theme Leader with JCU’s Centre for Molecular Therapeutics. Her research involves the discovery and characterisation of bioactive compounds, and exploring their potential as drug candidates for therapeutic applications. The inspiration for these studies are based on naturally occurring compounds from a range of sources including corals, cone snails, stonefish, and the venom of spiders and scorpions as well as parasite-derived peptides. In particular, she is interested in developing drug leads for wound healing and inflammatory diseases because of the enormous impact these conditions have on health care in Australia and the urgent need for more effective treatments. Professor Daly obtained a PhD at The University of Queensland.

Current Members