What are Cyanobacteria?

By Leanne Pearson  Photosynthetic microorganisms known as cyanobacteria are found in a variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats worldwide, including oceans, lakes, polar melt-water ponds, hot springs and desert soil crusts. Sometimes erroneously termed ‘blue-green algae’, they are in fact a morphologically and physiologically diverse phylum of bacteria. Cyanobacteria were among the earliest lifeforms to colonise Earth, and it was their expansion in the shallow seas of the Paleoproterozoic era 2.4 billion years ago that led to the Great Oxidation Event and the subsequent rise […]

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Meet our iGEM team

Greetings! We are the DeNovoCastrians, the inaugural iGEM team from University of Newcastle. iGEM (international Genetically Engineered Machine) is a competition that gives students the opportunity to push the boundaries of synthetic biology by tackling everyday challenges. Synthetic biology is the designing, engineering, testing and validating of a biological system made from interchangeable biological parts […]

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Annual variation in bloom-forming Microcystis genotypes from an Australian wastewater lagoon

Caitlin Romanis*, Toby Mills, Brett Neilan PRESENTED AT ICHA2018 CONFERENCE Cyanobacteria from the Microcystis genus are commonly responsible for nuisance and potentially toxic algal blooms that disrupt the supply of water from the Western Treatment Plant, Victoria, to the surrounding agricultural districts. It is therefore crucial to develop an understanding of the biological parameters that […]

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Evolution of Type III PKS from cyanobacteria and investigation of a Type III PKS gene cluster

Joachim S. Larsen, Michelle Quezada, Konstantinos Vavitsas, Claudia Vickers and Brett A. Neilan ABSTRACT PRESENTED AT EAPS2018 SYMPOSIUM Cyanobacteria are known as prolific producers of bioactive metabolites many of which are assembled by specialized enzymes called polyketide synthases (PKSs) found co-localized in genomic clusters. Genome mining has greatly advanced discovery of gene clusters. Here, a phylogenomic […]

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Characterisation of the modification enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of two novel lanthipeptides

Carolin von Lupin, Michelle Quezada, Rabia Mazmouz, Brett Neilan   ABSTRACT PRESENTED AT: GRC – Natural Products and Bioactive Compounds Ribosomally synthesised and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) present a large class of natural products. Lanthipeptides, or lantibiotics, are the most abundant group of RiPPs that generally exhibit antibacterial activity, which makes them attractive for the pharmaceutical […]

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Higher Research Degree Opportunities 

Funding: These PhD opportunity does not guarantee a scholarship. To also be considered for a scholarship please submit an application in the relevant scholarship round. Genetic and Environmental Drivers of Neurotoxic Cyanobacterial Blooms Australian freshwater systems are plagued by toxic cyanobacterial (“blue-green algal”) blooms. Mitigating the effects of these blooms is a major challenge in protecting […]

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Understanding differential paralytic shellfish toxin profiles between two Scytonema crispum strains

  Author: Alescia Cullen A major reason cyanobacterial blooms are of nuisance is due to their ability to produce toxic compounds. One class of these compounds are the Paralytic Shellfish Toxins (PSTs), which encompass saxitoxin and its related analogues. Despite the identification of the putative genetics underlying biosynthesis of saxitoxin in 2008, biochemical confirmation of […]

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Postdoctoral Research Associate – Position Available

Postdoctoral Research Associate Location: Neilan Laboratory of Microbial and Molecular Diversity School of Environmental and Life Sciences University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia Available for immediate start Academic Level: A Contract type: Full time. Fixed term, 1 year with opportunity for extension About the role: An exciting opportunity to develop and undertake cutting edge research […]

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