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Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

Overview

Venoms play a range of adaptive roles in the animal kingdom from predation to defense to competitor deterrence. Remarkably, despite their biological importance and uniqueness, the evolution of venom systems is poorly understood. New insights into the evolution of venom systems and the importance of the associated toxins cannot be advanced without recognition of the true biochemical, ecological, morphological and pharmacological diversity of venoms and associated venom systems. A major limitation has been the very narrow taxonomical range studied. Entire groups of venomous animals remain virtually unstudied. My research is inherently interdisciplinary, integrating ecological, evolutionary, and functional genomics approaches in order to understand the evolution of venom systems. Studies range from discovering the shock-inducing hypotensive and anticoagulant venom of the iconic Komodo Dragon through to exploring the unique temperature specific adaptations of Antarctic octopus venoms.

Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
Publications

Journal Article: Weaponization of a hormone: convergent recruitment of hyperglycemic hormone into the venom of arthropod predators
Undheim, Eivind A. B., Grimm, Lena L., Low, Chek -Fong, Morgenstern, David, Herzig, Volker, Zobel-Thropp, Pamela, Pineda, Sandy Steffany, Habib, Rosaline, Dziemborowicz, Slawomir, Fry, Bryan G., Nicholson, Graham M., Binford, Greta J., Mobli, Mehdi and King, Glenn F. (2015) Weaponization of a hormone: convergent recruitment of hyperglycemic hormone into the venom of arthropod predators. Structure, 23 7: 1283-1292. doi:10.1016/j.str.2015.05.003

Journal Article: Ancient venom systems: A review on cnidaria toxins
Jouiaei, Mahdokht, Yanagihara, Angel A., Madio, Bruno, Nevalainen, Timo J., Alewood, Paul F. and Fry, Bryan G. (2015) Ancient venom systems: A review on cnidaria toxins. Toxins, 7 6: 2251-2271. doi:10.3390/toxins7062251

Journal Article: Evolution of an ancient venom: recognition of a novel family of cnidarian toxins and the common evolutionary origin of sodium and potassium neurotoxins in sea anemone
Jouiaei, Mahdokht, Sunagar, Kartik, Gross, Aya Federman, Scheib, Holger, Alewood, Paul F., Moran, Yehu and Fry, Bryan (2015) Evolution of an ancient venom: recognition of a novel family of cnidarian toxins and the common evolutionary origin of sodium and potassium neurotoxins in sea anemone. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 32 6: 1598-1610. doi:10.1093/molbev/msv050

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Grants

Imaging the world of miniature venomous arthropods
(2014–2017) ARC Linkage Projects

A sensitive, high resolution QTOF mass spectrometer with nanoUPLC system for qualitative and quantitative biomolecule analysis.
(2014–2015) UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure

Beyond genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes: high throughput analysis of gene and protein expression and function
(2014–2015) UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure

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Supervision

Centipede Venom Evolution: Casting light on a neglected group of venomous animals
(2014) Doctor Philosophy

Investigation of origin of toxin proteins in Heloderma venom and identification of toxin proteins novel isoforms
Doctor Philosophy

Evolution and diversification of the Cnidarian venom system
Doctor Philosophy

Experience

  • –present
    Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland