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Our laboratory major research interest concerns larval biology of marine invertebrates, with emphasis on interaction between settling larvae and chemical cues released from marine surfaces. Since all the marine surfaces are covered by biofilms made of macromolecules and microbes, we have been analyzing microbial community dynamics (using the most advanced molecular tools) and chemical profiles of biofilms in order to characterize the effective chemical cues for larval settlement induction/inhibition. After obtaining effective compounds, we have been examining the effects of the compounds on changes in gene expression, protein expression (proteomics and phosphoproteomics) and transcriptomics during the larva-juvenile transition process. Another aspect of our research has been focusing on microbial metagenomics of unique marine habitats, such as deep sea brine pools as well as symbionts in marine corals and sponges.

Our current research centers around the following:

1. Isolation and identification of natural compounds of marine organisms that show inhibitive or inductive potential to larval settlement,

2. Mode of action of bioactive compounds (at genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic levels) against larval settlement,

3. Fouling and antifouling biotechnology,

4. Interaction between settling larvae and biofilm dynamics, and

5. Microbial metagenomics (molecular microbial Ecology)

Missions

1. To gain a good understanding of the biological processes and mechanisms involved in larval settlement and metamorphosis;

2. To achieve a good understanding of interaction between settling larvae and biofilm, with particular focus on the relationship between bacterial community structure and the film’s bioactivity in larval settlement induction/inhibition;

3. To identify inductive/inhibitive cues for larval settlement and metamorphosis, which may lead to the new biotechnology development in mariculture industry and marine coasting industry;

4. To gain a good understanding of diversity, function, and novel pathways of microbes in natural environment.

5. To decipher and manipulate biosynthetic processes of marine bacteria in order to obtain novel natural products for biological evaluation.

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