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2018 Laureate Profile: Professor Madeleine van Oppen

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Professor Madeleine van Oppen

Professor Madeleine van Oppen

Administering Organisation: The University of Melbourne

Discipline Area: Biological Sciences and Biotechnology

Fellowship project summary:


This project aims to develop microbes which are able to enhance the climate resilience of corals. Coral reefs around the world are being lost at an alarming rate. Developing microbial symbionts to enhance coral climate resilience will give Australian and other coral reef ecosystems an increased chance of surviving the impact of climate change. The project will also enhance understanding of the functional roles of microbial symbionts of corals, and advance the microbial symbiosis discipline globally. Expected outcomes include healthier coral reefs through the use of more climate resilient coral stock in reef conservation and restoration initiatives.

Australian Research Council funding: $3,011,916

About Professor van Oppen

Madeleine van Oppen is a Professor at The University of Melbourne School of Biosciences and Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). She was a partner investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and the recipient of a 2010 ARC Future Fellowship.

Professor van Oppen’s research includes the study of microbial symbiosis in corals, and the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of adaptation/acclimatisation to climate change. She has pioneered the field of ‘assisted evolution’, exploring genetic manipulations to enhance stress tolerance and fitness of corals in a changing environment. The main aim of this work is to increase the success of coral reef restoration efforts and the health of coral reefs. She is the recipient of the 2005 Australian Academy of Science Dorothy Hill award, and 2013 Paul Allen Ocean Challenge award.

Find out more about Professor van Oppen’s research by visiting her profile page on The University of Melbourne website.

For further information about this funding scheme, please visit the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme page on the ARC website.

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