Saturday 1 September 2007

Rich Edwards (Principal Investigator)

Rich Edwards is a Principal Research Fellow in the University of Western Australia (UWA) Oceans Institute, and the lead academic for the Minderoo OceanOmics Centre at UWA. The centre is a collaboration between the Minderoo Foundation and UWA, supporting an ambitious research program to revolutionise the way that environmental DNA (eDNA) is used to monitor and protect marine vertebrate biodiversity. Rich leads the technical team that runs the centre, and an academic research program in evolutionary/conservation genomics. Here, the focus is collaborating with research groups across Australia (and taxa!) to generate high-quality genome assemblies in support of applications in conservation and evolutionary biology. Rich maintains an adjunct Associate Professor position in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences (BABS) at the University of New South Wales.

Originally from southern England, Rich trained a geneticist at the University of Nottingham (UK), studying the population genetics of transposable elements in bacteria for his PhD. He moved to Dublin (Ireland) in 2001 to become a full time bioinformatician in the Shields Lab, developing a sequence analysis methods for rational design of biologically active short peptides based on functional specificity and ancestral sequence prediction. The biological activity of these short peptides started an interest in Short Linear Motifs (SLiMs), which are short regions of proteins that mediate interactions with other proteins.

Rich has developed several tools for the prediction and analysis of SLiMs, distributed in the SLiMSuite package (as well as coining the term “SLiM” to describe this specific type of protein interaction motif). The lab was established in 2007 when Rich moved to the University of Southampton (UK), where he continued to work on SLiMs but diversified to collaborate on numerous projects involving DNA and/or protein sequence analysis.

Rich moved to UNSW in late 2013, where he has built a close working relationship with the Ramaciotti Centre for Genomics and established genomics as a core research activity. Here, he was involved in multiple de novo whole genome sequencing and assembly projects, using short read (Illumina), long read (PacBio & Nanopore) and linked read (10x Chromium) sequencing, and Hi-C proximity ligation. These include yeast, bacteria, invasive cane toads and starlings, venomous Australian snakes through the BABS Genome Project, Aussie marsupials as part of the Oz Mammals Genomics initiative, dogs, dingoes, rainforest trees, pathogenic rust fungi, and the NSW Waratah as part of the Genomics of Australian Plants initiative. In 2022, he moved to Perth to lead the Minderoo OceanOmics Centre at UWA, where he is heavily involved in marine vertebrate genome sequencing assembly with the Ocean Genomes project.

Employment History

  • 2022-present: Principal Research Fellow, OceanOmics Centre and Laboratory Lead, Ocean Genomes Laboratory. UWA Oceans Institute, University of Western Australia.
  • 2022-present: Adjunct Associate Professor in Genomics and Bioinformatics. School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia.
  • 2013-2022: Senior Lecturer. School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
  • 2014-2016: Adjunct Associate Professor. Centre for Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.
  • 2013-2014: Senior Lecturer. Centre for Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.
  • 2011-2013: Lecturer. Centre for Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.
  • 2007-2011: Senior Research Fellow. School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 7PX, UK.
  • 2005-2007: Postdoctoral Research Fellow. The Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2001-2005: Postdoctoral Research Fellow. The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.

Summary of Academic Qualifications

  • 2010: Post-graduate Certificate in Academic Practice. University of Southampton, UK.
  • 2002: PhD, "Adaptive Insertion Mutations in Bacteria". Institute of Genetics, University of Nottingham
  • 1998: BSc (Hons) Genetics. Division of Genetics, University of Nottingham.


  • 2020 Genetics Society of AustralAsia Award for Excellence in Education.

Main Funding History

  • 2022-2027: Minderoo OceanOmics Centre at UWA (Minderoo Foundation)
  • 2019-2022: ARC Linkage Project (Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust).
  • 2016-2019: ARC Linkage Project (Microbiogen Pty Ltd).
  • 2015-2015: Department of Industry and Science, Research Connections Grant (Microbiogen Pty Ltd).
  • 2011-2014: BBSRC New Investigator Award BB/I006230/1.
  • 2007-2012: University of Southampton Research Fellowship.
  • 2003-2007: SFI Investigator Award (D Shields). [Named Researcher]
  • 2002-2005: HRB Programme Grant, Platelet Biology (D Kenny). [Named Researcher]
  • 2001-2003: PRTLI HEA Cycle 2 (RCSI).