06 Jul 2021

Seminar title: Understanding the interactions of trace metals and phytoplankton in the ocean
Speaker: Dr. Qiong Zhang, Post Doctorate Research Assistant, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

Date: 6 July 2021 (Tuesday)
Time: 4:30 – 5:30 pm
Meeting link: https://hkust.zoom.us/s/94372930472
(*The seminar will be recorded for internal reference.)
Zoom Meeting ID: 943 7293 0472
Passcode: 154137

Metals are a fundamental component of life - biological processing of oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, and carbon all rely on metalloproteins, but the metallome (metals essential to life) is far from complete. In my research, I aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of the interactions between trace metals and marine phytoplankton, at heart of the carbon cycle and global change.

In this talk, I will first introduce data from a series culture experiments, showing that phytoplankton have different susceptibility to metals Cr and Tl, which reveals contrasting metal uptake and homeostasis strategies in different lineages of phytoplankton. Then, by using a comparative genomics approach, I will show that divergent trace metal requirements of different phytoplankton are supported by detailed bioinformatics of the metalloprotein complement. Signatures within the metal transporting families are also found to support evolving strategies of metal uptake to fulfil their requirements. Further, I will explore the broad implications of roles of trace metals in the marine environment, by trying to elucidate the global patterns of trace metal limitation for various dominant groups of marine phytoplankton.

Dr. Qiong Zhang obtained her PhD in Earth Sciences from University of Oxford in 2017. She was funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship for her D.Phil. research. Her thesis is about stable isotope biogeochemistry of chromium in natural waters. She continued as a postdoctoral researcher on an ERC-funded project investigating metallomes and metalloproteomes in phytoplankton. She has developed cutting edge expertise which combines trace-metal-clean techniques with the sterile work of cell cultures, proteomics, and bioinformatics to advance understanding of the role of metals in marine plankton and their evolution.

All Are Welcome!