Dr. Chuan Ku received his Ph.D. in the University of Düsseldorf, Germany. Dr. Ku’s research focuses on two main topics: “Microalgal genomics” and “Giant viruses and their eukaryotic hosts”. Unicellular algae in the ocean are characterized by high growth and turnover rate and account for half of the photosynthetic production on our planet. Currently we are specifically interested in coccolithophores – a group of microalgae capable of converting CO2 and calcium into calcite (chalk) platelets that can be sedimented at the bottom of the ocean. The best known of these armored phytoplankton, Emiliania huxleyi, is a globally distributed species that forms massive annual blooms (dramatic changes in population size) and has diploid and haploid phases with obscure transitions. Using state-of-the-art sequencing technology, omic and bioinformatic methods, and single-cell approaches, our goal is to elucidate the dynamics of coccolithophore genomes across time and space.

Viruses are found in almost all living things and ecosystems. The nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses include the largest viruses known today in terms of physical and genome sizes (many even larger than small bacterial genomes) and infect diverse hosts ranging from vertebrates (e.g., African swine fever virus), invertebrates, amoebae, and various algae in both freshwater and seawater. Major themes in our lab include how the large genomes of giant viruses are organized and expressed, as well as how their genome regulation has changed through the long history of coevolution with their eukaryotic hosts.

Dr. Ku was appointed as the Assistant Research Fellow of the Institute of of Plant and Microbial Biology in January, 2019. For more information about his research, please refer to the following website: https://ipmb.sinica.edu.tw/ch/ipmb_researchers#ipmb-52