Patrick Laffy

Dr Patrick Laffy

Research Scientist
Genomic Bioinformatics
Contact number
(07) 4753 4365
+61 7 4753 4365
Contact email

I received my PhD in 2011 in Marine transcriptomics at Flinders University in Adelaide, SA. My PhD focussed on the identification of key enzymes involved in the production of bioactive secondary metabolites from the Australian marine mollusc Dicathais orbita. I analysed transcriptomes from D. orbita, investigating gene expression profiles, and identified key transcripts involved in this secondary metabolite biosynthesis. I also investigated the evolution of the generation of these bioactive compounds within related marine molluscs, and performed recombinant protein expression to characterise an arylsulfatase expressed within D. orbita. I have also had experience working with transgenic plant research, investigating alternative oxidases in the electron transport chain in Arabidopsis thaliana, cereal crop genomics at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, and have investigated microsatellite variation in clownfish-hosting anemones from the Great Barrier Reef.

PhD in Molecular Biology, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Bachelor of Science (Honours), Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

My original role at AIMS began in 2013 as a Postdoctoral fellow investigating the role of viruses in Sponge holobiont dynamics. The workflow I developed is allowing us to profile how virus communities are shifting under environmental stress conditions, as diseases progress, and across different sites and depths on the reef. More recently, my role has expanded into applying genomics resources across a variety of different projects at AIMS, looking at everything from genomics and gene expression to host organisms, right down to the microbial and viral composition of these communities.


Laffy PW, Wood-Charlson EM, Turaev D, Jutz S, Pascelli C, Botté ES et al. (2018) Reef invertebrate viromics: diversity, host specificity and functional capacity. Environmental Microbiology 20(6):

Weynberg KD, Laffy PW, Wood-Charlson EM, Turaev D, Rattei T, Webster NS, van Oppen MJH. (2017) Coral-associated viral communities show high levels of diversity and host auxiliary functions. PeerJ 5:e4054

Weynberg, KD, Neave, M, Clode, PL, Voolstra, CR, Brownlee, C, Laffy, PW, Webster, NS, Levin, RA, Wood-Charlson, EM & van Oppen, MJ (2017) Prevalent and persistent viral infection in cultures of the coral algal endosymbiont Symbiodinium. Coral Reefs 1-12.

Laffy PW, Wood-Charlson E, Turaev D, Weynberg KD, Botte E, van Oppen MJH, Webster NS, Rattei T (2016) HoloVir: A workflow for investigating the diversity and function of viruses in invertebrate holobionts. Frontiers in Microbiology 7: 822

Webster NS, Negri AP, Botté ES, Laffy PW, Flores F, Noonan S, Schmidt C, Uthicke S (2016) Host-associated coral reef microbes respond to the cumulative pressures of ocean warming and ocean acidification. Scientific Reports 6: 19324

Morrow KM, Bourne DG, Humphrey C, Botté ES, Laffy P, Zaneveld J, Uthicke S, Fabricius KE, Webster NS (2015) Natural volcanic CO2 seeps reveal future trajectories for host-microbial associations in corals and sponges. The ISME Journal 9(4):894-908

Laffy PW, Benkendorff K, Abbott CA (2013) Suppressive subtractive hybridization transcriptomics provides a novel insight into the functional role of the hypobranchial gland in a marine mollusc. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part D Genomics and Proteomics 8(2):111-122

Laffy PW, Benkendorff K, Abbott CA (2009) Trends in molluscan gene sequence similarity: An observation from genes expressed within the hypobranchial gland of Dicathais orbita. The Nautilus 123(3):154-158