David Adelson

Professor David Adelson


School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

David Adelson is Professor and Chair of Bioinformatics and Computational Genetics, Zhendong Chair of Molecular Traditional Chinese Medicine in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide and previously was a Xinglin Scholar Professor at Guangzhou University of TCM. Prof. Adelson’s current research also focuses on the non-coding portions of animal genomes, such as regions used to transcribe ncRNAs (piRNAs and lncRNAs) and the computational analysis of repetitive, so called “Junk DNA”, in order to understand large scale evolutionary/structural changes in animal genomes. Prof. Adelson has led the analysis of repetitive DNA for the cow, horse and elephant genome sequencing consortia and his lab has recently finished working on the Tuatara repetitive DNA analysis for that international genome sequencing consortium. In addition to characterising repeat content in genomes, his lab continues to develop a set of tools to identify and annotate transposable elements and segmental duplications “from scratch” and to use long read sequencing technology to identify somatic structural variants.. Additional aspects of the genome evolution work include understanding the impact of horizontal transfer of repetitive elements in higher organisms.

Prof. Adelson is currently Director of the Zhendong Centre of Molecular Traditional Chinese Medicine. The philosophy of the Zhendong Centre is that complex molecular effects of TCM preparations will provide a molecular basis for understanding the mode of action of TCM and support integration into Western medicine. A major approach to this work uses transcriptome analysis to identify entire pathways or co-expression sub-networks in cancer cells that are altered as a result of a particular TCM preparation, Compound Kushen Injection.

Prof. Adelson was also Co-Director (with Prof Gary Glonek) of the Bioinformatics Hub, a core facility for bioinformatics training and analysis that serves the research community of The University of Adelaide from 2014 to 2020.

Prior to moving to Adelaide in 2007, Prof Adelson worked at Texas A&M University from 2001, and before that worked for CSIRO from 1988. Prof Adelson obtained his PhD in Biomedical Sciences (Biochemistry), from the John A Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1985 and carried out postdoctoral research at Duke University.

My research has two main themes: 1)understanding how transposable elements affect genome structure and function at both the individual and species level and 2)using systems biology and network based methods to understand the molecular mode of action of complex mixtures of bioactives such as Traditional Chinese Medicines. 

Adelson Lab

Research Support: (Ongoing Research support)


NHMRC Ideas Grant 2021247             Western(CIA)                    2023-2026

Understanding non-genetic inheritance in health and disease      A$1,433,936

Role: CIB


Research Contract –Shanxi - Zhendong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd  2021-2023

Molecular Mechanisms Associated with CKI Suppression of Mucositis Caused by Radiotherapy


Role: CI                                                                                          A$805,346


Research Contract –Shanxi - Zhendong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd  2020-2022

Verification of CKI’s Anticancer Targets with CRISPR/Cas (UA205011)

Role: CI                                                                                         A$551,060


Completed Project Funding (since 2001).


USDA-CSREES NRI                                           Chowdhary (PI)                2003-2006

High resolution integrated genetic and physical map of the equine genome. US$870,892

Role: Co-I


Kleberg Foundation Gift                                     Womack (PI)                    2005-2007

Bovine Genomics Bioinformatics                                                                 US$1,000,000

Role: Co-PI


Texas Equine Research Fund                             Adelson (PI)                     2005-2007

Bioinformatics Support for Equine Genomics                                               US$26,000


NSF                                                                    Young(PI)                       2005-2008

Phages of Agronomic Bacteria: A Student Based Genomics Approach.        US$261,329

Role: Co-PI


USDA CSREES NRI                                            Elsik (PI)                         2007-2010

Bovine Genome Database: A Community Informatics Resource                  US$999,595

Role: Co-PI


ARC LIEF Grant                                                  Leinweber (CI)                2011

Enhancement of South Australian high-performance computing facilities       A$430,000

Role: CI


ANDS Project                                                      Adelson(CI)                     2011-2012

Genomics Data Capture                                                                             A$250,000

Role: Sole CI


ARC Linkage Project                                           Cooper(CI)                      2009-2011

Environmental Genomics: Mining, climate change, water, crime and health   A$500,000

Role: CI


USDA AFRI                                                        Elsik (PI)                          2010-2013

Next Generation Bovine Genome Database                                                US$970,000

Role: Co-PI


NHMRC Project Grant 1011334                          Scott (CIA)                       2011-2013

Dnmt3L haploinsufficent retrotransposition leads to genetic hypermutation    A$593,390

Role: CI


NHMRC Project Grant                                        Scott (CIA)                       2012-2014

Identification of genes responsible for familial predispositions to haematological malignancies

Role: CI                                                                                                     A$689,754


NHMRC Project Grant                                        Branford (CIA)                   2012-2014

Assessment of markers of genomic instability for the prediction of treatment response in chronic myeloid leukaemia.                                                                                   A$570,093

Role: CI


NHMRC Project Grant                                        MacLennan (CIA)              2012-2014

Copy number variations in cerebral palsy                                                     A$639,877

Role: CI


NHMRC Project Grant                                        Jensen (CIA)                     2012-2014

Understanding the post- transcriptional regulatory roles of the Hu family of RNA-binding proteins using HITS-CLIP

Role: CI                                                                                                     A$568,660


ARC Discovery Project                                        O’Bryan (CIA)                   2012-2014

HEN1 is a regulator of piRNA metabolism, transcriptional regulation and mammalian male fertility

Role: CI                                                                                                     A$344,000


Zhendong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd                       Adelson(CI)                      2012-2017

Zhendong Centre                                                                                      A$2,250,000

Role: CI/Director


The Australian Cancer Research Foundation       Lopez(CI)                         2010-2017

The ACRF Cancer Genome Facility

Role: Co-CI

A$3,500,000 (ACRF), A$1,050,000 (SA Dept of Health), A$500,000 (Cancer Council SA), A$250,000 (DIISR SuperScience Project, Australian National Data Service), A$400,000 (RAH research funds), A$1,500,000 (5 salaries for 3 years, Medvet PTY LTD (2), SA Pathology RIBG (1), Adelaide University (1 RIBG, 1 IGS) = CI with 11 others.(Lopez, Kumar, Hughes, Scott, Goodall, Tilley, McColl, Paton, Adelson, Gécz, Melo, To)


NHMRC Project Grant 1123341 Scott (CIA) 2017-2019

Genetic autopsy of perinatal death: diagnosis and discovery by Genome Sequencing

Role: Co-CI (CIF) A$989,332


NHMRC Project Grant 1144966 Western(CIA) 2018-2020

Defining the epigenetic origins of maternally inherited disease. A$731,162

Role: Co-CI (CID)


NHMRC Project Grant 1144887 Western(CIA) 2018-2020

Determining the impacts of epigenetic modifying drugs on germline programming and offspring health

Role: Co-CI (CIC)


Research Contract –Shanxi - Zhendong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd 2019-2020

CKI Suppression of Mucositis Caused by Radiotherapy (UA182520)

Role: CI A$644,950


Research Contract – Shanxi – Zhendong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd 2019-2020

Whole genome sequencing and analysis of the medicinal plant Sophora flavescens (Kushen) (UA193693)

Role: CI A$319,708


I teach third year Bioinformatics subjects and postgraduate coursework Bioinformatics.

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2023 Co-Supervisor Identity of seminal fluid antigens driving expansion of the female adaptive immune response after mating Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ha Manh Tran
    2023 Principal Supervisor Implement a scalable, automated workflow for transposon annotation as part of the Ruminant T2T genome sequencing consortium Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Luan Zhong
    2022 Principal Supervisor The Evolution, Distribution, and Activity of R2 Elements Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Nozhat Tabassum Hassan
    2022 Principal Supervisor Molecular Mechanisms Associated With CKI Suppression Of Mucositis Caused By Radiotherapy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yan Zhou
    2022 Principal Supervisor The Evolution of L1 and L2 Retrotransposons in Therian Mammals and Monotremes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Alexander James Stuart
    2021 Co-Supervisor Pharmacogenomic testing for psychiatric disorders will better align genotypes to well validated precision medicines. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Kiflu Gebremicael Tesfamicael
    2021 Principal Supervisor Genome Evolution and Retrotransposon Biology Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Zhenglong Du
    2021 Co-Supervisor The Genetic Epidemiology of Hereditary Pancreatitis in Australia and its effects on patients of Total Pancreatectomy with Auto Islet Transplantation. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Denghao Wu
    2019 Co-Supervisor Investigating gene regulatory networks in neurodevelopmental disorders during embryonic development and adulthood. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Urwah Nawaz
    2019 Principal Supervisor Identification of Structural Variation with Long Reads Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Carey Samuel Dessaix
    2018 Principal Supervisor Structural variation in complex genomes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Mani Ghani Poor Samami
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Cross-Cultural Differences in Taste: The Effect of Individual Variation on Consumers’ Perceptual, Hedonic and Emotional Responses Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Miss Gabriele Kavaliauskaite
    2019 - 2021 Co-Supervisor The role of RNA modifications in Arabidopsis thaliana growth and development Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Pei Qin Ng
    2018 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Transcriptome Analysis of Zebrafish Genetic Models to Reveal Early Molecular Drivers of Alzheimer's Disease Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Nhi Hin
    2018 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Aquaporins - from Ion Channels to Human Cancers Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Saeed Nourmohammadi
    2017 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Measuring genome wide changes in chromatin state using ChIP-seq Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Catisha Leigh Coburn
    2017 - 2021 Principal Supervisor The Evolution and Adaptive Effects of Transposable Elements in Birds and Elapids Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr James Douglas Galbraith
    2016 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Sex and Parental Genome Effects on Bovine Fetal Development Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Cynthia Liu
    2016 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Identification and functional analysis of RNA modifications in Arabidopsis thaliana and Mus musculus Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Jun Li
    2015 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Personalized Medicine Support System for Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia Patients Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Haneen Reda M Banjar
    2015 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Bioinformatics in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): Potential Anti-Cancer Mechanisms of Compound Kushen Injection (CKI) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Hanyuan Shen
    2015 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Molecular Mechanisms of Natural Compounds: Compound Kushen Injection (CKI) in Cancer Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Thazin Nwe Aung
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor The Impact of Transposable Elements on Amniote Evolution Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Lu Zeng
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Research on Compound Kushen Injection (CKI): Anti-cancer Mechanism Pathway/Network structure Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jian Cui
    2014 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Jumping the Fine LINE Between Species: Horizontal Transfer and Evolution of Repetitive Elements in Eukaryotic Species Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Atma Maria Ivancevic
    2013 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Evolution of mammalian genome architecture through retrotransposition Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Reuben Mackenzie Buckley
    2012 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Functional analysis of repeat regions in the eukaryotic genomes Master of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Master Full Time Miss Lu Zeng
    2011 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Investigation and Application of Methods for Ancient DNA Research Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Steve Richards
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Identification and Annotation of Recombinant Repeats In Mammals Indicates They Are Experimental Products For Creating Novel Transposable Element Families Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Sim Lin Lim
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Biomedical Literature Mining Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Mario Fruzangohar
    2009 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Investigating the evolution of replication timing and monoallelic expression in mammals and birds Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Megan Wright
    2009 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Chloroplast DNAs Diversify Nuclear and Mitochondrial Genomes in Plants Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Dong Wang
    2009 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Imprinted Gene Expression and Phenotype of Bovine Concepti with Bos taurus and Bos indicus Genetics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Mani Ghani Poor Samami
    2008 - 2014 Principal Supervisor "Understanding the Apoptotic Signaling Pathway that Involve In Breast Cancer Using Microarray, Proteomics and Bioinformatics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ibrahim Oqla Alanazi
    2008 - 2013 Principal Supervisor Comprehensive Identification and Annotation of Non-Protein-Coding Transcriptomes from Vertebrates Indicates Most ncRNAs are Regulatory Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Zhipeng Qu
  • Position: Professor
  • Phone: 83137555
  • Email: david.adelson@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 83134362
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Molecular Life Sciences, floor Second Floor
  • Room: 210
  • Org Unit: Molecular and Biomedical Science

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