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Dr Andreas Zwick

Molecular Systematist


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Andreas Zwick received a Diploma in Biology [equivalent of a Master of Science] from the University of Tübingen (Germany) in 2001, with a thesis on the histology, structure and phylogenetic significance of a sensory organ unique to lasiocampid moths. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Australian National University in 2006, studying the phylogeny and taxonomy of the Australian moth family Anthelidae with morphological and molecular characters. As a postdoctoral research associate he worked at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (USA) from 2007 to 2010, analysing the molecular data of the Assembling the Tree of Life Lepidoptera project (evolution and higher classification of moths) and of the deep-level arthropod phylogeny project. He worked from 2010-2013 as a research scientist and curator of the moth and butterfly collection at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart (Germany). He returned to Australia in 2014, taking on his current research position as research team leader of the Phylogenomics Team at the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC). In this role he runs the ANIC's molecular laboratory, overseas the research in the Lepidoptera collection and leads the Environomics Future Science Platform project “Mobilising collections through genomics”.

The research of Andreas Zwick centres around the taxonomy and phylogeny of arthropods, in particular the evolution of Pancrustacea and the higher classification and taxonomy of moths (Lepidoptera). He also has a strong interest in advancing collection genomics and methodology for molecular phylogenetics, e.g., the DNA sequencing from more than 100 year-old specimens, and the detection and elimination of compositional heterogeneity in DNA data sets (degeneracy coding).

Current projects include:

  • The Environomics FSP project “Mobilising collections through genomics”, which is a collaborative project across NRCA collections (ANIC, ANH, ANFC and ANACC) that aims to:

    1. Build novel capability and capacity to generate digital DNA reference sequences from historical NRCA collection specimens for molecular species identifications.
    2. Develop mobile sequencing around Oxford Nanopore technology to provide a tool for molecular identification by non-specialists in non-lab environments by generating and matching DNA sequences against our digital reference sequences.
    3. Enable DNA sequencing from formalin-preserved fish collections to generate framework data sets.
    4. Understand genetic drift, morphological variation and species boundaries in microalgae.
  • The generation and analysis of large transcriptome data sets to reconstruct the:

    1. Origin of insects and relatives (Hexapoda) within Pancrustacea.
    2. Evolutionary relationships within the most diverse class of traditional “Crustacea” (Pancrustacea: Malacostraca).
    3. Phylogeny of mayflies (Ephemeroptera).
    4. Phylogeny and higher classification of moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera).
  • The molecular phylogeny of Helicoverpa from museum specimens.

  • The taxonomy and phylogeny of Australias prionine longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae; ABRS-funded collaborative project with Adam Slipinski)
  • The phylogeny of ladybird beetles (Coccinellidae).
  • The optimisation of DNA extractions for degraded DNA from old collection specimens.
  • The miniaturisation of DNA library reactions for Illumina sequencing platforms.
  • The development of novel sequencing strategies (Combinatory Profiling) for low-cost sequencing of many different samples.
  • The use of the novel Nanopore sequencing technology (MinION) for molecular identification and de novo genome assembly for non-model arthropods.

Academic Qualifications

  • 2001

    Diploma [German equivalent of Master of Science]
    University of Tübingen

  • 2006

    Australian National University

Professional Experiences

  • 2007-2010

    Postdoctoral Research Associate
    University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, MD, USA

  • 2010-2013

    Research Scientist / Curator of Lepidoptera
    State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, Germany

  • 2014-present

    Research Team Leader
    Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO