Our research is currently supported by the NSF CAREER award (DBI-1652164), the NIH AREA award (1R15GM114706) and the NIU Research & Artistry Award

1. Bioinformatics tool development:

ORFan study (NIH 1R15GM114706): We develop new bioinformatics tools for studying orphan genes and horizontaly transferred genes in plant, microbial and meta-genomes to understand their evolution

- We developed ORFanFinder, a software and web server to identify taxonomically restricted orphan genes and classify genes of a genome into different age groups

- We developed HGT-Finder, a software to identify horizontaly transferred genes in fungi

CAZyme study (NSF DBI-1652164): We develop new bioinformatics tools to allow automated annotation of genomes for CAZymes

- We developed and maintain the web resource dbCAN, dedicated to functional domain-based CAZyme annotation for newly sequenced genomes/metagenomes.

- We developed and maintain the PlantCAZyme database to provide pre-computed CAZyme sequence and annotation data for all sequenced plant and algal genomes

2. Evolution of plant cell walls:

- We are sequencing a charophyote green alga zygnma circumcarinatum to understand how plant cell walls have evolved from algae to land plants

- We study the phylogeny of cell wall-related genes (encoding enzymes, transcription factors, transporters, ncRNAs etc.) involved in plant cell wall synthesis and degradation to understand how plant cell walls have evolved.

- Carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes): these enzymes are responsible for the synthesis, degradation, modification and recognition of all carbohydrates on Earth.

- We identify important industrial interested enzymes, e.g. CAZymes by bioinformatics mining of genomic and metagenomic data