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Dr Jimmy Breen

Telephone +61 8 8313 9228
Building Santos Petroleum Building
Floor/Room 4 18
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Robinson Research Institute

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Biography/ Background

I am a the head of the Bioinformatics facility at the Robinson Research Institute and member of the University of Adelaide's Bioinformatics Hub. My expertise is primarily in next-generation sequencing and genomics research. I have over 10 years experience dealing with data in a wide variety of fields such as cereal genomics, ancient DNA, evolutionary biology, metagenomics and epigenetics. I am also a lecturer in Bioinformatics in the Faculty of Sciences's Master of Biotechnology course. I was previously a Bioinformatician and genomics researcher at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA and the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

As a PhD candidate I researched genome assembly strategies in organisms with complex genome structures such as bread wheat. Wheat has a allo-hexaploid genome structure, over 90% repetitive sequence and is over 17 billion pairs (5x larger than the human genome). As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Zurich, Switzerland I aimed to reduce complexity within a chromosome arm by producing a physical map of chromosome 1AS as part of the European Union's 7th framework project 'Triticeae Genome' (

My last postdoctoral research project investigated ancient DNA and the analysis of plant remains uncovered by archaeologists in Armenia. Areni-1 is a cave located south-east of the Armenian captial of Yeveran and contains a large array of well-preserved plant samples from as far back as the Chalcolithic (8,000-5,100 years ago). The cave has uncovered some interesting artefacts including the world's oldest shoe and the earlist known winery

My research interests are in epigenetics, medical genomics and next-generation sequencing applications, working with biomedical researchers located within the Robinson Research Institute. I also have extensive experience in open-access data projects, leading the development of an open-access genomic data repository called the Online Ancient Genome Repository (OAGR).


For additional information about me, please visit my githubIO site


Postdoctoral employment

2006 - 2009 PhD Candidate (Bioinformatics) Centre for Comparative Genomics, Murdoch University

2009 - 2012 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Institute for Plant Biology, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

2012 - 2013 Bioinformatics Officer Australian Genome Research Facility, Brisbane, Australia

2013 - 2016 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Australian Centre for Ancient DNA/School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide

2016 - Current Head, Bioinformatics Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide



Memberships and Awards

2015 Inaugral committee member and communications officer of the Epigenetics Consortium of South Australia (EpiCSA) 

2010 - present Member of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC)

2010 IWGSC PAG Workshop Early Career Speaker travel award



2009 PhD in Bioinformatics

Murdoch University, Western Australia

Doctoral thesis titled 'Assembly of a Complex Genome: Defining Elements of Structure and Function'


2006 Bachelor of Science (honours) majoring in Molecular Biology

Murdoch University, Western Australia

Honours thesis titled 'Characterising biological features contained in a novel wheat BAC clone using comparative genomics and bioinformatics'


Research Funding


2015-2016 Partner Investigator

AGRF Pilot program in Genomics for Agriculture and Environmental Sectors

Dr Cassandra Collins; Dr Carlos Marcelino RodriguezLopez; Dr Roberta De Bei; Dr Jimmy Breen; Associate Prof. Timothy Cavagnaro; Associate Prof. Matthew Gilliham; Associate Prof. Andrew Metcalfe

The eco-genomics of wine terroir


2013-2015 Partner Investigator

ARC Discovery Grant (DP130104227)

Prof Michael J Wilkinson; Dr James M Breen; Dr Thomas F Higham; Dr Ron Pinhasi

Reconstructing wheat evolution using ancient DNA


2014-2016 Collaborator

ARC Linkage Grant (LP130100648)

Prof Alan Cooper, Prof Michael Wilkinson, Dr Matthew Gilliham, Dr John Stephen, A/Prof David Salt, Prof Ron Pinhasi, Prof Thomas Higham, Mr Daniel Densham

Identifying the diversity and evolution of loci associated with adaptation to aridity/heat and salinity in ancient cereal crops



2013-2014 Partner Investigator

Waite Research Institute Platform Technologies

Dr. Cassandra Collins; Dr. Roberta De Bei; Dr. Carlos Marcelino Rodriguez Lopez; Dr. James Breen

We prefer them old: Epigenetic control of wine quality in response to grapevine age


2013-2014 Partner Investigator

University of Adelaide Interdisciplinary Research Funding (IRF)

Dr. Iain Searle; Dr. Cassandra Collins; Dr. Carlos Marcelino Rodriguez Lopez; Dr. James Breen

RNA directed epigenetics in grapevines- a paradigm sh¡ft for plant and animal breeding



For publications look at my Google Scholar Profile:

Entry last updated: Wednesday, 2 Mar 2016

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