A/Prof Christian Voolstra

Dr. Christian R Voolstra research area is environmental genomics with a focus on acclimation and adaptation of marine invertebrates. In particular, Dr. Voolstra studies coral metaorganism function combining ecological, environmental, microbial, and molecular approaches. Corals are metaorganisms composed of the coral host, intracellular photosynthetic dinoflagellate symbionts, and associated microbiota. Together these so-called coral holobionts form the keystone species of reef ecosystems. His most recent research has particularly advanced knowledge of how the bacterial microbiome contributes to coral animal host acclimation and adaptation. His work on metaorganism function and climate change is featured in high profile periodicals and he was recently featured a Science Hero at Nature/Frontiers. Dr. Voolstra has published close to 100 journal papers and book chapters and holds patents related to bioactive lead structures from marine organisms. Dr. Voolstra is a Scientific Coordinator of the Tara Pacific consortium, a steering committee member of the Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA), and a KAUST representative of the Reef Future Genomics (ReFuGe) 2020 consortium. Dr. Voolstra received his PhD at the Institute for Genetics in Cologne, Germany in 2006 and was a Postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Merced from 2007-2009. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Marine Science at KAUST’s Red Sea Research Center in 2009, and in 2015 was promoted to Associate Professor. In 2016, Dr. Voolstra became appointed Associate Director of the Red Sea Research Center at KAUST.