Staff Members with ACPFG

Watson-Haigh, Nathan
PositionResearch Fellow in Bioinformatics
Phone+61 8 8313 2046
Research Interests

Nathan's main research interests are in wheat genomics, small RNA's, reproducible research and scientific computing.


Nathan has almost 15 years experience in the field of bioinformatics with expertise in transcriptomics, system biology, phylogenetics, bioinformatics training, Linux systems administration, high-performance and cloud computing.

His background was first in biology, by undergraduate training, and then in bioinformatics by PhD. During his PhD he investigated the location of the root, the oldest part, of the eukaryotic tree of life. It was here where he learned about phylogenetics and molecular sequence analysis. At this time he was also exposed to high-performance computing infrastructure and the Linux operating system. In addition, he became involved in Open Source projects with contributions to BioPerl in the form of writing unit tests.

Following his PhD he took up a bioinformatics postdoctoral position on a project looking at the range margins of Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. petraea. It was here where Nathan was first exposed to the 'omics. His principle role was to analyse microarray data as well as to integrate datasets coming from transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, population genetics and ecological studies. During this time, Nathan was responsible for the systems administration of several Linux machines and was first exposed to metabolomics data analysis.

Nathan then joined CSIRO as a postdoctoral research fellow using system biology approaches to investigate complex production traits in livestock species. Nathan drew on his prior experiences with microarrays and developed his knowledge in reproducible research and high-performance computing in the analysis of co-expression networks.

Nathan got his first taste of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data when he joined the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) as a senior bioinformatician. It was here where he led efforts to assemble a grapevine  genome, spearheaded efforts to establish an unincorporated bioinformatics interest group in South Australia (BIG SA) and led the establishment of a cloud-based Bioinformatics Training Platform (BTP) in collaboration with Bioplatforms Australia (BPA), CSIRO Bioinformatics Core and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI).

Nathan joined the ACPFG in late 2013. He plays a pivotal role in the development and application of analytical approaches and pipelines to NGS-based wheat transcriptomic data sets. He is responsible for the systems administration of Linux-based scientific computing infrastructure, including a large memory computer, storage and virtual machines.


For an up-to-date list of publications, see my Google Scholar Profile.

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