Declan is an MBA Senior Research Fellow and Director of the newly constituted MBA Culture Collection. He has over 20 years of research experience as a molecular biologist in the area of virology, biodiversity, pathology and genomics – including the use of genome annotation and genomic technologies (CPR genetics and Next-generation sequencing tools) to study key biological processes.
Declan graduated from the Department of Microbiology, University of Cape Town (UCT), in 1994. He obtained his PhD in 2000 in Molecular & Cellular Biology (UCT) before taking up a postdoctoral research position in Dr Willie Wilson’s laboratory at the MBA in 2001. His background in virology, molecular biology and genomics has equipped him with the tools to address fundamental research questions in both the marine and terrestrial environments.
He established his own research group at the MBA in 2004. Amongst his notable achievements to date is the work that led to the identification of a new virus, Coccolithoovirus, responsible for the demise of ecologically important coccolithophore blooms. His current research is looking at the role of host-virus interactions in structuring the whole community in the marine pelagic environment, while at the same time focussing down on the molecular interactions in two model systems: the phaeoviruses and their seaweed hosts and the picorna-like viruses and their hymenopteran hosts.