Prior to joining SIO, Jeff McQuaid received a BS in biology from St. Lawrence University and a MS in microbiology from the University of Arizona.  Following his undergraduate degree he received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study the limnology of the world’s deepest lakes, shuttling between research stations on Lakes Baikal, Tanganyika and Malawi. After his MS degree he worked for the Diversa Corporation in San Diego and the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland.  He returned to San Diego in 2008 and started in the SIO Marine Biology Program in 2010.  His research focuses on using environmental genomics and model organisms to unravel how marine phytoplankton acquire iron from the environment, particularly in the oceans surrounding Antarctica.

Research Interests:

  • Biology of polar regions and the Southern Ocean
  • Environmental metagenomics of marine ecosystems
  • Iron uptake and phytoplankton physiology
  • The development of new molecular tools for functional genomics

Jeff’s research interests grew out of the data amassed from several expeditions to Antarctica.  Metagenomic analyses of samples he collected in the oceans surrounding Antarctica revealed the presence of genes of unknown function thought to be involved in iron uptake.   These genes have been identified in a model organism, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, and Jeff is currently characterizing the functions of those genes through reverse genetics, radioactive uptake kinetics, and comparative genomics and phylogenetic analyses.

Selected Publications:

Bertrand, E.M., McCrow, J.P., Moustafa, A., Zheng, H., McQuaid, J., Delmont, T., Post, A.F., Sipler, R., Spackeen, J.L., Xu, K., Bronk, D.A., Hutchins, D.A., Allen, A.E. Phytoplanktont-bacterial interactions mediate micronutrient colimitation at the coastal Antarctic sea ice edge. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 10.1073/pnas.1501615112

Morrissey J, Sutak R, Paz-Yepes J, Tanaka A, Moustafa A, Veluchamy A, Thomas Y, Botebol H, Bouget F-Y, McQuaid, J.B, Tirichine L, Allen. A.E, Lesuisse E., Bowler, C. A Novel Protein, Ubiquitous in Marine Phytoplankton, Concentrates Iron at the Cell Surface and Facilitates Uptake. Current Biology 2015, 25:364-371. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.12.004