Dr Nela Rosic (DECRA Research Fellow)


I grew up in Serbia and start thinking about Science due to my love for genetics. I received a BSc (Hons First Class) in Molecular Biology and Physiology and a MSc in Plant Biology from the University of Belgrade. After moving to Brisbane, I completed a PhD at the University of Queensland. I have been awarded with a UQ Postdoctoral Fellowship for Women (2011-2013) and a prestigious Discovery Early Career Researcher Award by ARC (2012-2014).

Research Interests

  • Reprogramming Symbiodinium epigenome for higher temperature conditions
    Coral reefs represent one of the most diverse marine ecosystems housing an estimated 25% of all marine species. Exposure to thermal stress has been recognized as an important abiotic factor leading to the loss of algal symbionts from coral tissue and coral bleaching. The goal of this project is to enhance our understanding of the capacity of coral algae to tolerate thermal stress using an ancient epigenetic mechanism DNA methylation for reprogramming their epigenomes.
  • Coral algae as a source of UV-absorbing compounds
    Reef-building corals form mutualistic symbioses with unicellular photosynthetic dinoflagellate of the genus Symbiodinium. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation especially when combined with thermal stress, has been recognized as an important abiotic factor leading to oxidative stress and break down of the coral-algal endosymbiosis. In nature, many marine organisms use Mycosporine-like Amino Acids (MAAs) as biological sunscreens in UV protection and the prevention of oxidative stress. Corals acquire MAAs from their symbiotic algae and diet. Until now the complete enzymatic pathway of MAA synthesis is not known nor is the extent of their regulation by environmental conditions.
  • Transcriptomics for detection of stress in coral
    Changes to the environment as a result of human activities can result in a range of impacts on reef building corals that include reduced concentrations of algal symbionts and coral bleaching. We investigate the expression of genes in the colonies of the reef-building coral during environmental perturbations including elevated sea temperatures and nutrient enrichment. Our results will provide new insights into the transcriptional profiles of the coral holobiont and transcriptional regulation prior bleaching. In addition, we will identify a range of potential stress biomarkers that could be used for the development of the early warning signs of stress in reef-building corals.



Book Chapter

  • Rosic, Nela (2013). DNA shuffling of cytochromes P450 for indigoid pigment production. In Ian R. Phillips, Elizabeth A. Shepherd and Paul R. Ortiz de Montellano (Ed.), Cytochrome P450 protocols 3rd ed. (pp. 205-224) New York, NY, United States: Humana Press. doi:10.1007/978-1-62703-321-3_18

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Rosic, N. and Dove, S. (2013). How can dinoflagellates help in reducing coral reef vulnerability to environmental stress?. In: M. Dennis Hanisak, James A. Nienow and Akshinthala K. S. K. Prasad, Abstracts of Papers to be Presented at the 10th International Phycological Congress. 10th International Phycological Congress, Orlando, Florida, United States, (94-94). 4-10 August 2013.

  • Rosic, Nela, Pernice, Mathieu, Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove and Dove, Sophie (2011). Differential Regulation of Heat Shock Proteins and Cytochrome P450 Genes in Symbiotic Dinoflagellates Under Thermal Stress. In: Fifth European Phycological Congress: EPC5 Programme and Abstracts. 5th European Phycological Congress, Rhodes, Greece, (145-145). 04-09 September 2011. doi:10.1080/09670262.2011.613192

  • Rosic, Nela, Kaniewska, Pauline, Ling, Edmund, Edwards, David, Dove, Sophie and Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove (2011). Transcriptomics of the coral-algal symbiosis in response to environmental stress. In: Fifth European Phycological Congress: EPC5 Programme and Abstracts. 5th European Phycological Congress, Rhodes, Greece, (97-97). 04-09 September 2011. doi:10.1080/09670262.2011.613190

  • Rosic, Nedeljka, Lonhienne, Thierry G.A., DeVoss, James J. and Gillam, Elizabeth M.J. (2003). Directed evolution of mammalian cytochrome P450 enzymes involved in xenobiotic metabolism. In: Drug Metabolism Reviews: Proceedings 8th European Meeting of the International-Society-for-the-Study-of-Xenobiotics (ISSX). 8th European Meeting of the International-Society-for-the-Study-of-Xenobiotics (ISSX), Dijon, France, (46-46). 27 April – 1 May, 2003. doi:10.1081/DMR-120020120