Dr Jana Sperschneider

ARC DECRA Research Fellow
ANU College of Science

Research interests

I apply my analytical, collaborative and multi-disciplinary skills to a wide range of interesting biological problems. Some of my current research interests are:

  • Interactions between plants and their pathogens with a focus on comparative genomics, evolution and infection mechanisms
  • Application of machine learning to protein function prediction, such as effector prediction and subcellular localization prediction
  • Achieving chromosome-scale assemblies of various species with long read sequencing and chromosome conformation capture data for spatial/temporal understanding of genome structure
  • Function of small RNAs in host-pathogen interactions and relationships between molecule structure and function

I have released several widely used software tools for effector prediction using machine learning (http://effectorp.csiro.au/; http://apoplastp.csiro.au/), for plant and effector localization (http://localizer.csiro.au/) as well as for RNA structure prediction (http://dotknot.csse.uwa.edu.au/; http://knotseeker.csse.uwa.edu.au/). I am an accredited Software Carpentry instructor, I have taught Python in various short courses and I am passionate about reproducible and collaborative science.


I am a bioinformatician who uses computational techniques to drive knowledge discovery in biology. I completed a M.Sc. in Computer Science with a focus on Bioinformatics at the University of Freiburg, Germany. In 2008, I commenced a Ph.D. at the University of Western Australia in which I developed novel methods for the computational prediction of non-coding RNA structure. In 2012, I joined CSIRO as a Postdoctoral Fellow to work on plant-pathogen interactions. In 2018, I joined the Australian National University as a Research Fellow at the Biological Data Science Institute and was awarded a 2019 ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) to uncover how rust fungi cause devastating plant diseases.

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Updated:  06 April 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers