Dr. Rafe Lyall

Dr Rafe Lyall

Position: Posdoctoral researcher, Department Bioinformatics and Mathematical modelling, CPSBB

Dr. Lyall received his PhD from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His doctoral work involved the sequencing and assembly of the desiccation transcriptome of the Southern African resurrection plant Xerophyta humilis. As a postdoctoral researcher he subsequently sequenced the seed maturation transcriptome of this species, providing the first dataset to directly compare desiccation in the seed and vegetative stages in a resurrection plant. His research background includes components of both lab work and bioinformatics, with a shift in focus towards NGS and omics-based research over his postdoctoral career. The research interests of Dr Lyall are centred on plant stress tolerance and evolutionary development, particularly as they relate to desiccation tolerance seen in resurrection plants such as Xerophyta and the Bulgarian species, Haberlea rhodopensis. He has been a postdoctoral researcher at CPSBB since 2018. The University of Cape Town is a partner institution of the RESIST project. Therefore, Dr. Lyall has been seconded at UCT in the lab of one of his previous PhD supervisors, Prof. Nicola Illing, since late 2019. Given his prior experience working with Xerophyta his role has been to help oversee the Xerophyta-related aspects of the project, as well as to train local and visiting students from other partner organisations. Over the course of his stay, several aspects related to the growth and experimental treatment of the species of interest, X. elegans, and several other Xerophyta species, have been optimised.