Search

Home > People > Staff > Academic > Vernon Coyne
Academic Staff

Vernon Coyne

Associate Professor Vernon Coyne
Marine Biotechnology
E-mail:vernon.coyne@uct.ac.za | Telephone: +27 21 650 5071 | Facsimile: +27 21 689 7573

MSc/PhD Projects in Marine Biotechnology
MSc/PhD positions are being offered on two projects in the Molecular and Cell Biology Department of the University of Cape Town (UCT) starting in February 2015. More information...

Vernon Coyne obtained a BSc degree in Microbiology and Zoology from Rhodes University in 1978, a BSc (Hons) degree and a PhD degree in Microbiology from UCT in 1979 and 1985, respectively. In 1986, he left for Washington, D.C. where he worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Microbiology Dept. at Georgetown University. From 1987 until 1990, he was a member of the Centre of Marine Biotechnology at Maryland University where he was a Research Assistant and later a Research Assistant Professor. He returned to the New South Africa in 1991 to take up a position as a Lecturer in the Microbiology Dept. at UCT. He was promoted ad hominem to Senior Lecturer in 1998, Assoc. Prof. in 2006 and became Head of Department in 2007.

Research

Abalone:
The abalone Haliotis midae ingests a diversity of algae. We have found that the digestive tract of H. midae is colonized by highly active polysaccharolytic bacteria which assist in the digestion of seaweed ingested by the abalone. Our recent success in generating gnotobiotic (bacteria free) abalone has enabled systematic investigation of the role these bacteria play with regard to the well-being of H. midae. We have developed probiotics that enhance the growth rate and disease resistance of farmed abalone. Currently, we are elucidating the genetics of the abalone immune system with the use of microarray technology and qPCR.

Seaweed Biotechnology:
The marine alga, Gracilaria gracilis, is an important source of agar which is incorporated as a solidifying agent in nutrient media used to cultivate microorganisms in the laboratory. Very little is known about the pathogens which contributed to the collapse of the Saldanha Bay population in 1989. This project involves characterisation of the bacterial epiphytes colonizing the surface of G. gracilis and the mechanisms which induce their pathogenicity towards the host plant. A second aspect of the project is concerned with the use of recombinant DNA technology to increase the resistance of farmed G. gracilis to disease. Thus, the synthesis and regulation of pathogenesis-related proteins produced by G. gracilis in response to infection is being investigated with the aim of expressing these constitutively in farmed G. gracilis in order to increase their resistance to disease.

Selected Publications

Jaffray, A.E. and Coyne, V.E. (1996). Development of an in situ assay to detect bacterial pathogens of the red alga Gracilaria gracilis (Stackhouse) Steentoft, Irvine et Farnham. J. Appl. Phycology 8, 409-414.

Erasmus, J.H., Cook, P.A. and Coyne, V.E. (1997). The role of bacteria in the digestion of seaweed by the abalone Haliotis midae. Aquaculture 155: 377-386.

Jaffray, A.E., Anderson, R.J. and Coyne, V.E. (1997). Investigation of bacterial epiphytes of the red agar-producing seaweed Gracilaria gracilis (Stackhouse) Steentoft, Irvine et Farnham from Saldanha Bay, South Africa and Lüderitz, Namibia. Botanica Marina 40: 569-576.

Shi, J., Coyne, V.E. and Weiner, R.M. (1997). Identification of an alkaline metalloprotease produced by the hydrothermal vent bacterium Hyphomonas jannaschiana VP3. Microbios 91: 15-26.

Jaffray, A.E. and Coyne, V.E. (1998). The identification and characterisation of Gracilaria gracilis defence genes expressed in response to a bacterial infection. In: New Developments in Marine Biotechnology, 217-219. (Yves Le Gal and Harlyn Halvorson, Eds.).

Ah Tow, L. and Coyne, V.E. (1999). Cloning and characterisation of a novel ompB operon from Vibrio cholerae 569B. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1444: 269-275.

Coyne, V.E. (2000). Marine microbial biodiversity, p.47-49. In: Summary Marine Biodiversity Status Report for South Africa. Durham, B.D. and Pauw, J.C. (eds). National Research Foundation, Pretoria.

Schroeder, D.C., Jaffer, M.A. and Coyne, V.E. (2003). Investigation of the role of a beta(1-4) agarase produced by Pseudoalteromonas gracilis B9 in eliciting disease symptoms in the red alga Gracilaria gracilis. Microbiology 149: 2919-2929.

Iyer, R., De Clerck, O., Bolton, J.J. and Coyne, V.E. (2004). Morphological and taxonomic studies of Gracilaria and Gracilariopsis species (Rhodophyta) from South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 70 (4): 521-539.

Iyer, R., Bolton, J.J. and Coyne, V.E. (2005). Gracilarioid species (Gracilariaceae, Rhodophyta) occurring in southern Africa, with the description of Gracilariopsis funicularis sp. nov. African Journal of Marine Science 27(1): 97-105.

Macey, B.M. and Coyne, V.E. (2005) Improved growth rate and disease resistance in farmed Haliotis midae through probiotic treatment. Aquaculture 245: 249-261.

Iyer, R., Tronchin, E.M., Bolton, J.J. and Coyne, V.E. (2005) Molecular systematics of the Gracilariaceae (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) with emphasis on southern Africa. Journal of Phycology 41: 672-684.

Macey, B.M. and Coyne, V.E. (2006) Colonization of the gastrointestinal tract of the farmed South African abalone Haliotis midae by the probionts Vibrio midae SY9, Cryptococcus sp. SS1, and Debaryomyces hansenii AY1. Marine Biotechnology 8: 246–259.

ten Doeschate, K.I. and Coyne, V.E. (2008) Improved growth rate in farmed Haliotis midae through probiotic treatment. Aquaculture Volume 284, Issues 1-4, Pages 174-179.

Janse van Rensburg, M. and Coyne, V. E. (2008) The role of electron transport in the defence response of the South African abalone, Haliotis midae. Fish & Shellfish Immunology, doi: 10.1016/j.fsi.2008.09.01

Lab Members

Past Members
Jean Erasmus (1996) Role of enteric bacteria in abalone, MSc thesis, UCT (co-supervisor: Prof. P. Cook)
Currently: Private consulting for the abalone industry.

Irmagard Schroeder (1998) Characterisation of the melanin biosynthetic genes from Vibrio cholerae 569B, PhD thesis, UCT
Currently: Student, UCT Accountants' Conversion Course.

Ann Jaffray (1999) The investigation of bacterial pathogens of the red macroalga Gracilaria gracilis and its response to bacterial infection, PhD thesis, UCT
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town.

Declan Schroeder (2001) Isolation and characterization of a ß (1-4) agarase of an epiphytic bacterial pathogen, Pseudoalteromonas gracilis B9, of the red alga, Gracilaria gracilis, PhD thesis, UCT.
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Plymouth, U.K.

Kershini Govender (2001) Population genetic studies of economically important Gracilaria and Gracilariopsis (Rhodophyta) in the south western Cape, MSc thesis, UCT.
Currently: Research assistant, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town.

Lemese Ah Tow (2002) Characterization of the ompB operon of Vibrio cholerae 569B and its role in melanogenesis, PhD thesis, UCT.
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.

Revel Iyer (2002) Systematics of the Gracilariaceae (Rhodophyta) of southern Africa, PhD thesis, UCT.
Currently: EDP Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town.

Jennifer van Wyk (2004), Optimising the growth of Cryptococcus species SS1, a potential probiotic for farmed abalone, MSc thesis, UCT.
Currently: PhD student, Biotechnology Department, University of the Western Cape.

Simon Gebrekeros (2005) Characterisation of nitrogen stress response genes of the marine alga Gracilaria gracilis, MSc thesis, UCT.
Currently: Working in Eritrea.

Kim ten Doeschate (2005) Pseudoalteromonas sp. strain C4 as a probiotic for farmed South African abalone, Haliotis midae, PhD thesis, UCT.
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch.

Brett Macey (2005) Probiotic effect of Vibrio midae SY9, Cryptococcus sp. SS1 and Debaryomyces hansenii AY1 on the growth and disease resistance of farmed Haliotis midae, PhD thesis, UCT.
Currently: Marine Scientist (Marine Aquaculture), Marine and Coastal Management, Cape Town, South Africa.

Lynthia Paul (2006) Melanin production by Vibrio cholerae 569B: its role as a mechanism of protection against oxidative and other environmental stresses, PhD thesis, UCT.
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular & Cell biology, University of Cape Town

Tanya Lebi (2007) Identification of differentially expressed genes in the commercially important agarophyte, Gracilaria gracilis, following nitrogen deprivation, MSc thesis, UCT.
Currently: Microarray Support Scientist, Institute of Women's Health, Department of Gynaecological Oncology, University College London.

Carin de Klerk (2008) Investigation of the role of the extracellular beta-agarase, produced by the bacterial epiphyte Pseudoalteromonas sp. LS2i, in the virulence response towards the agarophyte Gracilaria gracilis, PhD thesis, UCT.

Marike Janse van Rensburg (2008) The role of the cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase III genes in the immune response of the South African abalone, Haliotis midae, MSc thesis, UCT.
Currently: PhD student, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, UCT.

Rael Horwitz (2008) Characterization of an intracellular bacterium infecting the digestive gland of the South African abalone, Haliotis midae, MSc thesis, UCT

Postdoctoral Fellows
Dr Kim ten Doeschate

Students
Bronwyn Arendze-Bailey, PhD student
Rob Huddy, PhD student
Christopher Ealand, PhD student
David Harding, PhD student
Bronwen Cross, PhD student
Rene Naidoo, PhD student
Amelia Reddy, PhD student
Suzanne Botha, PhD student
Taryn Boom, PhD student
Bridget Calder, MSc student
Roslyn Ray, MSc student
Jarrod Lyons, MSc student
Ian Kemp, MSc student
Nodumo Zulu, MSc student

Links

The European Society for Marine Biotechnology