CHRISTOPHER D. SINIGALLIANO, PH.D.
➤ Research Microbiologist
Dr. Chris Sinigalliano is the principal investigator in charge of the molecular and environmental microbiology program at AOML. His lab has developed a number of analytical methods for molecular microbial source tracking of host-specific fecal indicator bacteria to measure and track microbial pollutants in the marine environment. His lab works in partnership with the US EPA, USGS, and a range of academic institutions to field test and validate a wide variety of source tracking and other molecular technologies to measure and characterize microbial pollution and other harmful microbial life that can negatively impact both environmental and public health, including fecal contaminants, pathogenic microorganisms, and harmful algae in the marine environment. Dr. Sinigalliano oversees an active technology transfer program to provide training and assistance to move this emerging technology into the hands of other federal, state, and local agencies, academic organizations, and commercial public-sector companies. His lab also conducts molecular-based and ecosystem-focused research on how the marine microbial populations influence the function, biodiversity, health, and connectivity of marine ecosystems, including shoreline, coastal, estuarine, open ocean, and coral reef ecosystems. He oversees a growing collaborative program of marine microbiome metagenomics research, employing state-of-the-art Next-Generation-Sequencing and metagenomics bioinformatics analyses to better characterize and understand the biodiversity, community structure and function of marine microbiomes, particularly from critical and sensitive ecosystems such as coral reefs. As part of this effort, he oversees the development at AOML of the Coral Genomic Observatory Network (CGON) and the AOML Environmental ‘Omics Bioinformatics Center. He has been funded by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program to metagenomically characterize critical sentinel coral reefs and to conduct microbial source tracking to better understand the factors influencing resilience in reefs to changing environmental conditions, and the exposure and impacts of land-based sources of pollutants to these reefs. In addition, he serves as the federal NOAA facilitator for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Water Resources Priority Issue Team, and he serves on the Bacteria Water Quality Technical Advisory Committee (BacTAC) for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Dr. Sinigalliano is a research microbiologist with the Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division at AOML. He earned his MS in Microbiology from the University of South Florida in 1989, and a PhD from Florida International University in 1996 for his molecular research into horizontal gene transfer among marine bacteria and molecular characterization of marine ammonia-oxidizing bacteria.