Dr Charles K. Lee

Senior Lecturer (Biological Sciences); Director (DNA Sequencing)

Qualifications: BSc (Life Science) Tsing-Hua Taiwan, PhD Waikato

Personal Website:

Research Interests

I study the microbial ecology of a wide range of unusual ecosystems, including deep-sea hydrothermal vents and the Antarctic Dry Valleys, using molecular genetic and bioinformatic tools.

I'm interested in the development and validation of novel molecular techniques and bioinformatic analyses, and I use them in conjunction with geochemistry to examine the interactions between microbial communities and their environments.

View my Google Scholar profile here.

Research Supervised


  • Payyakkal Viswam, Jayadev (2016): The role of the gut microbiome of the Huhu grub in lignocellulose breakdown. (chief supervisor Ian McDonald).
  • Wakerley, Georgia (in progress): Human impact on the McMurdo Dry Valley soils of Antarctica: extending the limits of forensic DNA detection. (chief supervisor Craig Cary).
  • Monteiro, Maria (in progress): Microbial nitrification in Antarctic Dry Valleys. (chief supervisor Craig Cary).

MSc (Research)

  • Juwono, Joshua (in progress): Enhancement of “flavours” through enzymatic release of glutamate.
  • Hu, Xiaoxue (in progress): Genetic tool to detect three New Zealand freshwater mussels (Echyridella menziesii, Echyridella aucklandica, Echyridella onekaka) in environmental DNA.
  • Noble, Anya (in progress): Impact of the Mānuka phyllosphere on Mānuka honey quality
  • Punjabi, Bhavna (in progress): The microbiomes of Mānuka plants

Teaching Commitments


Antarctica; Biochemistry; Biotechnology; Environmental Biochemistry; Microbiology

Recent Publications

  • Archer, S. D. J., McDonald, I. R., Herbold, C. W., Lee, C. K., Niederberger, T. S., & Cary, S. C. (2016). Temporal, regional and geochemical drivers of microbial community variation in the melt ponds of the Ross Sea region, Antarctica. Polar Biology, 39(2), 267-282. doi:10.1007/s00300-015-1780-2

  • Bollard-Breen, B., Brooks, J. D., Jones, M. R. L., Robertson, J., Betschart, S., Kung, O., . . . Pointing, S. B. (2015). Application of an unmanned aerial vehicle in spatial mapping of terrestrial biology and human disturbance in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, East Antarctica. Polar Biology, 38(4), 573-578. doi:10.1007/s00300-014-1586-7

  • Archer, S. D., McDonald, I. R., Herbold, C. W., Lee, C. K., & Cary, C. S. (2015). Benthic microbial communities of coastal terrestrial and ice shelf Antarctic meltwater ponds.. Frontiers in Microbiology, 6, 485. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00485 Open Access version: hdl:10289/9424

  • Yung, C. C. M., Chan, Y., Lacap, D. C., Perez-Ortega, S., de los Rios-Murillo, A., Lee, C. K., . . . Pointing, S. B. (2014). Characterization of chasmoendolithic community in Miers Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Microbial Ecology, 68(2), 351-359. doi:10.1007/s00248-014-0412-7

View All research publications by Charles Lee

Contact Details

Room: TRU.G.17
Phone: +64 7 838 4241