Dr Charles Foster is a Bioinformatics Research Associate in the Virology Research Lab at University of New South Wales/Prince of Wales Hospital.
Dr Foster completed his Bachelor of Science (Advanced) degree at the University of Sydney, receiving 1st Class Honours and the University Medal for his research into the evolution of the Australian flora. Dr Foster’s PhD research focused heavily on developing bioinformatics skills for research into the evolution of different biological groups, with a specific focus on using phylogenomics to understand the evolution of flowering plants. Dr Foster received an award for the best PhD thesis in his year of completion.
Dr Foster’s previous postdoctoral research focused on using transcriptomics to understand the changes in gene expression that underpin pregnancy in different vertebrate groups (mammals, lizards, sharks). Currently, Dr Foster is responsible for developing pipelines for genomic analysis of viruses, expecially SARS-CoV-2, within the Virology Research Laboratory. These duties include routine genomic sequencing of viral samples from positive COVID-19 cases, as well as urgent cases flagged by NSW Health.
Related research interests include:
- Establishment of analytical pipelines to accurately capture the genomic variation in viral/bacterial samples
- Development of best practices for ensuring analytical consistency of genomics analyses between different sites/jurisdictions
- Researching the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in real-time to understand how emerging pathogens evolve
- Tracking the accumulation of mutations in SARS-CoV-2 genomes over time to understand how evolutionary dynamics are influenced by public health measures
- Understanding the extent to which convergence accumulation of mutations in SARS-CoV-2 might influence the spread of the virus
- 2019: Fudan University Partnership Collaboration Awards
- 2018: Jabez King Heydon Memorial Prize in Biological Sciences: The most meritorious PhD awarded in the preceding twelve months (University of Sydney)
- 2017: Outstanding Student Award (International Botanical Congress)
- 2017: Faculty of Science Postgraduate Research Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement (University of Sydney)
- 2017: Postgraduate Excellence Prize: Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Sciences (University of Sydney
- 2016: Australasian Conservation Taxonomy Award
- 2015: Hansjörg Eichler Scientific Research Fund
- 2015: Faculty of Science Three Minute Thesis competition (runner up) (University of Sydney)
- 2015: Royal Society of NSW Scholarship (Royal Society of NSW)
- 2014: Australian Postgraduate Award (Australian Government)
- 2014: University of Sydney Merit Award (University of Sydney)
- 2014: Charles Gilbert Heydon Travelling Fellowship in Biological Sciences (Offered) (University of Sydney)
- 2013: University Medal (University of Sydney)
- 2013: Professor Spencer Smith-White Prize in Biology Honours (University of Sydney)
- 2013: Ilma Brewer Prize in Biology Honours (University of Sydney)
- 2013: Walter Reid Memorial Prize (University of Sydney)
- 2013: E. N. O’Reilly Memorial Prize in Biology (Plant Physiology) (University of Sydney)
- 2013: G. S. Caird Scholarship for Botany (University of Sydney)
- 2012: Hansjörg Eichler Scientific Research Fund
- Smith NMA, Yagound B, Remnant EJ, [and 11 others, including Foster CSP] (2020) Paternally-biased gene expression follows kin?selected predictions in female honey bee embryos. Molecular Ecology 29:1523–1533.
- Foster CSP, Thompson MB, Van Dyke JU, Brandley MC, Whittington CM (2020) Emergence of an evolutionary innovation: Gene expression differences associated with the transition between oviparity and viviparity. Molecular Ecology 29:1615–1327. Note: In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric.
- Renner MAM, Foster CSP, Miller JT, Murphy DJ (2020) Increased diversification rates are coupled with higher rates of climate space exploration in Australian Acacia (Mimosoideae). New Phytologist 226:609–622.
- Duchêne DA, Tong KJ, Foster CSP, Duchêne S, Lanfear R, Ho SYW (2019) Linking branch lengths across sets of loci provides the highest statistical support for phylogenetic inference. Molecular Biology and Evolution 37:1202–1210.
- Yang L, Su D, Chang X, Foster CSP, Sun L, Huang CH, Zhou X, Zeng L, Ma H, Zhong B (2020) Phylogenomic insights into deep phylogeny of angiosperms based on broad nuclear gene sampling. Plant Communications 1:100027.
- Nie Y, Foster CSP, Zhu T, Yao R, Duchêne DA, Ho SYW, Zhong B (2020) Accounting for uncertainty in the evolutionary timescale of green plants through clock-partitioning and fossil calibration strategies. Systematic Biology 69:1–16.
- Foster CSP (2019) Digest: The phylogenetic distance effect: Understanding parasite host switching. Evolution 73:1494–1495.
- van der Merwe M, Yap JYS, Bragg JG, Cristofolini C, Foster CSP, Ho, SY, Rossetto M (2019) Assemblage accumulation curves: A framework for resolving species accumulation in biological communities using DNA sequences. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 10:971–981.
- Foster CSP, Henwood MJ, Ho SYW (2018) Plastome sequences and exploration of tree-space help to resolve the phylogeny of riceflowers (Thymelaeaceae: Pimelea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 127:156 – 167.
- Foster CSP, and Ho SYW (2017) Strategies for partitioning clock models in phylogenomic dating: application to the angiosperm evolutionary timescale. Genome Biology and Evolution 9:2752–2763. Note: Named as a research highlight in Genome Biology and Evolution’s virtual issue on computational biology (2019)
- Sauquet H, von Balthazar M, Magallón S, [and 33 others, including Foster CSP] (2017) The ancestral flower of angiosperms and its early diversification. Nature Communications 8:16047
- Foster CSP, et al. (2017) Evaluating the impact of genomic data and priors on Bayesian estimates of the angiosperm evolutionary timescale. Systematic Biology 66:338–351. Note: Named among the top 10 high impact papers in Systematic Biology for 2017 and 2018.
- Foster CSP, et al. (2016) Molecular phylogenetics provides new insights into the systematics of Pimelea and Thecanthes (Thymelaeaceae). Australian Systematic Botany 23:185 – 196.
- Foster CSP (2016) The evolutionary history of flowering plants. Proceedings and Journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales 149:65–82. Note: Publication associated with successful Royal Society of NSW Scholarship.
- Duchêne S, Foster CSP, Ho SYW (2015) Estimating the number and assignment of clock models in analyses of multigene data sets. Bioinformatics 32:1281–1285.
- Ho SYW, Tong KJ, Foster CSP, et al. (2015) Biogeographic calibrations for the molecular clock. Biology Letters 11:20150194.
- Foster CSP, et al. (2014) Molecular data support Orianthera: a new genus of Australian Loganiaceae. Telopea 16:149–158.
- Foster CSP, et al. (2014) Molecular systematics and biogeography of Logania R. Br. (Loganiaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 78:324–333.
- Foster CSP, & Conn BJ (2013) Status of Logania imbricata (Guillaumin) Steenis & Leenh. (Loganiaceae). Telopea 15:1–4.