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Jean-Francois Pombert

Jean-Francois Pombert, Ph.D.

Jean-Francois Pombert
Assistant Professor of Biology
Academic Editor, PLOS ONE






296 Robert A. Pritzker Science Center


Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Universite Laval 2008
PDF in Genomics, Universite Laval 2007-2008
PDF in Genomics, University of British Columbia 2008-2013

Research & Accomplishments 

My research revolves mostly around comparative genomics, with an emphasis on finding the elements that distinguish obligate pathogens from their free-living relatives. I am particularly interested by key protists that could help us better understand the evolution of pathogenicity and by microbiomes and their associated diseases. I am also interested by unknown or poorly understood organisms and work with species widely dispersed across the Tree of Life.


  • Comparative genomics, Computational biology/bioinformatics, High-throughput DNA sequencing


  • Oral microbiome, Green algal genomics, Pathogen genomics


  • IIT College of Science Junior Research Excellence Award (2015)
  • FQRNT/Génome Québec Louis-Berlinguet Postdoctoral Fellowship (2008-2010)
  • Best Teacher, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Universite Laval (2007)
  • CREFSIP Doctoral Scholarship (2001-2002)


  • 2016 del Campo, J, Pombert JF, Šlapeta J, Larkum A, Keeling PJ. The ‘other’ coral symbiont: Ostreobium diversity and distribution. ISME J. 2016 Jul 15. [Epub ahead of print]
  • 2016 Strassert JFH, Tikhonenkov DV, Pombert JF, Kolisko M, Tai V, Mylnikov AP and Keeling PJ. Moramonas marocensis gen. nov., sp. nov.: a jakobid flagellate isolated from desert soil with a bacteria-like, but bloated mitochondrial genome. Open Biol. 6:150239.
  • 2016 Butler RR 3rd, Wang J, Stark BC, and Pombert JF. Complete genome sequences of two interactive moderate thermophiles: Paenibacillus napthalenovorans 32O-Y and Paenibacillus sp. 32O-W. Genome Announc. 4(1):e01717-15.
  • 2016 Schill KM, Wang Y, Butler RR 3rd, Pombert JF, Reddy N, Skinner GE, and Larkin JW. Comparative analysis of Clostridium sporogenes PA3679 isolates obtained from different sources using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and high-throughput sequencing. Appl Environ Microbiol. 82(1):384-393.
  • 2015 Pombert JF, Haag KL, Beidas S, Ebert D and Keeling PJ. The Ordospora colligata genome; evolution of extreme reduction in microsporidia and host-to-parasite horizontal gene transfer. mBio. 6(1):e02400-14.
  • 2014 Pombert JF, Blouin NA, Lane C, Boucias D and Keeling PJ. A lack of parasitic reduction in the obligate parasitic green alga Helicosporidium. PLoS Genetics. 10(5): e1004355.
  • 2014 Sun Y and Pombert JF. Helicosporidia: A genomic snapshot of an early transition to parasitism. Acta Soc Bot Pol. 83(4):377–385.
  • 2014 Haag KL, James TY, Pombert JF, Larsson R, Schaer TMM, Refardt D and Ebert D. Evolution of a morphological novelty occurred before genome compaction in a lineage of extreme parasites. PNAS. 111(43): 15480-15485.
  • 2014 Peyretaillade E, Boucher D, Parisot N, Gasc C, Butler R, Pombert JF, Lerat E and Peyret P. Exploiting the architecture and the features of the microsporidian genomes to investigate diversity and impact of these parasites on ecosystems. Heredity. September 3rd, Advanced access.

Complete publication list »

Professional Societies 

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American Society for Microbiologists (ASM)
  • International Association for Dental Research (IADR), AADR division
  • International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB)
  • Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE)