Molecular Communication Group

University of the Sunshine Coast



The Molecular Communication Research Group is focused on decoding the molecular toolkit that underlies cell communication systems. These include hormones and pheromone systems involved in growth, reproduction and metabolism of fish, starfish, squid, snail, sea cucumber and sponge. This multidisciplinary approach to research integrates genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, cell biology and behaviour methods.


With rapid advancements in science, the use of molecular biology is fast becoming a preferred method for implementing and integrating to large scale projects in both research and industry. Applications of our studies are limitless and we are constantly seeking collaborative partners to expand our repertoire of expertise and projects.





The Molecular Communication Research Group, formerly and still recognised as The Cummins Research Group, engage in research focused on decoding the molecular “toolkit” that underlies animal chemical communication systems.
His multidisciplinary approach to research, which integrates genomic, proteomic, cell biology and behaviour methods, often leads to exciting outcomes that answer fundamentally important biological questions.


Current research projects being conducted by the group include investigations into aquatic pheromone communications, neurobiology and reproductive biology of terrestrial and marine pests, chemosensation in the marine environment, aqua cultural yield enhancement using molecular biology techniques, molecular basis of growth, evolutionary divergence of olfactory receptors and sponge peptide communication.



Genomic organization of Hox and ParaHox clusters in the echinoderm, Acanthaster planci.



Baughman KW, McDougall C, Cummins SF, Hall M, Degnan BM, Satoh N, Shoguchi E.


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Neuropeptides encoded by the genomes of the Akoya pearl oyster Pinctata fucata and Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas: a bioinformatic and peptidomic survey.



Stewart MJ, Favrel P, Rotgans BA, Wang T, Zhao M, Sohail M, O'Connor WA, Elizur A, Henry J,Cummins SF.


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Analysis of the central nervous system transcriptome of the eastern rock lobster Sagmariasus verreauxi reveals its putative neuropeptidome.



Ventura T, Cummins SF, Fitzgibbon Q, Battaglene S, Elizur A.


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COTS alarm response to the Giant Triton



Dr Scott Cummins

Research group leader.

Dr Utpal Bose

Metabolomics specialist.

Dr Min Zhao


Dr Tianfan Wang

Proteomics specialist.

PhD: Jorge Amat

Project Title: The making of a gonad: the molecular components that regulate gonad development in tilapia (order perciform).

PhD: Kevin Adamson

Project Title: Investigation of metabolic regulatory genes and hormones in pest snails.

PhD: Michael Hammond

Project Title: The molecular basis for multicellularity; decoding the role of peptide signalling in the ancient sea sponge Amphimedon queenslandica.

PhD: Bec Roberts

Project Title: Molecular biology of olfactory communication in Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS): from pheromones to chemoreceptors.

PhD: Di Liang

Project Title: The mollusc olfactory toolkit: an investigation of the molecular mechanism of olfaction in gastropods.

PhD: Meaghan Smith

Project Title: Molecular understanding of Neuropeptides and Neurotransmitters used by the Crown of Thorns Starfish, Acanthaster planci.

Honours: Bronwyn Rotgans

Project Title: The molecular basis of complex tissue regeneration in Crown-of Thorns Seastar limbs and the ultrastructure of their nervous system.

Contact Details

Quick Contact

Scott Cummins

Email :

Call : (07) 5456 5501

Address :

90 Sippy Downs Dr, Sippy Downs QLD 4556


University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast QLD