Western University BiologyWestern Science


Biology Research at Western

Research conducted by faculty in the Department of Biology, and associated Adjunct faculty covers a wide spectrum of topics.  Broadly speaking, however, faculty in the Department of Biology can be grouped into four major research clusters, based on self-identified cross interest (See Research Network diagram). These clusters are loosely labeled as “Animal Physiology”, “Cell and Molecular Biology”, “Ecology and Evolution” and “Plant Stress Biology”, though there is significant inter-connectedness. An overarching theme is the exploration of how organisms respond and adapt to changing environments.

Animal Physiology

Research in animal physiology is focused on understanding how animals work at all levels of organisation, from molecules through mitochondria and cells, to whole organism function and performance. Our animal physiologists are world leaders in the study of thermal biology, exercise and migration. We focus on a range of organisms, from snails, insects and fish to birds and mammals, addressing questions related to environment and evolution.

Faculty and Adjunct Faculty Listing

Chris Guglielmo - Ecological and evolutionary physiology of birds and bats

Research:Current research focuses on the physiology of endurance flight and stopover refueling in migratory birds and bats.

Facilities:Advanced Facility for Avian Research ( AFAR), Field Laboratory for Integrative Ecological Research (FLIER)

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/guglielmo.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x 81204

Email: cguglie2@uwo.ca

Louise Milligan - Physiology and biochemistry of fish

Research:Studies focus on the physiological response of muscle to intense exercise, as a model to understanding metabolic regulation and potential limitations to swimming performance in fish.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/milligan.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x 83869

Email: milligan@uwo.ca

Ian Scott - Insect metabolism and insecticide resistance

Research:Assessment of insecticide resistance development in field populations, biochemical measures of insect metabolism, screening of insecticidal activity of plant extract.

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 457-1470 x 281

Email: ian.scott@agr.gc.ca

Brent Sinclair - Insect physiology at low temperatures

Research:Insect thermal biology; Insect-yeast interactions; Polar biology; Arctic spiders; Applied thermal biology; Sterile insect releases; Overwinter biology; Functional genomics.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/sinclair.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x 83138

Email: bsincla7@uwo.ca

Jim Staples - Physiology and biochemistry of mammalian torpor and hibernation

Research:Studies focus on the strategies used by endothermic animals to deal with cold environments.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/staples.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x 84057

Email: jfstaple@uwo.ca

Cell Biology & Genetics

A variety of model systems including Schizosaccharomyces, Arabidopsis, Drosophila, Xenopus, zebrafish, mice and cell culture have provided faculty members, their graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Cell Biology and Genetics research group, the unique opportunity to do cutting edge research in areas of basic biological and biomedical sciences.  These efforts have led to significant discoveries related to the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling cytokinesis, early development, morphogenesis, cancer progression, aging, neurological disorders, and the evolution of genes and genomes.  In addition, our extensive collaborations with experts both within and outside the Western community has contributed to making the Cell Biology and Genetics research group an exciting and dynamic place to conduct highly innovative and interactive research.

Faculty and Adjunct Faculty Listing

Yuhai Cui - Genetic regulation of seed storage proteins

Research:Regulation of Soybean Storage Protein Genes - A Genetics Approach

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 953-6622

Email: yuhai.cui@agr.gc.ca

Robert Cumming - Redox proteomics and cell biology

Research: Studies the changes in brain metabolism and antioxidant defence that occur with age.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/cumming.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x81578

Email: rcummin5@uwo.ca

Sashko Damjanovski - Developmental biology - Extracellular matrix remodelling

Research:Researches Extracellular Matrix (ECM), which are proteins required for proper cell adhesion to detrmine their role in cell fate.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/damjanovski.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x84704

Email: sdamjano@uwo.ca

Sangeeta Dhaubhadel - Gene expression, regulation and seed quality

Research:Identification of Factors Regulating Soybean Seed Quality

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 457-1470 (670)

Email: sangeeta.dhaubhadel@agr.gc.ca

Cam Donly - Molecular genetics and pesticide resistance in insects

Research:Researches novel targets in the lepidopteran nervous system for development of pest specific insecticides

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 457-1470 (277)

Email: cam.donly@agr.gc.ca

Kathleen Hill - Genome organization and integrity

Research:Uses copy number genotyping to track developmental dynamics of de novo mutagenesis

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/hill.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x81337

Email: khill22@uwo.ca

Jim Karagiannis - Molecular biology and genetics of cell division

Research:Uses the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe to increase our understanding of how eukaryotic cells assemble and regulate complex genetic networks.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/karagiannis.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x80975

Email: jkaragia@uwo.ca

Greg Kelly - Cell signaling in vertebrate embryos

Research:Uses tissue culture cells to research cell-cell signaling events that pattern the developing vertebrate embryo.

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 661-3121

Email: gkelly@uwo.ca

Jamie Kramer - Neuroepigenetics

Research:Research uses Drosophila melanogaster, to analyze genomic and epigenomic processes underlying learning and memory.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/kramer.html

Phone:(519) 661-3740

Email: jkramer6@uwo.ca

Shengwu Ma - Production of edible vaccines from plants for immunotherapy


Email: sma@uwo.ca

Frederic Marsolais - Plant nitrogen and amino acid metabolism

Research:Identification and characterization of new genes related to nutritional quality, and development of new platform technologies for dry bean improvement.

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 457-1470 (311)

Email: frederic.marsolais@agr.gc.ca

Rima Menassa - Recombinant protein accumulation and degradation in plants

Research:Analysis of the regulation of transgene expression in plants

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 457-1470 (270)

Email: rima.menassa@agr.gc.ca

Anthony Percival-Smith - Molecular mechanisms of morphogenesis

Research:Studies the molecular basis of the Drosophila melanogaster body plan required for positioning and determining the identity of the various body parts

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/percivalsmith.html

Phone:(519) 661-4015

Email: aperciva@uwo.ca

Anne Simon - Genetics of social behavior

Research:Identifion of genes required for social response and to map the neuronal circuitry of social behavior in flies

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/simon.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x80084

Email: asimon28@uwo.ca

Shiva Singh - Molecular genetics of complex diseases and phenotype

Research:Researches genetic and epigenetic factors associated with complex diseases and phenotypes with a focus on neurogenomics.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/singh.html

Phone:(519) 661-3135

Email: ssingh@uwo.ca

David Smith - Genome evolution and genetic diversity of microbial eukaryotes

Research:Studies genome architecture, genetic diversity, and the evolutionary forces that fashion genes and chromosomes.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/smith.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x86482

Email: dsmit242@uwo.ca

Krzysztof Szczyglowski - Plant genetics and proteomics

Research:Studies improving nutrient acquisition and conservation in plants: Genetics and genomics of plant adaptation to low N and P in the model legume Lotus japonicus.

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 457-1470 (273)

Email: krzysztof.szczyglowski@agr.gc.ca

Lining Tian - Plant molecular biology, plant biotechnology

Research:Studies plum pox virus resistance and corn trait modification via molecular biology

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 457-1470 (230)

Email: lining.tian@agr.gc.ca

Alexander Timoshenko - Cell biology and glycobiology

Research:Studies the biological activity and functions of animal and plant lectins

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/timoshenko.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x88900

Email: atimoshe@uwo.ca

Yves Van de Peer - Yves Van de Peer

Thomas Van Leeuwen


Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) xxx-xxxx

Email: tvanlee@uwo.catins

John Wiebe - Hormonal regulatory mechanisms

Research:Studies two new types of progesterone metabolites that appear to have the ability to regulate all forms of breast cancer.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/emeritus/wiebe.html

Phone:(519) 661-3131

Email: jwiebe@uwo.ca

Ecology & Evolution

Our ecology and evolution group uses state-of-the-art laboratory, field and quantitative approaches to test hypotheses about adaptation, behaviour, conservation of biodiversity and responses to disturbance and environmental change. We do high-impact research at scales ranging from individuals to populations, communities and ecosystems, and integrate across disciplines to study a wide taxonomic diversity of organisms.

Faculty and Adjunct Faculty Listing

Robert Bailey - Aquatic Ecosystem Assessment

Adjunct faculty

Email: robert_bailey@cbu.ca

Simon Bonner - Ecological statistics and modelling

Research:Focuses on developing novel statistical methods for the analysis of data from ecological studies.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/bonner.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x88205

Email: sbonner6@uwo.ca@uwo.ca

Richard Bourbonniere - Biogeochemistry, dissolved organic matter, wetlands

Adjunct faculty

Email: rbourbon@uwo.ca

Brian Branfireun - Ecohydrology, biogeochemistry and wetland ecosystem science

Research:Field oriented research program using the latest approaches to the measurement of environmental processes. Studies speciated trace metals in the environment such as mercury and arsenic.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/branfireun.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x8922

Email: bbranfir@uwo.ca

Irena Creed - Ecosystem Science, Ecosystem Services, Global Change

Research:Research focuses on water movement within watersheds, nutrient recycling, phytoplankton ecology and physiology with emphasis on Cyanobacteria.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/creed.html

Phone:(519) 661-4265

Email: icreed@uwo.ca

Brock Fenton - Behaviour and Ecology of Bats

Research:Studies the biology of bats including their morphology, social organization and foraging behaviour.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/emeritus/fenton.html

Fax:(519) 661-3935

Email: bfenton@uwo.ca

Hugh Henry - Plant ecology, biogeochemistry and global change biology

Research:Explores how plants and microorganisms interact to regulate nutrient cycling in natural systems.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/henry.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x81548

Email: hhenry4@uwo.ca

Keith Hobson - Biological conservation, isotope ecology

Research:Studies the interface between applied animal ecology/conservation and Biogeochemistry with particular emphasis on the development and use of naturally occurring stable isotopes.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/hobson.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x81203

Email: khobson6@uwo.ca

Nusha Keyghobadi - Molecular ecology and landscape genetics

Research: Investigates factors that affect the genetic diversity, and spatial genetic structure, of populations.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/keyghobadi.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x80471

Email: nkeyghob@uwo.ca

Marc-Andre Lachance - Yeast Ecology and Evolution

Research:Studies the evolution, biogeography, biodiversity, and systematics of ascomycetous yeasts.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/lachance.html

Phone:(519) 661-3752

Email: lachance@uwo.ca

Zoe Lindo - Community ecology, Soil ecology

Research:Researches how to mitigate the impacts of environmental change and maintain ecosystem function in soil systems.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/lindo.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x82284

Email: zlindo@uwo.ca

Beth MacDougall-Shackleton - Ecoimmunology and behavioural ecology of migratory birds

Research:Seeks to understand how evolutionary processes such as parasite-mediated selection interact with ecological processes such as seasonal migration, natal dispersal, mate choice and immune development to shape patterns of genetic variation within and among songbird populations.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/macdougallshackleton.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x81206

Email: emacdoug@uwo.ca

Scott MacDougall-Shackleton - Endocrine and behavioural ecology of migratory birds

Research:Studies how hormones and the brain respond to environmental cues to coordinate behaviour, primarily in songbirds

Directory: psychology.uwo.ca/people/faculty/profiles/macdougall-shackleton.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x82066

Email: smacdou2@uwo.ca

Jeremy McNeil - Behavioural and Chemical Ecology of Insects

Research:Uses physiological and molecular approaches to understand the mechanisms controlling the reproductive biology in insect species.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/mcneil.html

Phone:(519) 661-3487

Email: jmcneil2@uwo.ca

Amanda Moehring - Genetics of behaviour and species formation

Research:Studies the genetics of complex traits using the model system of Drosophila.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/moehring.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x85596

Email: amoehrin@uwo.ca

Yolanda Morbey - Behavioural Ecology; Seasonal and life history timing

Research:Research integrates evolutionary theory and empirical studies to study the adaptive timing behaviour of migratory birds and fish.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/morbey.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x80116

Email: ymorbey@uwo.ca

Bryan Neff - Molecular and Behavioural Ecology

Research:Examines questions at the interface of evolution, ecology, and genomics by predominately working with fish including bluegill, bullhead, guppy, and salmon.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/neff.html

Phone:(519) 850-2532

Email: bneff@uwo.ca

Robert Nurse - Sustainable, economical, environmentally safe weed management strategies

Research:Evaluates low risk management of insects, weeds and diseases in field grown vegetables.

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 738-1288

Email: robert.nurse@agr.gc.ca

Scott Petrie - Waterfowl and wetlands

Adjunct faculty

Email: Scottallanpetrie@gmail.com

David Sherry - The neuroscience of animal cognition, spatial ability, and time perception in birds and insects

Research:Studies neurogenesis in the avian hippocampus, sex differences in Brown-headed Cowbirds and time perception In insects.

Directory: psychology.uwo.ca/people/faculty/profiles/sherry.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x84659

Email: sherry@uwo.ca

Graham Thompson - Behavioural genetics and sociobiology

Research:Studies the biological basis of insect social behaviour; how it evolves, how it is maintained and why some species are social while others are not.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/thompson.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x86570

Email: graham.thompson@uwo.ca

Greg Thorn - Fungal ecology and systematics

Research:Explores the relationships between phylogeny and function - evolution and ecology - in the fungi.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/thorn.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x88647

Email: rgthorn@uwo.ca

Charlie Trick - Aquatic sciences and microbial ecology

Research:Reseaches the ecology of phytoplankton in oceans as they are important in the global cycles of carbon and nitrogen.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/trick.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x83899

Email: trick@uwo.ca

Liana Zanette - Wildlife population, conservation, and behavioural ecology

Research:Studies the many dimensions of predator-induced fear, from population- and ecosystem-level consequences, to impacts on health and development.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/zanette.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x88317

Email: lzanette@uwo.ca

Nina Zitani - Zoological collections


Phone:(519) 661-2111 x85356

Email: nzitani@uwo.ca

Plant Stress Biology

Research in plant stress physiology is focused on understanding how plants respond to various biotic and abiotic stresses at the molecular, biochemical and physiological levels. The research conducted by our plant biologists is based on organisms ranging from phytoplankton to higher plants, at the cellular, metabolic, organismal, population and ecosystem levels, using state of the art analytical facilities, including the Biotron Facility for Experimental Climate Change Research.

Faculty and Adjunct Faculty Listing

Mark Bernards - Plant secondary metabolism

Research:Studies how plants use phytochemicals to interact with other organisms or defend themselves against environmental factors such as wounding and pathogen attack.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/bernards.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x86477

Email: bernards@uwo.ca

Mark Gijzen - Molecular plant pathology and plant molecular biology

Research:Studies disease resistance in soybeans and seed quality characateristics

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 457-1470 (280)

Email: mark.gijzen@agr.gc.ca

Miodrag Grbic - Arthropod Genomics/ Evolution of developmental mechanisms in Arthropods/ Biotechnology

Research:Developing environmentally sound pest control strategies against spider mites

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/grbicm.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x86776

Email: mgrbic@uwo.ca

Vojislava Grbic - Arabidopsis Developmental Genetics/ Genomics of plant-pest interaction/ Biotechnology

Research:Studies Genomics of plant-pest interaction and Arabidopsis developmental genetics

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/grbicv.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x86898

Email: vgrbic@uwo.ca

Abdelali Hannoufa - Crop development with improved profiles of major seed secondary metabolites

Research:Designining oilseeds for tomorrow's markets

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 457-1470 (638)

Email: abdelali.hannoufa@agr.gc.ca

Norman Hüner - Life at the Edge: Photosynthetic Adaptation and Phenotypic Plasticity in Extreme Environments

Research:Research goal is the complete physiological, biochemical and molecular characterization of Chlamydomonas sp. UWO 241 with respect to the structure and function of its novel photosynthetic apparatus.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/huner.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x86488

Email: nhuner@uwo.ca

Susanne Kohalmi - Gene families and regulation

Research:Studies regulatory events in plants using the arogenate dehydratase family (ADTs) in Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/kohalmi.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x86485

Email: skohalmi@uwo.ca

Priti Krishna - Protein Folding / Hormone Regulation / Functional Genomics

Research:Two research directions: Plant hsp90 chaperone complex and its role in signal transduction and brassinosteroid-mediated stress responses.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/emeritus/krishna.html

Email: pkrishna@uwo.ca

George Lazarovits - Plant pathology and soil ecology


Email: lazarovitsg@alcanada.com

Sheila Macfie - Mechanisms of metal tolerance

Research:Studying the the biochemical and physiological mechanisms that permit potentially toxic metal tolerance which may provide valuable information regarding the use of plants to restore contaminated areas.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/macfie.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x86487

Email: smacfie@uwo.ca

Denis Maxwell - Mitochondria; Cell Death; Stress Signalling

Research:Investigating the role of the mitochondrion in a time-nested set of responses to environmental change from stress-sensing to adaptation.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/maxwell.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x81336

Email: dmaxwell@uwo.ca

Leonid Savitch - Plant genomics and photosynthetic stress tolerance

Research:Genomics and proteomics of photosynthetic stress tolerance and acclimation evaluated through studies of the regulatory aspects of photosynthesis, respiration, photosynthetic carbon metabolism, and carbon partitioning utilizing methodology applied in Genomics/Proteomics and photobiology/biochemistry research.

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(613) 715-5597

Email: leonid.savitch@agr.gc.ca

Aiming Wang - Molecular isolation of host factors and natural resistance genes

Research:Development of a Soybean mosaic virus-based vector for functional genomics and molecular farming in legume plants

Directory: www.agr.gc.ca

Phone:(519) 457-1470 (313)

Email: aiming.wang@agr.gc.ca

Danielle Way - Global change biology, plant physiology and ecology

Research:Research focuses on physiological responses to high temperatures, drought stress and changes in CO2 concentration, with the goal of determining the mechanisms underpinning plant responses to global change at molecular and biochemical scales and the implications of these responses for the larger community and ecosystem scales.

Directory: www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/faculty/way.html

Phone:(519) 661-2111 x88734

Email: dway4@uwo.ca