á Department of Biology Department of Biology Western University Science Logo

Faculty

Mark Bernards

Professor and Chair

Bernards Contact Information
Office: BGS 2025E
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x 86477
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: bernards@uwo.ca
Chair Email: biochair@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Plant Secondary Metabolism

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/bernards/


Research and Teaching

My research program is based on the study of plant secondary metabolites or phytochemicals. I am interested in how plants use phytochemicals to interact with other organisms or defend themselves against environmental factors such as wounding and pathogen attack. We spend a lot of time isolating and analysing phytochemicals using various chromatographic techniques and bioassays. Our research activities can be divided into two categories: 1) Biosynthesis of Suberin and 2) Chemical Ecology of Phytochemicals. Each is briefly described below.

1) Biosynthesis of Suberin
In response to wounding and other environmental stresses, the cells of plants exposed to the stress may be induced to form suberin. Suberin is the name given to a specific cell wall modification deposited in periderm, wound periderm, and endo- and exodermal cells that involves the biosynthesis of a poly(phenolic) domain (SPPD) within the cell wall as well as a poly(aliphatic) domain (SPAD) between the plasma membrane and the cell wall. The structure of suberin has undergone revision as new information about its chemical composition is revealed. We recently proposed a new structural model for potato tuber suberin, based on our studies as well as extensive literature reports. We have also developed a model to help understand the macromolecular assembly of the SPPD and have two current projects testing it. More recently, we have initiated a metabolite profiling project to better understand the changes in both primary and secondary metabolism that occur during suberization.

2) Chemical Ecology of Phytochemicals
Many phytochemicals are biologically active and play a direct role in the interaction between a plant and its environment. In my lab we are investigating the potential of ginsenosides to act as allelochemicals and how different soilborne fungi respond to them in vitro.

Degrees and Institutions

  • BSc (Agriculture) University of Guelph, 1985
  • PhD (Biochemistry) University of Guelph, 1991
  • PDF, Washington State University, Institute for Biological Chemistry, 1991-93
  • Assistant Professor, Program in Chemistry, University of Northern BC, 1993-1998
  • At Western since 1998

Teaching

  • Biology 2601A - Organismal Physiology

Michelle Belton

Assistant Professor

Belton Contact Information
Office: NCB 301C
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x 86475
Email: mharris7@uwo.ca
Research Areas

 


Teaching

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD Zoology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Hon. BSc Genetics, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Teaching

  • Biology 2290 F/G – Scientific Methods in Biology

Simon Bonner

Assistant Professor of Environmetrics

Bonner Contact Information
Office: WSC 276
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x 88205
Fax: (519) 661-3813
Email: sbonner6@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Ecological statistics and modelling

Research Wesbsite

simon.bonners.ca/bonner-lab/wpblog/


Research and Teaching

Ecological systems are complicated -- that is an understatement. Dynamics in an ecosystem result from the combined effects of processes at the individual, population, and community levels that are each affected by many factors, both internal and external. Studying these systems is further complicated by the fact that direct observations of individuals are often impossible or impractical, so that sophisticated methods are needed to extract information about the system from the data that is collected.

I am jointly appointed between the Department of Statistical and Actuarial Science and the Department of Biology, and my research focuses on developing novel statistical methods for the analysis of data from ecological studies and on working with biologists and wildlife scientists to implement these methods in their own research. In particular, I am interested in hierarchical models for ecological data that are fit in a Bayesian framework using advanced Markov chain Monte Carlo Sampling techniques. My primary area of application is in the analysis of data from mark-recapture studies of wild animal populations to study the basic biology of these animals and to understand the effects of human impacts including habitat disturbance and climate change. Specific projects I have worked on include:

  • modelling the effects of mountain-top removal mining on salamanders in Kentucky (Price et al. 2015),
  • developing methods to account for subsampling of DNA samples collected in hair snare studies of bears (Augustine, 2014), and
  • accounting for errors that arise from incorrectly identifying captured individuals (Schofield and Bonner 2015, Bonner et al. 2015).

I have also worked recently on complex models to identify factors affecting variability in individual behaviours, like parenting behaviour in songbirds and aggressive behaviours in hermit crabs (Bridger, 2015), and on new methods to study changes in a predators preferences for different prey (Roualdes et al., in preparation).

Degrees and Institutions

  • PDF – Statistics, University of British Columbia
  • PhD – Statistics, Simon Fraser University, 2009 --2011
  • MSc – Statistics, Simon Fraser University, 2001 --  2003
  • BSc – Mathematics (Hons), McGill University, 1997 -- 2001

Teaching

  • SS9055B – Generalized Linear Models

Brian Branfireun

Professor
Canada Research Chair in Environment and Sustainability
Cross-appointed with Earth Sciences and Geography

Branfireun Contact Information
Office: BGS 2064
Lab: Biotron 5
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x 88205
Fax: (519) 661-3813
Email: bbranfir@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Ecohydrology, biogeochemistry and wetland ecosystem science

Research Wesbsite

http://publish.uwo.ca/~bbranfir/Site/Home.html


Research and Teaching

Taking an interdisciplinary environmental science approach, Dr. Branfireun and his research group seek to understand the bidirectional nature of hydrological – ecological interactions at a range of scales. They direct their efforts toward ecosystems that are particularly sensitive to the impacts of natural and human-induced environmental change. Dr. Branfireun is involved in projects studying the hydrology, ecology and biogeochemistry of wetland-dominated environments from the Canadian sub-arctic to the sub-tropics of Mexico. Dr. Branfireun's research program is strongly field oriented, using the latest approaches to the measurement of environmental processes. He also directs a modern laboratory facility in the BIOTRON Institute for Experimental Climate Change Research at Western University for the study of speciated trace metals in the environment such as mercury and arsenic.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD, McGill University

Teaching

  • Environmental Sciences 3350G: Methods and Techniques in Environmental Science

Robert Cumming

Associate Professor

Cumming Contact Information
Office: BGS 3078
Lab: BGS 3061
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 81578
Phone (Lab): (519) 661-2111 x 81579
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: rcummin5@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Brain Metabolism and Aging

Research Wesbsite

http://www.thecumminglab.com/


Research and Teaching

Optimizing Brain Metabolism for Successful Aging

The Cumming laboratory studies the changes in brain metabolism and antioxidant defence that occur with age. We are trying to understand how age-dependent alterations in brain metabolism affect memory and contribute to neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

We currently are using a variety of biochemical, genetic, microscopic and neuroimaging techniques to examine aerobic glycolysis and antioxidant response in both cell culture and animal models of aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD (Molecular and Medical Genetics), University of Toronto, 2001
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship (Neurobiology), The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 2001-2007

Teaching

  • Biology 2382B – Cell Biology
  • Biology 4355F – The Biology of Aging

Sashko Damjanovski

Associate Professor

Damjanovski Contact Information
Office: BGS 3053b
Lab: BGS 3053
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x 84704
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: sdamjano@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Developmental Biology - Extracellular Matrix Remodelling science

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/damjanovski/


Research and Teaching

Extracellular matrix remodelling in Developing Xenopus laevis

Healthy tissue function requires proper cell adhesion, and this adhesion is in part provided by proteins collectively known as the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM can be cut and remodelled by proteins called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The function of MMPs is in turn regulated by inhibitors named RECK and TIMPs. Many cell types lose their normal functions when cell-ECM interactions are broken, in a process similar to the transformation of healthy cells into uncontrolled cancer cells. We use the frog, Xenopus laevis, as well as a number of cell lines as model systems to examine how specific ECM remodelling events control cell migration, invasion and ultimately cell fate. Several embryological and microinjection, as well as in vitro and in vivo cell culture techniques are used to investigate expression patterns, cell signalling events, and cytoskeletal rearrangements and how they are related to ECM remodelling events, and diverse processes such as cell proliferation, migration and death.

Currently we are focusing on a membrane bound MMP named MT1-MMP. MT1-MMP appears to be a key lynch-pin in several processes as it is believed to not only regulate ECM remodelling, but also to activate other MMPs, transduce signalling cascades, as well as impact cellular viability. Understanding this regulation would be crucial in our understanding of the roles that these molecules play in development and disease.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD, McGill University

Teaching

  • Bio2882b - Cell Biology
  • Bio3338a - Developmental Biology

Richard Gardiner

Assistant Professor

Gardiner Contact Information
Office: NCB 301J
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x 82241
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: rgardine@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Fungal Cell and Molecular Biology

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/gardiner/


Research and Teaching

My research interests centre around fungal cell biology. I have worked on elucidating the structure and function of fungal fimbirae. Analogous to bacterial pili, fimbriae are long flexuous fibrils 7 nm in diameter and up to 20 µm in length. Originally described on the anther smut Microbotryum violaceum, they have been shown to be present on a wide variety of fungi. In addition I have added my expertise to various other projects in the life and material sciences.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD Plant Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London Ontario, Canada
  • Hon BSc Biology, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Teaching

  • Biology 1290B: Biology and Microorganisms
  • Biology 2217B: Plants as a Human Resource
  • Biology 3218F (Summer Session): Introductory Mycology
  • Biology 4218A: Microorganisms and Plant Disease
  • Biology 9912: Biological Electron Microscopy (Graduate Course)

Patricia Gray

Lecturer

Gray Contact Information
Office: NCB 342
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x 80146
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: tgray5@uwo.ca

Teaching

Degrees and Institutions

  • BSc Honours Genetics, BEd, MEd (all from UWO)

Teaching

  • Biology 2290F/G: Scientific Method in Biology

Miodrag Grbic

Associate Professor

GrbicM Contact Information
Office: WSC 342
Lab: BGS 3053
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 86776
Phone (Lab): (519) 661-2111 x 86794
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: mgrbic@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Developmental Biology - Extracellular Matrix Remodelling science

Research Wesbsite

www.spidermite.org/


Research and Teaching

Arthropod genomics

In the last several years my group has made major strides in the development of Tetranychus urticae (spider mite) as an arthropod herbivore model. T. urticae has a rapid life cycle and feeds on over 1000 plant species. It therefore represents a key pest for greenhouse crops, annual field crops and many horticultural crops. The use of chemical pesticides is the predominant method of controlling spider mites. However, due to their short generation time and high reproduction rate, spider mites have developed resistance to the major pesticide groups, presenting a major challenge to control them. Currently, there are no cultivars resistant to spider mites.

We have led the T. urticae whole genome sequencing project [funded by the USA Department of Energy and Joint Genome Institute (DOE-JGI; https://jgi.doe.gov/why-sequence-the-two-spotted-spider-mite/ )], and established an international collaborative team GAP-M, ( http://www.spidermite.org/?page_id=108), funded by Genome Canada, Ontario Genomics Institute and Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, to assemble, annotate and analyse the T. urticae genome. We developed protocols for spider mite rearing, established a normal table of spider mite development, and developed methods for large-scale embryo collections, assay of gene expression (in situ hybridization and antibody staining) and inactivation of genes using RNA interference (RNAi). We are now moving forward with the goal of developing environmentally sound pest control strategies that reduce environmental pollution and energy consumption in agriculture

Evolution of developmental mechanisms

We are examining the functions and expression patterns of genes analogous to Drosophila segmentation genes in Copidosoma floridanum, an insect with a radically derived mode of early development. We are using in-situ hybridisation, antibody staining and ds RNAi to determine how the role of these genes may have changed over evolutionary time.

Biotechnology

We are using fundamental knowledge gathered in the projects described above to develop novel tools for sustainable agriculture as well as in developing novel materials. To date, two applications are under development:

  1. RNAi-based pest control for spider mites
  2. spider mite silk as natural bio nanomaterial

Degrees and Institutions

  • Assistant professor, Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, Canada 1997-2003
  • Adjunct Professor, Wayne State University (USA) 2003-present
  • Human Frontier postdoctoral fellow, Wellcome Cancer and Developmental Biology Research Institute, Univ. of Cambridge (UK) 1996-1998
  • NSF postdoctoral fellow University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA 1995-1996
  • Ph.D. student University of Wisconsin, Madison (USA) double major in Developmental Biology and Entomology 1989-1995
  • M.Sc. student University of Novi Sad (Yugoslavia) Entomology 1985-1988
  • B.Sc. student University of Novi Sad (Yugoslavia) Entomology 1979-1983

Teaching

  • Biology 4510G - Selected Topics in Genetics
  • Biology 4560B - Human Molecular Genetics

Vojislava Grbic

Associate Professor

GrbicV Contact Information
Office: WSC 341
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 86898
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: vgrbic@uwo.ca
Research Areas

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

Research Wesbsite

www.spidermite.org/


Research and Teaching

Genomics of plant-pest interaction

In order to develop alternative pest control strategies for sustainable agriculture, it is important to understand the interaction between plants and their herbivores. We are using Arabidopsis thaliana, tomato and grapevine as plant models, and the newly established chelicerate model Tetranychus urticae (spider mite) to uncover genomic responses of both organisms during plant-herbivore interaction. This work is part of an international collaborative initiative (GAP-M, Genomics in Agricultural Pest Management) that is funded by Genome Canada and Ontario Genomics Institute, and by Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Arabidopsis developmental genetics

The aim of my research is to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern diversity of plant shoot forms. We are using the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana for which excellent molecular-genetic resources are available and thousands of wild inbred strains have been collected, including some (e.g. Sy-0) with altered shoot morphology. We initially identified changes in the expression of flowering time genes FLC, FRI and HUA2, as required for the establishment of the Sy-0 phenotype and the lab is now focused on understanding the functions of the HUA2 gene, a putative pre-mRNA processing factor. We are also analyzing natural genetic variations in the floral regulator MAF2 that is a member of the tandemly duplicated cluster of MADS-box containing transcription factors in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Biotechnology

The overall goal is to exploit fundamental knowledge to develop novel tools for sustainable agriculture and development of novel materials. To date, two applications are under development:

  1. RNAi-based pest control for the spider mite
  2. spider mite silk as natural bio nanomaterial

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD (Genetics), University of Wisconsin
  • MSc (Plant Genetics), University of Novi Sad
  • BS (Plant Breeding), University of Novi Sad

Teaching

  • Biology 3593B – Genetic Engineering
  • Biology 4950G – Seminar in Genetics

Christopher Guglielmo

Professor

Guglielmo Contact Information
Office: BGS 3019
Lab: BGS 3012
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 81204
Phone (Lab): (519) 661-2111 x 86772
Phone (AFAR): (519) 661-2111 x 84648
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: cguglie2@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Animal ecological and evolutionary physiology


Research and Teaching

I have wide ranging research interests in physiological ecology, and this is reflected in the diversity of lab and field projects attempted (usually successfully) by me, my students and post-docs. Officially, I try to integrate physiology, biochemistry, behaviour, ecology, evolution and conservation biology. Unofficially, my lab group is in a constant state of identity crisis about what we really do. Our work is inherently multi-disciplinary and provides a means to understand how mechanistic processes operate within the larger context of whole organism performance. Physiology, in concert with morphology and behaviour, influences how animals interact with the environment, and understanding its flexibility will help us to predict how species may respond to natural or man-made perturbations.

My current research focuses on the physiology of endurance flight and stopover refueling in migratory birds and bats. We have a wide variety of laboratory and field studies underway using the wind tunnel and other unique capabilities of the Advanced Facility for Avian Research, my mobile Field Laboratory for Integrative Ecological Research (FLIER), and a digital telemetry array that we are installing in Ontario in collaboration with Bird Studies Canada.

Degrees and Institutions

  • Ph.D. (Biological Sciences) Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC
  • M.Sc. (Wildlife Ecology) University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
  • B.A. (Biology) New York University, New York, NY

Teaching

  • Biology 2601 – Organismal Physiology
  • Biology 3625G – Techniques in Physiology and Biochemistry
  • Biology 4611 – Physiology of Animal Migration

Hugh Henry

Professor; Director, Environmental Sciences Western field station & Associate Chair (Graduate)

Henry Contact Information
Office: BGS 3021
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 81548
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: hhenry4@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Animal ecological and evolutionary physiology

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/henry/


Research and Teaching

I am a terrestrial plant ecologist with interests in biogeochemistry, community ecology, physiological plant ecology and global change ecology. I use field experimentation, laboratory methods and theoretical modeling to explore questions ranging from resource acquisition by individual plants to species responses at the community level and nutrient cycling at the ecosystem level. I am particularly interested in winter ecology, and exploring how plants and microorganisms interact to regulate nutrient cycling in both natural and managed systems.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD (Botany) University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • MSc (Biology) Queen's University, Kingston, ON
  • BSc Hon (Biology) University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Teaching

  • Biology 4944G - Seminar in Ecology and Evolution

Kathleen Hill

Associate Professor; Cross-appointed to Computer Science and Ophthalmology; Associate Scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute

Hill Contact Information
Office: WSC 333
Lab: WSC 329
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 81337
Phone (Lab): (519) 661-2111 x 86774
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: khill22@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Genome organization and integrity


Research and Teaching

To come.

Degrees and Institutions

  • Assistant Research Scientist, Molecular Genetics, City of Hope, Duarte, CA, USA
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Molecular Genetics, City of Hope, Duarte, CA, USA
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Biochemistry, Mayo Clinic MN, USA
  • PhD Zoology, The University of Western Ontario, London Ontario, Canada
  • MSc Biology, The University of Windsor, Windsor Ontario, Canada
  • Hon BSc Biology, The University of Windsor, Windsor Ontario, CanadaN

Teaching

  • Biology 3592A – Principles of Human Genetics
  • Biology 3594B – DNA: Genome Organization, Mutagenesis and Repair

Keith A. Hobson

Professor

Hobson Contact Information
Office: BGS 2070
Lab: BGS 2058
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 81203
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: khobson6@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Biological conservation, isotope ecology


Research and Teaching

Within a theme of adaptations to global change, Hobson’s research is at the interface between applied animal ecology/conservation and Biogeochemistry with particular emphasis on the development and use of naturally occurring stable isotopes and other intrinsic markers to answer otherwise intractable questions. This approach has been applied to a broad range of research questions ranging from the ecology of individuals to communities at local to continental scales. Hobson’s most recent emphasis has been on addressing nutrient allocation strategies in birds and full life-cycle conservation of migratory birds and insects through the development and use of isoscapes. This work seeks to examine how anthropogenic changes are influencing migratory organisms throughout their annual cycles and to identify best conservation practices.

Degrees and Institutions

  • Ph.D. University of Saskatchewan (Biology, 1991)
  • M.Sc. University of Manitoba (Zoology, 1988)
  • B.Sc. Simon Fraser University (Physics, 1977)

Teaching

  • Biology 3446B - Wildlife Ecology and Management
  • Biology 4611G - Physiology of Animal Migration
  • Stable Isotope Applications for Biologists (graduate)

Jim Karagiannis

Associate Professor

Karagiannis Contact Information Office: BGS 3080
Lab: BGS 3084
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 80975
Phone (Lab): (519) 661-2111 x 86478
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: jkaragia@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Eukaryotic Cell Division


Research and Teaching

Karagiannis_researchEukaryotic cells rely on the dynamic interactions of DNA, RNA, proteins and lipids in order to grow, divide and respond "intelligently" to environmental and/or developmental cues. All of the information necessary to carry out these complex functions must be encoded into the genome in a "self-extracting" form. An understanding of the molecular mechanisms used to extract, express, copy, and protect this information has been, and continues to be, a major goal of biology.

One of the premier organisms used to understand this complexity is the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. This unicellular eukaryote provides tremendous experimental advantages that include the ease of genetic manipulation, the availability of genomics tools, and the capacity to apply advanced biochemistry and fluorescence microscopy. Research in the lab focuses these tools on the regulatory modules governing the successful completion of cytokinesis.

Cytokinesis comprises the stage of the cell cycle in which newly segregated chromosomes are irreversibly separated into independent daughter cells by the mechanical cleavage of the mother cell into two. The successful completion of cytokinesis requires the intricate interplay of gene products that range from signalling molecules to elements of the cytoskeleton. Thus, this experimental system provides an excellent opportunity to increase our understanding of how eukaryotic cells assemble and regulate complex genetic networks. Through the study of cytokinesis in we hope to reveal general themes, or rules of genetic regulation, that are applicable to the control of genetic pathways across all eukaryotes.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PDF (Cell Growth and Division) – Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, National University of Singapore, 2002-2006
  • PhD (Cell and Molecular Biology) – Queen's University, 2002
  • BSc (Biology) – The University of Guelph, 1995y

Teaching

  • Biology 4561F - Genes and Genomes I
  • Biology 4260B: Cellular Systems Biology

Greg Kelly

Professor

Kelly Contact Information Office: WSC 359
Phone (Office): (519) 661-3121
Phone (Lab): (519) 661-2111 x 86478
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: gkelly@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Cell Signaling in Vertebrate Embryos

Research Wesbsite

http://thekellylab.weebly.com (Please acess via WiFi)


Research and Teaching

The series of events that pattern the vertebrate embryo may be considered a proliferative, almost cancerous-like growth phase goverened by strict developmental guidelines. Many of these events rely on cell-cell communication and the transduction of signals across the plasma membrane of the receiving cell. Thus, disrupting this signaling has dramatic and disastrous effects on many aspects of cell physiology including, but not limited to, cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions, cell polarity, endo- and exocytosis, migration, proliferation, and differentiation. My research specifically deals with the cell-cell signaling events that pattern the developing vertebrate embryo, and particulary how crosstalk generated by Reactive Oxygen Species influence Wnt-beta-catenin, Planar Cell Polarity, and G-Protein Coupled Receptor-linked pathways. The models that I use vary from established tissue culture cells like the mouse F9 embryonal carcinoma line, to the zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo. The biological phenomenon that piques my interest is the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, which is involved in normal embryonic development including extraembryonic endoderm formation, gastrulation and heart formation, as well in human disease conditions such as fibrosis and metastatic cancer.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD Zoology, University of Manitoba

Teaching

  • Biology 3316 - Advanced Cell Biology
  • Biology 4338 - Advanced Developmental Biology

Nusha Keyghobadi

Professor

Keyghobadi Contact Information
Office: BGS 2076
Lab: BGS 2062
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 80471
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: nkeyghob@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Molecular ecology, landscape genetics and conservation genetics

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/keyghobadi/


Research and Teaching

I am a molecular ecologist and research in my lab integrates concepts and methods from population genetics, conservation biology and landscape ecology. We use a combination of field and lab techniques to investigate factors that affect the genetic diversity, and spatial genetic structure, of populations. Applied aspects of our research relate to conservation, habitat fragmentation, and the management of invasive and pest species.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD University of Alberta (Environmental Biology & Ecology)
  • BSc University of Toronto (Biology)

Teaching

  • Biology 2485B: Environmental Biology
  • Biology 3444F: Molecular Ecology

Susanne Kohalmi

Associate Professor

Kohalmi Contact Information
Office: WSC 319
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 86485
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: skohalmi@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Gene Families and Regulation

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/kohalmi/


Research and Teaching

I have always been fascinated by the complexity of regulatory processes in organisms. It is amazing to see how organisms are able to sense small changes in the environment or in their own metabolism, and to respond by changing the expression of select genes. This can lead to tissue- and/or cell-specific responses such as those involved in protein reallocation and complex formation, or changes in activity spectra of enzymes. The complexity of these events is often increased as many reactions involve multi gene families encoding proteins that have highly similar but not identical sequences that mediate and fine-tune cellular responses.

To study regulatory events in plants we chose as a model system the arogenate dehydratase family (ADTs) in Arabidopsis thaliana. In Arabidopsis there are six members in the ADT family and these enzymes catalyze the last step in the synthesis of phenylalanine. We believe that these enzymes are catalyzing a key step in the production of phenylalanine and thereby co-ordinating the Shikimate pathway and the many branches of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis. We are interested to understand and characterizing as many of the molecular aspects which relate to this gene family inArabidopsisthaliana. The questions we are asking can be at times as simple as: why does Arabidopsisneed six versions of this enzyme? How do these enzymes differ? Are there post-translational modifications? Do these different members of the ADT family contribute to different protein complexes? Are the enzymes or the encoding genes regulated differentially in response to different internal and environmental cues? We already have found some answers. All six ADTs code for proteins which have similar but not identical enzymatic functions. All six ADTs are expressed in all tissues and developmental stages analyzed, but not at the same levels. The encoded proteins have unique subcellular localization patterns. And just to make it even more fun, the six ADTs form homo- and hetero dimers. We still need to investigate if these dimers are formed in all parts of the plant, if they result in unique compositions of protein complexes and what functional consequences these dimer and/or complex formations may have.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD University of Manitoba - Microbiology, 1991
  • Diploma J.W. Goethe U. Frankfurt, Germany - Biology, 1985

Teaching

  • Biology 3596a: Genomics and Beyond – A Laboratory Course
  • Biology 4562b: Genes and Genomes II
  • Biology 4999e: Honors Research Thesis

Irene Krajnyk

Lecturer

Krajnyk Contact Information
Office: NCB 301E
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 86505
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: ikrajnyk@uwo.ca

Teaching

Degrees and Institutions

  • MSc Plant Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  • BSc Biology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Collegial Diploma (Science), Loyola College, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Teaching

  • Biology 2290F/G–Scientific Methods in Biology

Marc-André Lachance

Professor

Lachance Contact Information
Office: BGS 2036
Lab: BGS 2037
Phone (Office): (519) 661-3752
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: lachance@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Yeast Systematics, Ecology, and Evolution

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/lachance/


Research and Teaching

Lachance studies the evolution, biogeography, biodiversity, and systematics of ascomycetous yeasts. Long-term objectives have been to document yeast biodiversity in natural habitats at the interface of insects and plants, the process of species formation in nature, and the underlying causes of the global distribution of yeasts. The habitats have included floricolous insects, particularly Coleoptera.

One focal point is a group of large-spored Metschnikowia species associated with nitidulid beetles that visit flowers of Convolvulacae and other plants that produce short-lived flowers. The biogeography of these yeasts, their mechanisms of reproductive isolation, and the reconstruction of speciation events have been examined in populations whose distribution ranges across the New World and the Australian-Pacific region. Currently these yeasts are being studied at the level of the whole genome. This has allowed us to construct a robust phylogeny and to study the genetic basis for reproductive isolation and other phenomena.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD Microbiology, University of California, Davis (1977)
  • MSc Microbiology, Macdonald College of McGill University, Montréal (1973)
  • BSc Biology, spec. Microbiology, Université de Montréal (1972)
  • BA Liberal Arts, Université de Montréal (1969)

Teaching

  • Biology 3466B - Evolutionary Genetics
  • Biology 4289B - Biosystematics and Phylogenetics
  • Biology 9214A - Teach the Controversy
  • Biology 9289b - Biosystematics and Phylogenetics

Zoë Lindo

Associate Professor

Lindo Contact Information
Office: BGS 2034
Lab: Biotron 20B
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 82284
Phone (Lab): (519) 661-2111 x 86842
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: zlindo@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Community ecology, Soil ecology

Research Wesbsite

publish.uwo.ca/~zlindo/


Research and Teaching

Many ecosystems are currently undergoing dramatic changes in biodiversity due to habitat loss and fragmentation associated with land use change, pollution, overexploitation, and climate change. Mitigating these effects requires an understanding of the drivers of biodiversity loss, and the consequences of loss on ecosystem processes and functioning. As there is unequivocal evidence for directly linking the effects of global change, soil biodiversity and nutrient cycling, my research uses a combined aboveground-belowground approach for understanding the regulation and functional significance of biodiversity. My lab uses experiments in the field, greenhouse and laboratory (BIOTRON), and the integration of empirical results with current theoretical perspectives to help identify how to mitigate the impacts of environmental change and maintain ecosystem function in soil systems.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PDF Biodiversity Science, McGill University, Canada (2011)
  • PhD Community Ecology, University of Victoria, Canada (2008)
  • MSc Soil Ecology, University of Calgary, Canada (2003)
  • BSc Ecology, University of Calgary, Canada (2001)

Teaching

  • Biology 3445F - Community Ecology
  • Biology 4412 - Biodiversity Science

Beth MacDougall-Shackleton

Professor

MacDougall-Shackleton Contact Information
Office: BGS 3046
Lab: BGS 3059
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 81206
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: emacdoug@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Ecoimmunology and behavioural ecology of migratory birds

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/macdougallshackleton/


Research and Teaching

Parasites are taxonomically and geographically widespread, and can have catastrophic effects on host survival and reproduction. As a result, parasites are increasingly recognized as critical drivers of host evolution. Research in my lab 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. Specific projects include evolutionary arms races between songbirds and malarial parasites; geographic variation in parasite assemblages and in immune-related loci such as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC); effects of infectious disease on the timing, distance and success of seasonal migration; ecological immunology of migration and dispersal; and chemical and acoustic signals by which songbirds advertise their genetic makeup at MHC and assess that of potential mates.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD Princeton University, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, (2000) (supervisor Tom Hahn)
  • MSc Queen's University, Biology, (1994) (supervisor Raleigh Robertson)
  • BSc Queen's University, Biology, (1992)

Teaching

  • Biology 1001A Biology for Science I
  • Biology 4441F Special Topics in Evolution
  • Biology 9436B Behavioural Ecology (graduate course)

Sheila Macfie

Associate Professor

Macfie Contact Information
Office: BGS 2051
Lab: BGS 2061
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 86487
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: smacfie@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Mechanisms of Metal Tolerance

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/macfie/


Research and Teaching

Plants have a remarkable ability to withstand high concentrations of potentially toxic contaminants in their environment. My research aims to better understand the biochemical and physiological mechanisms that permit such tolerance. Much of our work is done at the whole-plant level although individuals projects have ventured into the surrounding soil, including microbes in the rhizosphere; examined tissue-level and sub-cellular compartments in which contaminants accumulate; or into the realm of genes and enzymes. The approaches that we take include: (1) investigate the production and exudation of organic compounds as a mechanism to detoxify metal ions, (2) determine the localization of metal ions and other contaminants at the subcellular level, (3) model the movement of contaminants from the soil into the plant and (4) identify the relationship between phytotoxicity and a number of biochemical pathways that mediate plant stress. Many projects in the lab involve crop plants, but our choice is based on which plant species or cultivar best allows us to test a particular hypothesis, and not on its economic value.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD University of Alberta
  • MSc Queen’s University
  • BSc Queen’s University

Teaching

  • Biology 2483A
  • Biology 4608G

Denis Maxwell

Associate Professor

Maxwell Contact Information
Office: NCB 406
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 81336
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: dmaxwell@uwo.ca

Teaching

 

Degrees and Institutions

  •  

Teaching

  • Biology 1002B - Biology for Science II
  • Biology 3603A/B - Ecophysiology of Plants

Jeremy McNeil

Helen I Battle Professor

McNeil Contact Information
Office: BGS 3066
Phone (Office): (519) 661-3487
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: jmcneil2@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Behavioural and Chemical Ecology of Insects

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/mcneil/


Research and Teaching

The main thrust of my research programme is to understand the reproductive strategies of insects that migrate in response to either predictable or unpredictable habitat change. The research is multidisciplinary in nature, looking at the behavioural and ecological aspects, as well as using physiological and molecular approaches to understand the mechanisms controlling the reproductive biology in species where mate location and mate choice are modulated by sex pheromones. I am also interested in different aspects of plant-insect and host-parasitoid interactions that involve chemical cues (infochemicals). I have generally chosen to work on pest species, or their natural enemies, as model research systems. This allows us to not only address basic questions in reproductive biology but also to generate data that may be used in the development of more environmentally rational approaches to insect control.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD North Carolina State University.(Entomology/Ecology) 1972
  • BSc University of Western Ontario. (Honours Zoology) 1969

Teaching

  • Biology 3475a - Chemical Ecology
  • Biology 4420b - Insect Biology: From Morphology to Ecology

Paul Mensink

Assistant Professor

Mensink Contact Information
Office: NCB 443
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x87563
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: paul.mensink@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Marine Ecology and Educational Technology


Research and Teaching

My work revolves around the interaction between people and the marine environment and aims to promote ocean sustainability by improving management and conservation outcomes. To achieve this goal, I use a diverse array of empirical and observational approaches to study the behavior, movement ecology and population dynamics of marine species, with a strong focus on species that are directly exploited or adversely affected by commercial and recreational fisheries.

I also conduct pedagogical research focused on the use of educational technology to enhance learning outcomes for students. My current work explores the benefits of disseminating assessment feedback through virtual learning environments.

Degrees and Institutions

  • Lecturer, Queen’s University Belfast, 2015-2018
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching, Queen’s University Belfast, 2017
  • PhD (Marine Biology) Victoria University of Wellington, 2014
  • MSc (Biology with Environmental Science) Western University, 2009
  • BSc (Specialization in Ecology and Evolution) Western University, 2007

Teaching

  • EnvrSust 1021 F/G – Environmental Science and Sustainability
  • EnvrSust 9011 – Foundations of Sustainability
  • EnvrSust 9430/9440 – Interdisciplinary Research Seminar

Natasha Mhatre

Assistant Professor

Mhatre Contact Information
Office: BGS 3023
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x84505
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: nmhatre@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Communicating with sound and vibration

Research Wesbsite

www.natashamhatre.net


Research and Teaching

I am interested in understanding how different animals, particularly invertebrates, perceive sounds and also vibrations. My research uses different experimental techniques like laser vibrometry and 3D uCT imaging, and couples them with physics and mechanics based modelling to understand how these two types of mechanosensory systems function.

My research aims at understanding the different mechanisms used by these sensory systems to adapt to their ecological needs and achieve high sensitivity. An obvious mechanism is structure, both of the sensor itself and also of the whole body that that sensor is embedded in.

I am also particularly interested in a unique physiological mechanism called 'active amplification' that only some mechanosensory systems possess. In insects this process works through the sensory neurons which expend their own energy to actively amplify incoming sounds and the resulting vibrations. This amplification occurs through the activity of motor proteins within these neurons. This is a unique process for many reasons, and not least because it blends the sensory with the motor. As a result, I spend a lot of time thinking about these categories themselves, about whether and when they are useful to consider as separate.

I also occasionally work in sound and vibration production, since much of the experimental and theoretical apparatus is the same. One area of sound production that I am particularly interested in is the use of acoustic tools and objects. I've shown that simple insects like tree crickets can make optimal tools and that optimization is achievable using a small set of rules. In the future, I want to examine this cognitive system further. I also want to explore the possibility that the size of such 'rule-sets' might be a better way to think about the complexity of animal tools and objects.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PDF (University of Toronto at Scarborough) 2018
  • Fellow of the College of Life Sciences (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) 2014
  • Marie Curie fellow and PDF (Univeristy of Bristol) 2013v
  • UKIERI Research associate (Indian Institute of Science & University of Bristol) 2010
  • PhD (Indian Institute of Science) 2008

Teaching

  • Bio 4920G – Seminar in Biology

Amanda Moehring

Associate Professor

Moehring Contact Information
Office: BGS 2080
Lab: BGS 2082
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x85596
Phone (Lab): (519) 661-2111 x85597
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: amoehrin@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Genetics of behaviour and species formation

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/moehring/


Research and Teaching

The broad-scale research goals of my laboratory are to understand the genetic and neural bases of variation in behaviour. Two behaviours that are critical for survival and reproduction are aggression and mating behaviour. While these traits have been extensively studied in males, their underlying genetic and neural basis in females is poorly understood. My research group seeks to identify the underlying genetic and neural variation that leads to variation in female mating receptivity and female aggression. We use the model system of Drosophila due to the extensive genetic and molecular tools this species offers. We use a mix of quantitative genetics, molecular genetics, neuroscience, cellular biology, and behavioural assays in order to understand these complex traits.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PDF: Duke University (with Dr. Mohamed Noor), 2008
  • PhD (Genetics): North Carolina State University (with Dr. Trudy Mackay), 2003
  • BS (Biology): Pacific University, 1997

Teaching

  • Biology 2581 - Introduction to Genetics

Yolanda Morbey

Associate Professor

Morbey Contact Information
Office: BGS 2074
Lab: BGS 2055/2048
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x80116
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: ymorbey@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Behavioural Ecology; Seasonal and life history timing

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/morbey/


Research and Teaching

My research integrates evolutionary theory and empirical studies to study the adaptive timing behaviour of migratory birds and fish. Ongoing projects include sex differences in the stopover behaviour and timing of warblers in southern Ontario, the evolution & ecology of introduced salmon in the Great Lakes, environmental cues of annual migration timing in kokanee salmon, and optimal maturation schedules in lake whitefish. Questions about seasonal timing are critical in this era of climate change, when phenological mismatch with the environment has the potential to impact populations.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD (Biology) Simon Fraser University
  • MSc (Biology) Simon Fraser University
  • BSc (Biology) University of Victoria

Teaching

  • Biology 3435G - Animal Ecology
  • EnvSci 4970F/G - Independent Study - Course Coordinator
  • Biology 4999E - Honors Research Thesis - Course Coordinator
  • EnvSci 4999E - Honors Research Thesis - Course Coordinator
  • Biology 9440G - Topics in Ecology & Evolution (Movement Behaviour & Analysis)

Bryan Neff

Professor

Neff Contact Information
Office: BGS 3056
Lab: BGS 0064
Phone (Office): (519) 850-2532
Phone (Lab): (519) 661-2111 x 88408
Phone (Aquarium): (519) 661-2111 x x 82876
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: bneff@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Molecular and Behavioural Ecology

Research Wesbsite

publish.uwo.ca/~bneff/


Research and Teaching

Research Venn Diagram

My lab’s long-term goal is to provide an understanding of phenotypic diversity in natural populations – why do individuals look and act the way they do – from molecules to organisms living in their natural environment. Understanding the forces that shape and affect our world’s biodiversity is a fundamental objective in biology and is important for pure discovery as well as the conservation of our natural resources. This objective requires scientific research that addresses the genetic basis of behavioural, physiological, and morphological variation. My lab uses genetic and molecular tools to examine questions at the interface of evolution, ecology, and genomics. This approach has the potential to provide a comprehensive understanding of phenotypic diversity including the evolution of genes, gene function, and the interaction between genes and the environment.

We predominately work with fish including bluegill, bullhead, guppy, and salmon. Several of these species are socially and economically important in Canada and represent billions of dollars per year to our economy through the recreational and commercial fisheries as well as the aquaculture industry. Thus, the scientific knowledge that my lab produces is also important for the effective management of our natural resources and for ensuring their sustainability. Our research falls into four areas:

  1. Understanding evolution and the genetics of adaptation
  2. Neurobiology and endocrinology of behaviour
  3. Conserving native biodiversity
  4. Improving the efficiency and sustainability of aquaculture.
My lab provides a dynamic and well equipped environment for research in molecular and behavioural ecology. Our research involves field experiments, genetic analyses, and modelling. I am always interested in keen students that wish to pursue graduate studies. For more information about my lab please visit my website listed above.

Degrees and Institutions

  • Post doctorate Fellow, Cornell University, 2001
  • PhD (Zoology) University of Toronto, 2000
  • BSc (Zoology) University of Toronto, 1996

Teaching

  •  

Anthony Percival-Smith

Associate Professor

Percival-Smith Contact Information
Office: WSC 305
Phone (Office): (519) 661-4015
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: aperciva@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Molecular mechanisms of morphogenesis

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/percivalsmith/


Research and Teaching

For the past two decades, the application of genetic dissection and molecular biology has resulted in an explosion in our knowledge of the mechanisms that control the process of Development. One of the major experimental systems that contributed to this explosion is the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. My laboratory is studying two aspects of the molecular basis of the body plan. The body plan is required for positioning and determining the identity of the various body parts.

The first aspect of the body plan that we study is the role that the protein encoded by the gene fushi tarazu plays in determining the number of segments of Drosophila body plan. Fushi tarazu protein is expressed in every other segment resulting in bands of Fushi tarazu expression across the anterior posterior axis. Without fushi tarazu protein, the embryo develops lacking half of its segments.

The second aspect of the body plan that we study is the role of the proteins encoded by the two genes, proboscipedia and Sex combs reduced, in determining of the identity of four body parts. Both proboscipedia and Sex combs reduced are homeotic genes. Mutant alleles in homeotic genes result in striking phenotypes where one body part is transformed into the likeness of another. Loss-of-Proboscipedia protein results in the transformation of the mouth parts into a pair of first leg tarsi.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD University of Toronto 1987
  • BSc University of British Columbia 1981

Teaching

  • Biology 4540b - Developmental Genetics

Jennifer Peter

Lecturer

Peter Contact Information
Office: NCB 442
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x86501
Email: jwaugh2@uwo.ca
 

Teaching

Degrees and Institutions

  • BEd, Science and Mathematics, Queen's University
  • MSc, Biology, Queen's University
  • BSc Honours, Environmental Biology, Queen's University

Teaching

  • Biology 1001A - Biology for Sciences I (summer term)
  • Biology/Statistics 2244A/B - Analysis and Interpretation of Biological Data / Statistics for Science
  • Statistics 1023/2037 - Statistical Concepts / Statistics for Healths

Ben Rubin

Assistant Professor, Departmental Statistical Consultant

Rubin Contact Information
Office:BGS 3072
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 87475
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: brubin2@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Forest ecology, landscape pathology, forest health monitoring, statistical analysis


Consulting and Teaching

My main scientific questions are: How much tree mortality is normal in a forest? And, how can we identify places and times where that baseline mortality rate is exceeded? My responsibilities in the Biology Department currently include 1) teaching field biology courses (undergraduate), 2) teaching statistics courses (graduate), and 3) statistical consulting.

I currently offer two field biology courses. Biol 3230F is based on campus with day trips to nearby field sites in early fall. The course emphasizes, study design and field measurement techniques. My other field course, Adirondack Forest Ecology, is offered in collaboration with other Ontario universities (oupfb.ca) and takes place in mid-May at the Newcomb Campus research station in the central Adirondack Mountains, NY, USA. The students and I spend two weeks living at the research station, exploring the flora, fauna, and history of the region, and practicing field sampling methods.

Recent graduate courses have included mixed effects modeling, multivariate statistics, and spatial statistics. I typically teach one graduate statistics course in the winter term. Courses emphasize informed application of analytical techniques using R and based on a comprehensive conceptual understanding of the underlying methodology but not based on formal mathematical derivations.

In addition to teaching these courses I offer statistical consulting to researchers in the Biology Department including faculty, post-docs, graduate & undergraduate honours thesis students. If you are interested in any of these or other help with study design, statistics or R, please email me!

Degrees and Institutions

  • PDF Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
  • PhD State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, USA – 2003
  • MSc State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, USA – 1999
  • BSc McGill University, Montreal, QC - 1994

Teaching

  • Biology 3230F – Field Research in Biology
  • Biology 3220Z - Adirondack Forest Ecology (OUPFB Field Course)s

Anne Simon

Assistant Professor

Simon Contact Information
Office: BGS 3022
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 80084
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: asimon28@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Genetics of Social Behavior

Research Wesbsite

simonlab.wixsite.com/simonlab


Research and Teaching

In my lab, we are interested in determining the neurogenetic mechanisms by which animals respond to the presence of another similar individual. How does an animal decide what to do with the information that another individual is nearby? What are the neurogenetic circuitries underlying social interactions?

Using a now widespread behaviour paradigm designed in my lab, we assess one aspect of the fruit flies’ (Drosphila melanogaster) social behaviour: their preferred social space (space "bubble"). In an undisturbed group, flies will settle a reproducible distance that will depend on their genotype and their environment (social experience, their age and that their parents, or exposure to toxins, synaptic function...). We also quantify another type of response to social cues: flies strongly avoid the volatile substance Drosophila stressed odorant (dSO) emitted by stressed flies. Those paradigms have the advantage of being straightforward to implement, which allow us to pursue several lines of research, falling under two main umbrellas:

Fundamental Behavioural Genetics questions:

We are pursuing the neurogenetic characterization of social space behaviours in Drosophila, determining the neural circuitry underlying the social distance preference. We address these questions using both genetic mutants and biochemical approaches.

Through collaboration with Agriculture Canada, we also are characterizing dSO: its emission, its reception, and its composition (beyond CO2).

Study of candidate genes:

Taking advantage of the simple behavioural paradigms and use them as diagnostic tools to elucidate conserved pathways underlying candidate genes or environmental conditions affecting human behaviours, in order to identify potential targets for drug discovery. Indeed, inappropriate response to others is a shared deficit in many mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.

Our work contributes to the mapping of the central brain neural substrate underlying basic (non-sexual and non-aggressive) response to another nearby fly. This work will be relevant not only to studies of Drosophila behaviour, but also to genetics of social behaviour in other organisms. Indeed, as for other behaviours initially dissected in Drosophila – learning and memory, circadian rhythm (Nobel Prize 2017 Physiology and Medicine) - the cellular and molecular basis of social behaviour might be conserved through evolution.

Finally, I deeply enjoy sharing my fascination for the complexity of the biological world with students of all levels. I think that teaching happens beyond the classroom, and in parallel to teaching in the classroom, I have been continuously mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in my research projects.

Degrees and Institutions

  • Assistant Professor CUNY/York College, Biology Department, Jamaica, NY, 2008-13
  • Assistant Research Geneticist UCLA, Brain Research Institute, 2004-08
  • Research Scientist Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 2003-04
  • Postdoctoral researcher California Institute of Technology, 1998-2003
  • PhD Molecular and Cellular Genetics, University of Paris XI, FRANCE, 1998
  • MS Molecular and Genetic Biology, University of Paris XI, FRANCE, 1994
  • BS Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Paris XI, FRANCE, 1993

Teaching currently (and past)

  • (Biology 3316A: Advanced Cell Biology)
  • Biology 3596: Genomics and Beyond – 3rd year genetic lab course
  • (Biology 3597B: Regulation of Gene Expression)
  • (Biology 3598B: Behavioral Genetics)
  • Biology 4950: Seminars in Genetics
  • Biology 4970G/F: Independent Study in Biology
  • Biology 4999E: Honor Research Thesis

Brent Sinclair

Professor

Sinclair Contact Information
Office: BGS 2078
Lab: BGS 2056/GH13
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 83138
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: bsincla7@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Insects at Low Temperatures

Research Wesbsite

publish.uwo.ca/~bsincla7/


Research and Teaching

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

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD University of Otago 2001
  • BSc(Hons) University of Otago, New Zealand 1997

Teaching

  • On Sabbatical 2019-2020

David Smith

Associate Professor

Smith Contact Information
Office: BGS 3028
Lab: BGS 3027
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 86482
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: dsmit242@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Genome evolution and genetic diversity of microbial eukaryotes

Research Wesbsite

www.arrogantgenome.com/


Research and Teaching

We study genome architecture, genetic diversity, and the evolutionary forces that fashion genes and chromosomes. We’re interested in how nonadaptive processes shape genomes, including their nucleotide composition, compactness, conformation, chromosome number and telomeres. Much of our research employs protists (microbial eukaryotes). Protists have among the most diverse and eccentric genomes in the biological world, yet they are generally an untapped resource for studying genome evolution. We love weird genomes and trying to understand how they got that way.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD (Genetics and Evolution) Dalhousie University
  • BSc (Biology) Acadia University

Teaching

  • Biology 3595B – Advanced Genetics
  • Biology 4563G – Genome Evolution

Jim Staples

Professor

Staples Contact Information
Office: BGS 3020
Lab: BGS 3010
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 84057
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: jfstaple@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/staples/


Research and Teaching

My research program aims to understand how the metabolic systems of animals adapt to environmental challenges. In particular I am interested in the strategies used by endothermic animals to deal with cold environments. When challenged by the cold, most endotherms increase metabolic rate and heat production. We study enzymatic and mitochondrial “futile cycles” in bumblebees and rats as possible mechanisms of non-shivering thermogenesis.

Some small endotherms use an apparently opposite strategy by entering hibernation or torpor during the coldest parts of the year. These states involve profound reductions of body temperature and metabolic rate, allowing for energetic savings at a time when food supplies are typically at their lowest. We study mitochondrial metabolism in hibernation (using ground squirrels) and daily torpor (using dwarf Siberian hamsters) to better understand the mechanisms of metabolic suppression, and potential interactions with temperature and diet.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD (Zoology), University of British Columbia
  • BSc (Marine Biology), University of Guelph

Teaching

  • Biology 3220Z/4257Z/4258Z: Field Studies in Biology (Experimental Studies in Marine Biology)
  • Biology 3602B: Animal Physiology II

Vera Tai

Assistant Professor

Tai Contact Information
Office: BGS 2028
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 86209
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: vtai4@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Microbial Ecology and Bioinformatics

Research Wesbsite

publish.uwo.ca/~vtai4/


Research and Teaching

In most environments, microbes thrive and billions live together. Although invisible to us, these billions of microbes perform key biogeochemical functions, such as carbon cycling and primary production, that enable other life to exist. In the Tai lab, we investigate who are these billions of microbes, how do they interact with each other and with other members of the community, what are they doing, and how does their activity shape their environment and their ecosystem. Our research involves community ecology, biogeography, evolution, genomics, and bioinformatics. Most recently, my research has centred around the microbes inhabiting marine beaches and the fascinating symbiotic microbial communities in the hindguts of termites.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD Marine Biology, University of California, San Diego
  • MSc Botany, University of British Columbia
  • BSc Biology, University of New Brunswick

Teaching

  • Biology 1201A - General Biology I
  • Biology 3415G - Aquatic Ecology
  • Biology 9919B/PATH 97577B - Applied Bioinformatics

Graeme Taylor

Assistant Professor

Taylor Contact Information
Office: BGS 2066
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 81467
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: gtaylor8@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Evolution, Ecology and the Biomechanics of Animal Design


Research and Teaching

My research interests focus primarily on the interface between evolution, ecology, and biomechanics. In general, I am curious about constraints in design that might set the upper limits to performance for such activities as jumping, running, flying and biting. In this context, I have used the decapod claw (crabs and lobsters) as a model system. Decapod claws are exceptionally strong ‘biting’ devices used in the subjugation of hard-shelled prey; although simple in design, they are one of the strongest biting devices observed in any animal group. This is not surprising, considering that durophagous crabs and lobsters have been hunting hard-shelled prey, such as snails and clams, for millions of years. Indeed, this system provides one of the best examples of a coevolutionary arms-race between predator and prey. I have documented ecologically significant variation in claw performance and design among six species of Cancer crabs, which live on the Pacific Northwest coast (Bamfield Marine Station). I have also examined variation in claw performance and design at the population level, documenting rapid shifts in performance attributes in an invasive species. This work was conducted on the invasive green crab, Carcinus maenas, which now has a world-wide distribution and a well-documented invasion history in the Gulf of Maine. My research integrates approaches from diverse fields, including morphometrics, physiology, and development within an evolutionary context, to understand how animals are ‘designed’.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD (University of Alberta)
  • MSc (Queen’s University)
  • BSc (Trent University)

Teaching

  • Biology 3220Z - Field Studies in Biology
  • Biology 3229G - Animal Diversity: Ancestral Vertebrates to Jellyfish
  • Biology 4223F - Marine Environments
  • Biology 4920F/G - Seminar in Biology

Graham Thompson

Assistant Professor

Thompson Contact Information
Office: BGS 2068
Lab: BGS 2060
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 86570
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: graham.thompson@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Behavioural Genetics and Sociobiology

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/thompson/


Research and Teaching

My lab 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. Much like human societies, eusocial ants, bees, wasps and termites show bewildering complexity in how their societies are structured. Yet for insects, this complexity is derived from an economically simple division of labour into reproductive and non-reproductive specialists. Studying reproductive division of labour in insects at the level of the gene can provide key insights into how complex social systems evolved from simpler, ancestral ones. Studies on social insects can also help understand how our own societies might naturally mediate conflict, cooperation, altruism and spite. My lab uses natural history information from insects, the theory of social evolution and state-of-the-art gene technology imported from the medical sciences to discover how molecules influence the evolution and expression of social traits. Conversely, we are interested in how sociality itself influences the transmission and expression of genes. Within this theme, my lab tackles four broad questions:

  1. What is the genetic architecture of social populations?
  2. What are the phylogenetic patterns of social evolution?
  3. What role do pathogens play in shaping social systems?
  4. What genes are important to the expression of social traits?

Degrees and Institutions

  • Visiting Research Fellow, University of Lausanne
  • Postdoctoral fellow, University of Sydney
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Simon Fraser University
  • Postdoctoral fellow, James Cook University
  • PhD (Genetics and Evolution) LaTrobe University
  • MSc (Zoology) University of Guelph
  • BSc (Zoology) University of Guelph

Teaching

  • Biology 3436F - Animal Behaviour
  • Biology 3598B - Behavioural Genetics
  • Biology 4436G – Behavioral Ecology
  • Biology 4999E - Honors Research Thesis
  • Biology 9436 – Graduate Seminar Course in Behavioural Ecology

Greg Thorn

Associate Professor

Thorn Contact Information
Office: BGS 3047
Lab: BGS 3057
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 88647
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: rgthorn@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Fungal Ecology and Systematics

Research Wesbsite

publish.uwo.ca/~rgthorn/


Research and Teaching

The long-term research goal of the Thorn lab is to explore the relationships between phylogeny and function - evolution and ecology - in the fungi. Fungi are critically important in most terrestrial ecosystems, providing mineral nutrients to vascular plants through mycorrhizal symbioses and decomposing plant remains to recycle both organic and inorganic nutrients through the ecosystem. Fungi form networks of microscopic filamentous cells, and interact with all of the organisms - ranging from bacteria to mammals and plants - that share their physical environment. Although processes, such as nutrient cycling, that are driven by fungi are well recognized, almost nothing is known about which specific organisms are doing the job or how their interactions with other organisms affect the outcome of the process. A hypothesis underlying this work is that species are unique, multiplex organisms which can only be thought of as functionally redundant in terms of their ability to carry out a single biochemical reaction under laboratory conditions. Different species of fungi may indeed share this biochemical capacity, but each has a unique suite of other biochemical capacities and inter-organismal interactions that makes it unique in the natural environment.

Major research areas in Thorn’s lab include phylogeny of fungi inhabiting soil, litter and wood, discovery and description of fungal diversity, and determining the effects of disturbance, including agriculture, climate change and forestry, on fungal diversity and ecosystem function.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD (University of Toronto) 1991
  • MSc (University of Guelph) 1985

Teaching

  • Biology 3218G - Biology of the Fungi
  • Biology 3220Z – Tropical Biodiversity field course in Ecuador (with Dr Nina Zitani)
  • Biology 3404F – Evolution of Plants

Alexander Timoshenko

Assistant Professor

Timoshenko Contact Information
Office: BGS 3032
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 88900
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: atimoshe@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Cell Biology and Glycobiology

Research Wesbsite

www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/timoshenko/


Research and Teaching

The main areas of my research interests include the following: Biological Activity and Functions of Animal and Plant Lectins, Glycobiology, Molecular Mechanisms of Cellular Stress Responses, Cellular Signaling, Reactive Oxygen Species, Redox-Regulation of Cellular Functions, Cancer Biology, Lymphangiogenic Factors, Innate Immunity.

Degrees and Institutions

  • Doctor of Science, Biophysics, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk
  • Candidate of Science (Ph.D.), Biophysics, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk
  • Diploma, Physics, Belarusian State University, Belarus, Minsk

Teaching

  • Biology 3326F/G: Cell Biology Laboratory
  • Biology 3355A: Molecular Cell Biology of Stress
  • Biology 4930G: Seminar in Cell Biologys

Danielle Way

Associate Professor

Way Contact Information
Office: BGS 2030
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 88734
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: dway4@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Global change biology, plant physiology and ecology

Research Wesbsite

daniellewayblog.wordpress.com/


Research and Teaching

My 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.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PhD University of Toronto, 2008
  • BSc University of Toronto, 2002

Teaching

  • Biology 2601 - Organismal Physiology
  • Biology 3224 - Global Change Biology

Liana Zanette

Professor & Faculty Scholar

Zanette Contact Information
Office: Collip 207
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 x 88317
Phone (Lab): (519) 661-2111 x 88316
Fax: (519) 661-3935
Email: lzanette@uwo.ca
Research Areas

Wildlife Population, Conservation, and Behavioural Ecology

Research Wesbsite

publish.uwo.ca/~lzanette/


Research and Teaching

We work on fear. Particularly, how the fear of predators alters the brain, behaviour, and physiology of individuals in addition to population dynamics and community structure. We examine how fear applies to conservation, biodiversity and management, and its implications for human mental health including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We conduct manipulations in the field, in semi-natural conditions, and the lab to better understand how fear functions in nature. We work on a variety of mammalian and avian species in Canada and abroad from apex predators (e.g. African lions, cougars, bears) to meso-carnivores (e.g. raccoons, European badgers), herbivores (e.g. impala, deer), small mammals (e.g deermice), and birds. We have published some of the seminal empirical papers on fear effects in wildlife, including the important role that fear of the human ‘super predator’ plays. We have access to excellent infrastructure for fieldwork of all sorts, including field sites in Canada, the U.S., and South Africa, in addition to unparalleled lab resources at the Advanced Facility for Avian Research and our Large Outdoor Aviaries for semi-natural conditions at Western.

Degrees and Institutions

  • PDF Killam – Zoology, University of British Columbia, 2001
  • PhD Ecosystem Management & Zoology, University of New England (Australia), 2000
  • MSc Biology, Queen’s University, 1991
  • BSc Psychology, University of Toronto, 1988

Teaching

  • Biology 3440A - Ecology of Populations
  • Biology 3442F – Conservation Biology