Leadership

Paul Hebert
 

Paul Hebert

Director

Dr. Hebert carried out his undergraduate studies in biology at Queen’s University, his doctoral work in genetics at the University of Cambridge, and then held a Rutherford Fellowship at the University of Sydney. He currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Biodiversity at the University of Guelph where he is both a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Director of the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics. He brings 30 years of experience in the oversight of major research and academic units. He was Director of the Great Lakes Institute at the University of Windsor from 1986 to 1990 and Chair of the Department of Zoology at Guelph for the subsequent decade. He was Vice-President of Research at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre from 1992 to 1998 and then served as the Chair of its Board until 2003.

Since this time, he has focused his efforts on building a major research program in DNA barcoding, raising more than $100M to construct specialized research facilities, and to sustain a research team with outstanding capabilities in biodiversity science, informatics and genomics. He was Director for the Canadian Barcode of Life Network from 2005 to 2010. Since then, he has served as Scientific Director of the International Barcode of Life project, the largest research program ever undertaken in biodiversity science.

Dr. Hebert’s research program has employed diverse molecular approaches to advance understanding of issues such as breeding system evolution, invasive species and genome size evolution. He is, however, best known for proposing DNA barcoding as a tool for both specimen identification and species discovery. His 420 publications have attracted nearly 30,000 citations and an h-index of 75 (Web of Science), placing him as one of 35 Canadian researchers included in both the 2014 and 2015 lists of highly cited researchers. He has trained 97 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, nearly half of whom now hold faculty positions. He is an Officer in the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Waterloo and Windsor.


Sarah Adamowicz
 

Sarah Adamowicz

Faculty, Evolution & Ecology

Dr. Adamowicz is an evolutionary biologist and evolutionary community ecologist whose main study systems include arctic biodiversity as well as freshwater and marine biotas. Since 2008, she has managed a comprehensive animal and plant biodiversity survey at Churchill involving more than 100 researchers which has led to the most complete regional biodiversity inventory to date. She has been a leader and major contributor to three iBOL Working Groups (Arctic Life, Freshwater Life, Barcoding Biotas). Since taking up a faculty position in 2009, Dr. Adamowicz has quickly expanded her research group, supported by $300K in infrastructure funds and $125K /year in operating funds, and has supervised 11 graduate students. Her research group has also established a successful collaboration with Stantec, a major environmental consulting firm, demonstrating the utility of DNA barcoding in freshwater bioassessment at a pulp-and-paper mill site. Her 31 papers have received 631 citations and an h-index of 15.


Alex Borisenko
 

Alex Borisenko

Associate Director, International Development

Dr. Borisenko graduated from Moscow Lomonosov University (Russia) in 1994, where he received a PhD in Zoology (2000). He has spent 10 years (1994-2004) studying biodiversity as a researcher and curator at the Zoological Museum in Moscow and as an associate and laboratory head at the Vietnam-Russia Tropical Research and Technological Centre, Vietnam. Since 2004, he has been working at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) and involved in the Barcode of Life project, focusing on developing operational workflows for biodiversity collection and data management compatible with high-throughput molecular analyses and coordinating several international research projects. As leader of CBG’s International Development Unit, Dr. Borisenko oversees the Centre’s capacity-building initiatives in developing countries and the unit’s flagship Research Training Program in DNA barcoding. He has managed several externally funded international development initiatives (IDRC, 2012-2013; CATRTA, 2013-2015; CBD, 2015), has facilitated several international workshops in DNA barcoding, and has served as the CBG’s liaison with the Convention on Biological Diversity. His interests and expertise lie in the areas of biodiversity research, DNA barcoding, biological collection and data management, international development, and policy related to framework agreements on biodiversity and genetic resources. His 42 publications have 292 citations, generating an h-index of 8.


Jeremy deWaard
 

Jeremy deWaard

Associate Director, Collections

Dr. deWaard has been involved with DNA barcoding for more than a decade. His doctoral work at UBC focused on the application of DNA barcoding to forest biomonitoring, biosecurity, and phylogenetics, contributing work on these themes to the Canadian Barcode of Life Network. He has led the Collections Unit at BIO since 2012, overseeing and implementing all operational and research initiatives linked to the acquisition, assembly, and processing of specimens for DNA barcode analysis. He manages 30 staff in his Unit, oversees $1M in infrastructure, tracks production levels, and monitors the quality of work. He is heavily involved in liaison with governmental agencies, industry partners, and other external organizations. His 23 publications have received 4932 citations, generating an h-index of 12.


Mehrdad Hajibabaei
 

Mehrdad Hajibabaei

Faculty, Evolution & Genomics

Dr. Hajibabaei has strong expertise in molecular evolutionary biology and bioinformatics. His research is focused on the use of genomics information for biodiversity analysis, ranging from the elucidation of deep branches on the tree of life to the establishment and application of DNA barcodes. He has been one of the pioneers in the use of high-throughput genomics technologies, such as microarrays and NGS, for the assessment of biodiversity in samples as varied as natural health products to bulk environmental samples. Additionally, he has aided the establishment of large research consortia, such as the Canadian Barcode of Life Network and the International Barcode of Life (iBOL). He currently leads Biomonitoring 2.0 (www.biomonitoring2.org), a large-scale applied genomics project funded by Genome Canada, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada involving seven research groups. This project uses NGS technologies for comprehensive assessment of biodiversity in Canada’s largest national park, Wood Buffalo National Park, with direct linkage to environmental monitoring of the Alberta Oil Sands. Dr. Hajibabaei has raised over $6.5M in research funds from various agencies and the industrial sector. He has served on advisory and review panels for international organizations and funding agencies, and has collaborated with regulatory agencies and various industries. His 60 publications have received 4442 citations, generating an h-index of 26.


Robert Hanner
 

Robert Hanner

Faculty, Molecular Biodiversity

Dr. Hanner has been engaged in DNA barcoding and its applications for over a decade. He served as Associate Director for the Canadian Barcode of Life Network from 2005-2010 and currently coordinates the Fish Barcode of Life (FISH-BOL) campaign. He also serves as the North American node representative to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. In addition to furthering an understanding of fish biodiversity, his research has engaged citizen scientists, journalists, and NGOs in revealing market substitution, both in Canada and internationally. His research is also aiding food security through the bio-surveillance of agricultural pests and by measuring the impacts of varied agricultural practices (e.g. crop rotation, tilling practices) on the biodiversity underpinning the productivity of soils. His research group is currently using NGS and quantitative PCR to detect trace contaminants and to quantify mixtures, work which has attracted new industry partnerships focused on compliance biomonitoring. He is also leading efforts to promote DNA barcoding as a tool for the authentication of genomic resources and co-chairs a Committee for the American Type Culture Collections Standards Development Organization. This group is working to see barcoding adopted as an American National Standards Institute approved method for the identification of animal cells. With an emphasis on international engagement, Dr. Hanner has participated in the scientific program of every international barcode conference to date, culminating in the development of the Kunming Declaration on the promotion of DNA barcoding and biodiversity science. His 82 publications have received 2113 citations and an h-index of 22.


 Lila Kari
 

Lila Kari

Faculty, Computational Biology

Dr. Kari is a professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo (on leave from Western University). She is regarded as one of the world’s experts in the area of biomolecular computation, that is using biological, chemical, and other natural systems to perform computations. In 2015, she received the Rozenberg Tulip Award for the DNA Computer Scientist of the Year, awarded at the 21st International conference on DNA Computing and Molecular Programming, Harvard University, USA. She is Editor-in-Chief for the journal Theoretical Computer Science, responsible for Part C – Natural Computing. She has served as Steering Committee Chair for the DNA Computing and Molecular Programming conference series, as Steering Committee member for the Unconventional Computation and Natural Computation conference series, as well as on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the International Society for Nanoscale Science, Computation, and Engineering. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the FIELDS Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, the UK EPSRC Peer Review College, on the NSERC Grant Selection Committee on Computing and Information Systems, and the NSERC Herzberg-Brockhouse-Polanyi Prize joint selection committee. At Western University, she has received numerous awards, including the Florence Bucke Science Prize and the Faculty of Science Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. From 2002 to 2011, she was Canada Research Chair in Biocomputing, and her current research focuses on theoretical aspects of bioinformation and biocomputation, including models of cellular computation, nanocomputation by DNA self-assembly, and Watson-Crick complementarity in formal languages.


Laurence Packer
 

Laurence Packer

Faculty, Systematics & Conservation Genetics

Dr. Packer obtained a BA in zoology from the University of Oxford and a PhD from the University of Toronto. He has been at York University since 1988 and is currently a professor in the Department of Biology, where he has four main areas of research interest: bee systematics and taxonomy, bee conservation genetics, sociobiology, and biodiversity. He has served as a member of the Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods) and the committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (Co-Chair, Arthropods Specialist Subcomittee). Dr. Packer spearheads the Campaign to Barcode the Bees of the World (BeeBOL) and recently published a book on “Keeping the Bees – Why all Bees Are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Them”. His work to educate both students and public audiences alike are regularly featured in the media. His 160 publications have received 2600 citations and an h-index of 27.


Sujeevan Ratnasingham
 

Sujeevan Ratnasingham

Associate Director, Informatics

Mr. Ratnasingham has 13 years of experience in leading innovative informatics projects in the university and private sectors. He has led development of the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) since its inception in 2004. As a result of BOLD’s transformative impacts, he received the prestigious Ebbe Nielsen Prize from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility in 2010, and remains the only Canadian researcher to have won this award. As Associate Director of Informatics at the CBG, Mr. Ratnasingham oversees a staff of 20, $2.5M in high performance computing equipment, and software codes reflecting an investment of more than $5M. He acts as an interface with computer science groups locally, nationally, and globally. For example, as Chair of iBOL’s Informatics Working Group, Mr. Ratnasingham represents the interests of various stakeholders in iBOL strategic sessions. As iBOL’s representative to the Genomics Standards Consortium, he is heavily involved with outreach and community building. He also represents the CBG in the broader bioinformatics community through his involvement in the establishment of data and workflow standards. He was, for example, a key contributor to the selection and evaluation of DNA barcode markers for both the animal and plant kingdoms. His 17 publications have received 4242 citations, generating an h-index of 12.


Dirk Steinke
 

Dirk Steinke

Associate Director, Education & Outreach

Dr. Steinke has been involved in the Barcode of Life Initiative since 2005, initially focusing on DNA barcoding of fishes and analytical methods. He has a strong background in evolutionary biology, genomics, and DNA analysis as well as science education and research communication. Dr. Steinke coordinated an international research program that barcoded 10,000 species of marine organisms, a project that was supported by $1.2M from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York City. His background in DNA barcoding and his management skills led to his appointment as the CBG’s Associate Director of Education & Outreach in 2012. Since taking up this position, he has initiated an influential barcode blog, edited a quarterly newsletter for the barcode research community, and developed an experiential learning program in DNA barcoding and biodiversity research for students in grades K-12. He is also the developer and instructor for an online course on DNA barcoding that is offered through the University of Guelph’s distance education portfolio. His 52 publications have received 1368 citations, generating an h-index of 22.


Evgeny Zakharov
 

Evgeny Zakharov

Associate Director, Genomics

Dr. Zakharov has 15 years of research experience in molecular systematics, population genetics, and evolutionary biology. He joined BIO as a postdoctoral fellow in 2007, but soon moved into a research management role, overseeing the CBG’s core sequencing facility, the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding (CCDB) since 2009. Dr. Zakharov has positioned himself as a change leader who has played an important role in developing a high-throughput DNA barcode facility which now analyzes over 1M samples annually and serves almost 700 research groups from the academic, government, and private sectors worldwide. His strong performance led to his subsequent appointment as Project Manager for the CBG’s largest project (iBOL), where his responsibilities include the coordination of internal research efforts and its linkages with other organizations. Dr. Zakharov has a strong commitment to operational excellence and continuous improvement which builds on his research and management training. His team is fully capable of conducting cutting- edge research and methods development, to ensure an unparalleled level of analytical services. His 31 publications have received 725 citations and an h-index of 10.