Leadership

Paul Hebert
 

Paul Hebert

Director

Paul 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 a professor in its Department of Integrative Biology and Director of its 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 on building a major research program in DNA barcoding, raising more than $100 million 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 Consortium which has overseen two major research programs.

His research 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 490 publications have attracted more than 70,000 citations and an h-index of 110 (Google Scholar). He was among the 2014 and 2015 highly cited researchers recognized by Thomson Reuters and on the 2018 Clarivate Web of Science list. He has trained 105 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows; nearly half 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, Western, and Windsor. He received the 2018 Dr. A. H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Sarah Adamowicz
 

Sarah Adamowicz

Faculty, Evolution & Ecology

Dr. Adamowicz completed her undergraduate studies at Dalhousie University, MSc at the University of Guelph, and PhD at Imperial College London. After holding an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Waterloo, she rejoined the University of Guelph as a faculty member in 2009. Dr. Adamowicz is now an Associate Professor in evolutionary biology, with a particular focus upon molecular evolution and patterns of diversification. Her 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, Manitoba—known as the polar bear capital of the world—involving more than 100 researchers. This collaborative effort has resulted in one of the most complete regional DNA barcode libraries constructed to date, a resource which Dr. Adamowicz and her collaborators are using to advance the fields of community ecology, macroecology, phylogeography, and molecular evolution. She has been a leader and major contributor to three Working Groups within the International Barcode of Life Consortium’s first project, BARCODE 500K: Arctic Life, Freshwater Life, and Barcoding Biotas. She additionally serves as an Associate Editor of the journal Genome and has edited several special issues on DNA barcoding. Dr. Adamowicz’s research group has been supported by an infrastructure grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and operating grants through the NSERC Discovery program and the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network. She has supervised 13 graduate students in the Masters and PhD programs in Integrative Biology as well Bioinformatics. Her 42 papers have received 1419 citations and an h-index of 21 (Google Scholar).


Alex Borisenko
 

Alex Borisenko

Associate Director, Arctic Programs
Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Borisenko graduated from Moscow Lomonosov University (Russia) in 1994, where he later received a PhD in Zoology (2000). From 1994-2004, he studied mammal biodiversity and ecomorphology 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, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Since 2004, he joined the DNA barcoding initiative at the University of Guelph, focusing on developing operational workflows for biodiversity collection and data management. More recently, he coordinated several international research projects in mammal barcoding. In 2013-2018, he led CBG’s International Development Unit and managed the Centre’s externally funded portfolio of international development projects (IDRC, 2012-2013; CATRTA, 2013-2015, 2016-2017; SCBD, 2015, 2016). These activities facilitated the adoption of DNA barcoding in over 34 developing nations and catalyzed the establishment of two national DNA barcoding networks (Peru, 2014; Honduras, 2017). In 2015-2018 he served as the CBG’s liaison with the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity. He presently manages the Arctic BIOSCAN project which aims to deploy rapid DNA based biodiversity surveillance approaches in the Canadian Arctic. Dr. Borisenko’s interests and expertise lie in the areas of DNA barcoding applications in biodiversity research, with a taxonomic emphasis on mammals, as well as biological collection and data management, international development, and policy related to framework agreements on biodiversity and genetic resources. His 50 publications have 1340 citations, generating an h-index of 18 (Google Scholar).


Jeremy deWaard
 

Jeremy deWaard

Associate Director, Collections
Adjunct Faculty

Dr. deWaard has been involved with DNA barcoding since its inception in the early 2000s. He completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Guelph, followed by his PhD at the University of British Columbia. He is now responsible for leading a team of over twenty staff and students, managing a natural history collection of nearly five million invertebrate specimens, and overseeing the operations and research initiatives linked to the acquisition and processing of specimens for DNA barcode analysis. He is heavily involved in liaison with governmental agencies, academic partners, and various external organizations, particularly natural history collections. His research focuses on biological inventories, biosurveillance, ecosystem monitoring, and the integrative systematics of terrestrial arthropods. He is an Adjunct Professor and Instructor at the University of Guelph, a member of the COSEWIC Arthropods Specialist Sub-Committee, an Editor for the journals Molecular Ecology and Molecular Ecology Resources, a Director of the Entomological Society of Ontario, an executive member of the Global Genome Biodiversity Network, and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution – National Museum of Natural History. His 48 publications have received 17,000 citations, generating an h-index of 23 (Google Scholar).


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) Consortium. 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 10125 citations, generating an h-index of 37 (Google Scholar).


Mikko Pentinsaari
 

Mikko Pentinsaari

Associate Director, Taxonomy

Dr. Pentinsaari has been involved in DNA barcoding since his M.Sc studies at the University of Oulu, Finland (2008-2010). His PhD work at the same university focused on the utility of DNA barcodes in species discovery and identification of beetles (Coleoptera), as well as amino acid level variation in the DNA barcode region. He received his PhD degree in 2016, and joined CBG as a postdoctoral fellow in 2017. His research at CBG focuses on taxonomy, biogeography and DNA barcode reference libraries of beetles. Since May 2019, Dr. Pentinsaari has served as the acting Associate Director of the newly established Taxonomy Unit. In that position, he manages a team of four people focusing on updating and validating the taxonomic hierarchy on BOLD, curating the taxonomic identifications of the specimen records on BOLD, and engaging with external taxonomic experts. His nine publications have received 300 citations, generating an h-index of 8 (Google Scholar).


Sujeevan Ratnasingham
 

Sujeevan Ratnasingham

Associate Director, Informatics
Adjunct Faculty

Sujeevan 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, he 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, Sujeevan 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 20 publications have received 9985 citations, generating an h-index of 15 (Google Scholar).


Dirk Steinke
 

Dirk Steinke

Associate Director, Analytics
Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Steinke has been involved in DNA barcoding research 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. He served as CBG’s Associate Director of Education & Outreach from 2012-2017. During his tenure he initiated an influential blog, edited a quarterly newsletter for the barcode research community, and developed an experiential biodiversity learning program for students in grades K-12. He is also the developer and instructor for three online courses in the field of DNA barcoding that are offered through the University of Guelph’s distance education portfolio. Early 2017, Dirk took on the role as Associate Director for Research Coordination managing CBG’s research portfolio and in particular its activities within Food from Thought. Since 2019 he leads CBG’s Analytics unit. His 74 publications have received some 4000 citations, generating an h-index of 34 (Google Scholar).


Evgeny Zakharov
 

Evgeny Zakharov

Associate Director, Genomics
Adjunct Faculty

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 initiative (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 38 publications have received 1518 citations and an h-index of 17 (Google Scholar).