Sujeevan RatnasinghamAssociate Director, Informatics
Evgeny ZakharovAssociate Director, Genomics
Donald HobernExecutive Secretary, iBOL
Dirk SteinkeAssociate Director, Analytics
Jeremy deWaardAssociate Director, Collections
Mikko PentinsaariAssociate Director, Taxonomy
Michelle D’SouzaMcCain Foods: Farms of the Future
Hannah JamesManager, Media & Communications
Associate Director, Informatics
Sujeevan Ratnasingham is a bioinformatician with 17 years of experience leading innovative informatics projects in the research and commercial sectors. He is the chief architect of the BOLD (Barcode of Life Data Systems) and mBRAVE (Multiplex Barcode Research and Visualization Environment) data platforms, launched in 2005 and 2017. He designed and developed the BIN (Barcode Index Number) framework, a machine learning system to accelerate the registration of biodiversity. He created two companies: LifeScanner, a portable DNA barcoding solution, in 2018 and co-founded Multiplex Genomics Inc, a high-throughput clinical diagnostics firm, in 2020, serving as COO of the latter. He also serves as Co-Chair of iBOL’s Database Working Group where he works with stakeholders and partners to establish community data standards and construct shared infrastructure. As Director of Informatics at the CBG, he oversees a staff of 20 and drives the Centre’s informatics agenda. His research interests include database design, sequence analysis, and machine learning. He received the Ebbe Nielson Award in 2010, EcoLogic Bronze Award in 2018, and LAAIR Innovation Prize in 2019. His 68 publications have received 17,318 citations, generating an h-index of 23 (Google Scholar).
Associate Director, Genomics
Dr. Evgeny Zakharov has 15 years of research experience in molecular systematics, population genetics, and evolutionary biology. He joined the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario as a postdoctoral fellow in 2007, but soon moved into a research management role, overseeing the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics’ core sequencing facility, the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding (CCDB) since 2009. Evgeny 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 International Barcode of Life consortium, where he coordinates internal research efforts and its links to external stakeholders. Evgeny is committed to operational excellence and works to support his team to conduct cutting-edge research and methods development ensuring an unparalleled level of analytical services. His 88 publications have received 2,887 citations and an h-index of 26 (Google Scholar).
Executive Secretary, iBOL
Donald Hobern joined the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) consortium from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) in Copenhagen, Denmark. Based in Canberra, Australia, Hobern is responsible for expanding iBOL’s international partnerships and for ensuring both administrative and scientific support for its diverse research projects. Hobern began his career as a software developer and web architect for IBM. From 2007 to 2011, he served as Director of the $13 million Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) Project, overseeing the creation of the national database and web portal for Australian biodiversity data. Serving at GBIF’s Executive Secretary from 2012 to 2019, Hobern was instrumental in developing and implementing its strategy for biodiversity data sharing. His goal was to work with governments and organizations to form a global network for the mobilization and use of free and open data for studying biodiversity patterns.
Associate Director, Analytics
Dr. Dirk 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 experiential biodiversity learning programs for students in grades K-12 (SMTP, Bees@schools). Since 2017 he leads CBG’s Analytics unit and is managing CBG’s activities within Food from Thought. In 2017 he was appointed adjunct professor at the Department of Integrative Biology (IB) and serves as associate graduate faculty for IB, Bioinformatics, OneHealth, and the Collaborative Specialization in Artificial Intelligence program. His 100 publications have received some 5,916 citations, generating an h-index of 43 (Google Scholar).
Associate Director, Collections
Dr. Jeremy 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 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 90 publications have received 23,623 citations, generating an h-index of 30 (Google Scholar). Jeremy also leads the Arctic BIOSCAN project.
Associate Director, Taxonomy
Dr. Mikko Pentinsaari has been involved in DNA barcoding since his M.Sc studies at the University of Oulu, Finland (2008-2010). His PhD work at Oulu 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 the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) as a postdoctoral fellow in 2017. His research at the CBG focuses on taxonomy, biogeography and DNA barcode reference libraries of beetles. Since May 2019, Mikko has served as the Associate Director of the CBG’s Taxonomy Unit where he leads a team in updating and validating the taxonomic hierarchy on the Barcode of Life Data (BOLD) System, curating the taxonomic identifications of the specimen records, and consulting with taxonomic experts worldwide. His publications have received 673 citations, generating an h-index of 11 (Google Scholar).
Project Manager, BIOSCAN-Canada
Dr. Bock is an evolutionary and invasion biologist with 14 years of experience in using DNA sequencing to understand biodiversity. He completed his undergraduate studies in Biology at Babeș-Bolyai University in Romania, followed by an MSc degree in Environmental Science at University of Windsor, and a PhD degree in Botany at the University of British Columbia. From 2017 to 2021 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and Washington University. As a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow, he received several prestigious awards, including the Killam Doctoral Fellowship, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the NSERC Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship. He is also an Editor for the journal Genome, and a Special Issue Editor for the journal Molecular Ecology. His strong track record of interdisciplinary research and collaboration with academia and government led to his appointment at Center for Biodiversity Genomics as the Project Manager for BIOSCAN-Canada. In this capacity, Dr. Bock will facilitate research activities and linkages with member organizations of BIOSCAN-Canada, an ambitious project that stands to transform our capacity to understand and preserve biodiversity. His 27 publications have received 2,433 citations, generating an h-index of 21 (Google Scholar).
Project Manager, McCain Foods: Farms of the Future
Dr. Michelle Lynn D’Souza is a molecular ecologist whose work focuses on biodiversity conservation, community engagement, and knowledge mobilization. She has helped forge partnerships with several global networks to provide institutional support for projects in Costa Rica (Area de Conservación Guanacaste), Ghana (Target Malaria), Honduras (Operation Wallacea), and South Africa (Iziko Museum). Valuing science literacy and the power of storytelling has led her to create a digital body of work that increases the accessibility of science research including videos, websites, and an online science magazine (www.barcodebulletin.com). As a Mitacs Elevate Fellow, she is currently the liaison between the CBG and McCain Foods Ltd. on the ‘Farms of the Future’ project that aims to showcase how regenerative farming practices and the latest agricultural technology and innovations can be implemented at scale. Her research strives to acquire comprehensive baseline data on soil biodiversity and identify the agricultural practices fostering biological communities that enhance soil productively. This position followed her postdoctoral research (2018-2020) where as project manager for a major international biodiversity initiative involving park rangers in Kruger National Park, South Africa, she examined the value of DNA-based insect monitoring in National Parks. Her graduate research (2013-2018) examined insect spatio-temporal biodiversity patterns in the remote cloud forests of Honduras in alliance with local communities. It also involved contributions to an international collaboration between the CBG and multiple contributors from around the world through the Global Malaise Trap Program.
Manager, Media & Communications
Hannah leads media and communications for the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics and the International Barcode of Life consortium. Her team produces articles, videos, and outreach materials focused on knowledge mobilization and capacity-building for DNA technologies for biodiversity monitoring worldwide. Hannah has produced videos for the Kruger Malaise Program in South Africa, BioAlfa Project in Costa Rica, and the Arctic Bioscan project in Nunavut. Hannah is also an award-winning journalist and worked for more than 15 years producing investigative programs and documentaries for CTV News, Global News, National Geographic, History Television. Her videography and articles have been published in The Guardian, Canadian Geographic, and more. She has served as a Chapter President for Journalists for Human Rights, a Board Member for the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Association of Journalists, and a juror for the Canadian Screen Awards. She has a MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario and an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto.