Research in the area of  ‘bioinformatics and functional genomics’ leverages the power of genomic and post-genomic technologies, to address fundamentally important biological questions in a wide range of organisms, from a molecular level, through to a population perspective.  Our laboratories provide a superb training environment for motivated post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates.

Faculty & Areas of Interest

Ian Dworkin – the interaction of nutrition, genomic variation and sex on development and morphology

Jonathan Dushoff – evolution/spread of infectious disease, from computational, statistical and theoretical perspectives

Marie Elliot – gene regulation governing microbial development and antibiotic production

Ben Evans –  evolutionary genetics of gene duplication and sex chromosomes

Turlough Finan – functional genomic investigations into nitrogen fixing symbiotic bacteria

Brian Golding – molecular evolution, bioinformatics and sequence analysis

Herb E. Schellhorn – genomic and transcriptomic analyses of enteric bacteria

Jonathon Stone – computational biology

Elizabeth Weretilnyk – understanding plant stress responses through post-genomic technologies

Relevant Graduate Courses

BIOL 6DD3 / Molecular Evolution

BIOL 708 / Quantitative Methods in Ecology and Evolution

BIOL 709 / Special Topics in Biology

BIOL 715 / Topics in Evolutionary Genetics

BIOL 720 / Bioinformatics

BIOL 721 / Topics in Molecular Evolution

BIOL 724 / Molecular Ecology

BIOL 742 / Molecular and Metabolomic Responses of Plants to Environmental Perturbations

BIOL 775 / Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Genomics

Education *750 / Principles and Practices of University Teaching

For more information on these courses, please click here

Research Highlights

• 3.5 million dollar Ontario Research Fund grant awarded to Dr. Weretilnyk to use next generation sequencing to reveal the incredible stress tolerance mechanisms of the Yukon native plant Thellungiella. The long term goal is use this knowledge to improve crop stress tolerance and sustainability.

• 2.8 million dollar ORF grant awarded to Dr. Herb Schellhorn and colleagues, to fund studies into water contamination by E. coli bacteria

• Infection modelling by the Dushoff lab has provided key insights into the spread of HIV and influenza infections (as published in PLoS Biology and PNAS)

• Recent work by the Evans lab has uncovered new amphibian species (as profiled on CBC), revealed variation in the genetic mechanisms for sex determination in frogs, and explored how social systems affect gene evolution in primates

•  Functional genomic analyses by the Finan lab (funded by Genome Canada) have significantly advanced our understanding of bacterial-plant symbiosis

• The Golding lab is a national leader in understanding molecular evolution, and has provided important analyses into antibiotic resistance (Nature, 2011), and the bubonic plague (Nature, 2011)

• Discoveries in the Elliot lab have revealed novel mechanisms governing bacterial development (PNAS, 2011), and led to the development of new strategies to stimulate antibiotic production (mBio, 2012)

• Work in the Stone laboratory focuses on ‘big picture’ questions, as befits the Associate Director of the Origins Institute here at McMaster