Principal Investigator

Rowan Barrett

rowan thunderbeeRowan is the Canada Research Chair of Biodiversity Science at McGill University. He completed his M.Sc. at McGill in 2005, conducting experimental evolution with microbes. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia in 2010, where he studied the genetics of adaptation in threespine stickleback. He then moved to Harvard University as a Howard Alper postdoctoral fellow, where he investigated ecological genomics using deer mice. Since 2013 Rowan has been an assistant professor in the Redpath Museum and Department of Biology at McGill. He is broadly interested in the reciprocal interactions between ecological and evolutionary processes, and the mechanisms by which these forces impact genomic variation in natural populations.

Rowan’s CV and Google Scholar profile.

Graduate Students

Tim Thurman

IMG_6490Tim received his BA in Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology from Vanderbilt University. As an undergraduate he worked in Daniel Funk’s lab, studying the dynamics of Wolbachia infection in a genus of leaf beetles. After graduation he worked as a research assistant at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, studying the genetics of mate choice in Heliconius butterflies. For his Ph.D. research, Tim is interested in combining field work with genomics to understand how ecological interactions influence evolutionary processes in natural populations. A member of the STRI-NEO program, Tim is co-advised by Owen McMillan at STRI. Tim’s website.


Sara Smith

Sara researched the homing behaviour and site fidelity of tidepool sculpins while completing her B.Sc at the University of Calgary. She is excited to be doing her M.Sc. research on the genetic basis of behaviour and thermal preference in both marine and freshwater populations of threespine stickleback along the West coast. Sara is co-advised by Sean Rogers at the University of Calgary.


Marc-Olivier Beausoleil

Marco_s_blurb_pictureMarc-Olivier completed his B.Sc in ecology in a problem-based learning program at l’Université du Québec à Montréal. He studied, as an undergraduate with Denis Réale and Anne Charmantier, population genetics of blue tit (Cyanistes cæruleus) birds in Corsica. He is interested in ecology, evolutionary biology and the intrigue of biological diversity on this planet. Multidisciplinary approaches are his hobby horse, and he tries trying to combine scientific popularization, knowledge transfer, and a bit of art. His M.Sc. thesis will utilize population genomic methods to understand the evolution of Darwin’s finches. Marc-Olivier’s website.

Ananda Martins

Ananda completed her BA in Biological Sciences at Federal University of Maranhão – Brazil (UFMA). As an undergraduate she worked on the systematics and phylogenetics of Arcas Swainson (Lycaenidae) and evolutionary aspects of male secondary sexual organs, under the supervision of Dr. Robert Robbins (National Museum of Natural History – Smithsonian Institution) and Dr. Gisele Garcia Azevedo (UFMA). She completed her M.Sc. at the Museum of Zoology – University of São Paulo/Brazil (MZUSP), working on the systematics and phylogenetics the Atlides Section (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Theclinae, Eumaeini), under the orientation of Dr. Marcelo Duarte (MZUSP) and Dr. Robert Robbins (Smithsonian Institution). For her Ph.D. research, Ananda is interested in patterns of biodiversity and mechanisms that drive these patterns. She will focus especially on the process of hybridization, working with Heliconius butterflies of the Brazilian Amazon. Ananda is a member of the NEO program and is co-advised by Dr. Owen McMillan (STRI).


Juntao Hu

Juntao received his B.S in Agriculture from China Agricultural University (CAU) where he conducted his research with Dr. Zhihong Li on insect taxonomy of Liriomyza genus in China. He then completed his M.Sc. in Agriculture under the supervision of Zhihong Li investigating the relationship between thermal plasticity and hardening response of heat shock protein expression in two Bactrocera fruit flies. For his Ph.D. research, Juntao is interested in connecting epigenetic modification with gene expression and thermal plasticity in marine and freshwater threespine stickleback.


Charles Xu

Charles received his B.Sc. in environmental sciences from the University of Notre Dame. During his undergraduate, he worked on aquatic environmental DNA in the lab of Dr. David Lodge, speciation genomics of apple maggot flies with Dr. Jeffrey Feder, and an independent project on spider web DNA. He then finished his M.Sc. in evolutionary biology in the MEME Erasmus Mundus programme where he earned degrees from the University of Groningen, University of Montpellier, and Uppsala University. In his masters, he worked on the genetics of starvation tolerance in European seabass with Dr. Bruno Guinand, population estimation of giant pandas using genetic mark recapture in the lab of Dr. Jacob Höglund, and taxonomic assignment of metabarcoding data in the lab of Dr. Douglas Yu at the Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Charles was awarded a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship to support his Ph.D., which will focus on the experimental genomics of deer mice. Charles’ website.


Mathilde Salamon

Mathilde earned her BSc in Biological Sciences from the University Paris-Sud. As an undergraduate, she worked on the evolution of reproduction strategies in the ant Cataglyphis cursor (supervised by Dr. Thibaud Monnin, University Pierre and Marie Curie). She completed her MSc in evolutionary ecology at the University Paris-Saclay after a one year exchange at the University of Calgary. During her MSc, she worked on invasive species at the Roscoff Marine Station, studying trophic characteristics of native and invasive sympatric Ascidian species (co-supervised by Dr. Christophe Lejeusne and Dr. Thierry Comtet), as well as connectivity patterns and population dynamics in the invasive kelp Undaria pinnatifida (supervised by Frédérique Viard). For her Ph.D, she will use genomic tools and experimental approaches to study the adaptation of calanoid copepods to climate change and toxicity. Mathilde is based at the Université du Québec à Montréal and is co-supervised by Alison Derry. She is a member of the EcoLac program.



Alan Garcia-Efring

Alan obtained a BSc from Vancouver Island University. He then joined the Millien lab at McGill University, where he used genomic tools to investigate the evolutionary history of the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) in southern Quebec. For his PhD, Alan is interested in using population genomics to investigate the genetic basis of phenotypic traits. In particular, he will focus on uncovering the genetic basis of recessive colour morphs in ball pythons (Python regius) found in herpetoculture.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Antoine Paccard

Antoine received his B.S. and M.Sc. from University of Grenoble, France, with a one year exchange at Laval University and a three year research program completed at the University of British Columbia working on thermal adaptation in the threespine stickleback fish. He then earned his Ph.D. from the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland) testing fundamental concepts about adaptation using  Arabidopsis lyrata . His general aims were to understand how diversity is maintained in small populations, and the limits of adaptation at range margins. In February 2014 he started a postdoc in the Barrett lab studying the genetic basis of thermal adaptation using  stickleback populations on the East and West coasts of North America. Antoine’s website.

Lab alumni

Kiran Yendamuri (volunteer)
Caroline LeBlond (Research technician)
Samantha LaPenna (Biogenius Competition, Vanier College)
Dieta Hanson (Ph.D.) – Dieta’s website.
Arash Askary (Ph.D.)
Sara Kurland (M.Sc.)
Nour Zein (B.Sc. Hons)
Areeb Butt (Undergraduate research assistant)
Dominique Danco (Undergraduate research assistant)
Mehvish Bukhari (Undergraduate research assistant)
Denice Liu (B.Sc. Hons)


DRY-BAR Lab group

The BARrett lab also spends a lot of time with people in Andrew HenDRY‘s lab group at McGill. We share a number of research interests and our offices are all nearby each other in the Redpath Museum. Every Thursday the two groups get together for a big shared lab meeting, which is always good fun and has initiated many fruitful collaborations between members of both labs and our visitors!


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