Aaron Shafer | BSc (McMaster) | MSc (Acadia) | PhD (Alberta) | PDF (Uppsala)
Assistant Professor | Forensic Science Program & Environmental Life Sciences Graduate Program

My group uses molecular tools to understand the drivers of biological processes like migration and adaptation in nature. I am also interested in applying genomic methods to conservation and legal issues and I am part of the IUCN Caprinae SSC and an Associate Editor at Conservation Genetics.

See Aaron's CV and GoogleScholar profile


Jess Breen | Advanced Diploma in Biotechnology (Fleming College) | EcoCanada Internship
Lab Manager (2017-Present)

Jess has a strong background in biotechnology and laboratory protocols. Jess makes the lab run smoothly and runs the lab component of a large collaborative project with Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game.



Maegwin Bonar | BSc (Winnipeg) | MSc (Memorial University of Newfoundland) 
PhD Candidate (2018-Present) | Environmental Life Sciences Graduate Program - co-supervised with Joe Northrup

Maegwin brings a strong background in ecological theory and modeling to the lab, along with a passion for outreach. Maegwin's PhD thesis will (likely) focus on integrating GPS and genomic data in wild ungulates to better understand the drivers of movement behaviour. 


Daria Martchenko | BSc (McGill) | MSc (Guelph) 
PhD Candidate (2016-Present) | Environmental Life Sciences Graduate Program

Daria brings a diverse background in statistics, ecological modelling, and programming to the lab. Her PhD thesis is focussed on using genomic data to address questions related to mountain goat demography and evolution in Alaska.


Spencer Anderson | BSc (Trent) | Graduate Diploma (UOttawa)
MSc Candidate (2017-Present) | Environmental Life Sciences Graduate Program

Spencer has background in Population Health Risk Assessment and Management. His MSc thesis will be looking at white-tailed deer (WTD) genomics and microbial diversity and using some of his previous skills to gauge population health and ultimately inform WTD management.


Sarah Haworth | BScFS (Trent) - co-supervised with Joe Northrup
MSc Candidate (2018-Present) | Environmental Life Sciences Graduate Program

Sarah's undergraduate thesis used non-invasive samples to characterize the microbiome of mountain goat populations. She is continuing her work in our lab as a MSc student studying white-tailed deer genomics and disease.


Jesse Wolf | BSc (Guelph)
MSc Candidate (2018-Present) | Environmental Life Sciences Graduate Program

Jesse has a background in wildlife and marine ecology. His MSc thesis will be on land looking at variation in mountian goat home ranges and genetics in northern British Columbia.


Morgan Dedato | BSc (Guelph) - co-supervised with Steeve Côté
MSc Candidate (Starting 2019) | Environmental Life Sciences Graduate Program

Morgan has a background biology and a passion for ungulates. Her MSc thesis will use genomic tools to reconstruct the demographic history and factors influencing diversity in Quebec caribou.

Kiana Young | BSc (University of Washington) - co-supervised with Tania Lewis (NPS)
MSc Candidate (Starting 2019) | Environmental Life Sciences Graduate Program

Kiana has a background ecology and worked extensively in the backcountry of Alaska. Her MSc thesis will use genomic tools to characterize population history and diversity of mountain goats in Glacier Bay National Park.

Rebecca Ridings | BScFS (Trent)
BScFS Candidate (USRA; 2018-Present) | Forensic Science Program

Rebecca is quantifying the rate of secondary DNA transfer under various conditions.


Tamara Newell-Bell | BScFS (Trent) - co-supervised with Theresa Stotesbury
BScFS Candidate (2018-Present) | Forensic Science Program

Tamara will be quantifying DNA degradation using high-resolution electrophoretic analysis and bloodstain color using CIE (i.e. color spectrophotometry) to age the deposition of blood.  



Rachel Daggitt | BScFS (Trent) 
BScFS Candidate (2018-Present) | Forensic Science Program

Rachel will be using qPCR and hunter harvested deer samples to test for the presence of Borrelia spp. that cause lyme disease.  


Kiefer Thalen | BSc (Trent) - co-supervised with William Dew (Algoma University)
BSc (2018-Present) | Biology Program

Kiefer will be using qPCR to quantify gene expression in fish under different stressors. 


Past members




Justin Johnson | BSc, BA (University of Washington) - co-supervised with Dennis Murray
MSc (2018) | Environmental Life Sciences Graduate Program

Justin compared niche models of parental (canid) species and hybrids, and used epiGBS to identify signatures linked to adaptive responses in wild felids - visit Justin's website here. Justin is doing a PhD with Jochen Wolf at LMU.

Stephanie Coughlan | BSc (Trent)  - co-supervised with Joanna Freeland
MSc (2018) | Environmental Life Sciences Graduate Program 

Steph developed a meta-barcoding assay and applied it to eDNA to identify aquatic (invasive) plants in Ontario tributaries. Steph is currently working at Trent Univeristy. 


Meg Britt | BSc (Trent)  
BSc (2018) | Joint Major Biology & Forensic Science 

Meg conductined a meta-analysis on conservation genomic studies and used non-invasive DNA samples to estimate population parameters of mountain goats in Alaska. Meg is currently enrolled in a MSc in Biology at Queen's University


Jacqueline Trink | BScFS (Trent)  
BScFS (2017) | Forensic Science Program 

Jackie's thesis was in collaboration with the RCMP where she compared two formulas used for fingerprinting in Canada and the UK. Jackie is currently enrolled in the MSc in Medical Sciences program at McMaster University.