At the Department of Biology of the University of Ottawa, the research activities are fully into the current contemporary biology research topics such as biodiversity, evolutionary biology, ecotoxicology, conservation and much more.

The Department is equipped with top quality facilities, some of its laboratories are among the best equipped in Canada. The biosciences complex is an example of the world class facilities that offers the tools to excel and become tomorrow's leaders in research. It houses classrooms and laboratories for teaching and research in biology and other scientific fields.

Department professors are recognized in their respective fields of research and their work is the subject of scientific publications in journals of international stature.

Research Areas



Biological diversity or "Biodiversity" is the variety of life at the genetic, species, and ecological levels. Research in biodiversity is one of most exciting frontiers in biology to which the Department of Biology of the University of Ottawa collaborates by making constant impressive discoveries.

There may be 10 millions or more species on Earth and new species are constantly being discovered. Each of them is the result of a long evolutionary past shaped by natural and sexual selection in heterogeneous environments. Physical and biotic environments are constantly changing, presenting species with a stark "choice": adapt, move, or extinct.

Biodiversity research in the Department of Biology is making rapid advances and constantly redefines the limits of knowledge about the natural world and how it is changing.

John Arnason - Gabriel Blouin-Demers - François Chapleau - David Currie - Jessica Forrest - Konrad GajewskiHeather Kharouba - Rees Kassen - Jeremy Kerr - Julie Morand-Ferronn - Frances Pick - Howard Rundle - Risa Sargent - Julian Starr

Comparative physiology

Comparative physiology

Comparative physiology at the University of Ottawa comprises an energetic group of 9 researchers who focus on aspects of environmental, evolutionary, and neural physiology in animals ranging from insects to mammals, but with an emphasis on fish.

The research is highly integrative, applying molecular, biochemical, physiological and behavioural approaches to ask questions that are both fundamental and applied - from the evolution of biochemical pathways in bees, through resource allocation in migrating birds or the control of breathing in an air-breathing fish, to the impact of environmental pollutants on gene expression and metabolism in aquatic animals.

Tuan Bui - Charles Darveau - Kathleen Gilmour - Michael Jonz - John Lewis - Jan Mennigen - Thomas Moon - Matthew Pamenter - Steve Perry - Emily Standen - Vance Trudeau - Patrick Walsh - Jean-Michel Weber



In the field of Conservation, University of Ottawa researchers are actively engaged in generating both science, and science-informed recommendations for pro-active biodiversity conservation: use of remote-sensing information to predict biodiversity responses to anthropogenic stress at local to national scales, large scale patterns of biodiversity, impacts of introduced aquatic species on aquatic ecosystems, the effects of human activities on aquatic macroinvertebrate and fish communities, habitat selection and movement patterns in reptiles at risk; the effects of human activities on lake, stream and wetland communities, and the role of traditional knowledge in ecosystem management and conservation of medicinal plants.

John Arnason - Gabriel Blouin-Demers - François Chapleau - David Currie - Scott Findlay - Heather Kharouba - Jeremy Kerr - Frances Pick



Researchers in Toxicology study the effects of toxic substances on living systems. These substances can either come from an organic or inorganic, or synthetic or natural material. Environmental toxicology further extends its study to chemical transport, fate, persistence and biological accumulation of toxic substances as well as their effects at the population and community levels. Environmental toxicologists must therefore understand a wide range of physical, chemical and biological concepts. To meet this challenge, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University offer a collaborative program in Chemical and Environmental Toxicology at the graduate studies level.

John Arnason - Jules Blais - Laurie Chan - Scott Findlay - Sean W. Kennedy - Jan Mennigen - Thomas Moon - Bernard Philogène - Frances Pick - Alexandre Poulain - Jeff Ridal - Vance Trudeau - Paul White

Evolutionary biology

Evolutionary biology

All of life is the product of evolutionary processes, and as such, evolutionary biology provides a unifying framework for all of the biological disciplines from molecular genetics and cellular biology, to physiology, behaviour, and ecology. The department has particular strengths in two areas:

Evolutionary ecology

A broad research field covering a diversity of topics, evolutionary ecologists are unified by an interest in the ecological causes and consequences of phenotypic evolution and diversification. Researchers in our Department work both in the laboratory and in the field, and with a variety of organisms ranging from unicellular bacteria, to flowering plants, to vertebrates, to address an array of topics including mechanisms of adaptive radiation, behavioural and physiological ecology, the roles of natural and sexual selection in phenotypic diversification and speciation, and the genetics of adaptation.

Gabriel Blouin-Demers - Vincent CareauNicolas Corradi - Scott Findlay - Jessica Forrest - Rees Kassen - Julie Morand-Ferron - Howard Rundle - Risa Sargent

Molecular Evolution

This research field, at the intersection of molecular biology, population genetics and bioinformatics, is directed at understanding the origins of the complexity found in genomes and the impact of this complexity on living organisms. Research groups within our department use both experimental and computational approaches to estimate when species diverged, decipher the evolution of mitochondrial gene expression and crosstalk with nuclear genomes, study the evolution of multigene families , better understand genomic evolution of viruses and prokaryotes, understand, at the molecular level, the evolution of mechanisms that control embryonic development, and develop software to analyze molecular data in these and other contexts.

Linda Bonen - Stéphane Aris-BrosouNicolas Corradi - Guy Drouin - Marc Ekker - Xuhua Xia

Molecular, cellular and developmental biology

Molecular, cellular and developmental biology

Molecular, Cellular and Developmental biology aims at understanding the functioning of organisms at different scales, from the study of macromolecules within cells, to the processes controlling cell growth and differentiation, to the organization of cells into tissues, organs and organisms.

The last two decades have seen a revolution in cellular, molecular and developmental biology, leading to a phenomenal increase in our knowledge of biological processes. A range of advanced techniques can now be used in concert to analyze the functioning of living organisms down to the level of genes and molecules, and move towards a mechanistic understanding of life across levels of organization.

The strengths of our research groups lie in the study of fundamental biological processes in animals and plants using a wide variety of approaches including molecular biology techniques, genetics, microscopy and imaging, and computational tools. Application areas include plant crop amelioration and genetic diseases.

At the molecular level, we study the evolution of genetic cascades, genetic diseases, the evolution of multigene families, and gene expression at the RNA level in plant mitochondria. At the cellular level, we investigate mechanisms of cell cycling in animals and the control of cell growth in plants. At the organ and organism level, we study developmental and evolutionary mechanisms, such as seed coat development, pattern formation in plants, embryo development and the development of sensory systems in vertebrate.

Model species used in our studies include zebrafish, mouse, soybean and arabidopsis.

Marie-Andrée Akimenko - Linda BonenTuan Bui - Guy Drouin - Marc Ekker - Doug Johnson - Michael JonzOdette Laneuville - Anne-Gaëlle Rolland-Lagan - Vance Trudeau

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