Mehrdad Hajibabaei

Mehrdad Hajibabaei
Associate Professor (Integrative Biology & Biodiversity Institute of Ontario)
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 x52487
Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) Rm. 108
CBG, Rms. 015 and 016

I use molecular biology, genomics and bioinformatics to study evolutionary relationships and to understand species diversity in different domains of life. During my PhD at the University of Ottawa, I studied the molecular evolution of RNA Polymerase genes and used their sequence information--in combination with several other loci--to address a long-standing evolutionary question: seed plant phylogeny and the position of Gnetales. During my postdoctoral research at Guelph, I focused on development and application of DNA barcoding, a global DNA-based species identification system. I applied DNA barcoding to a well-studied species-rich tropical fauna of the Lepidoptera of Costa Rica. I also worked on establishing high-throughput workflows for barcoding as well as recovery of DNA barcodes from archival specimens. As an Assistant Professor, based at Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, I continue my research on various aspects of molecular biodiversity analysis from theoretical work to technology development and bioinformatics. I also serve as the Associate Director of the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding, based at Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, and as Associate Editor for the journal BMC Ecology.

  • B.Sc. - Tehran (1994)
  • Ph.D. - Ottawa (2003)

My long-term research aims at developing a comprehensive genomics based system to study evolutionary relationships and diversity of life in different environments. I am currently involved in the following projects:

  • Environmental barcoding through next-generation sequencing
  • DNA Barcoding of tropical Lepidoptera and their host plants
  • Establishing DNA barcoding systems in plants, protists, and fungi
  • Molecular biosystematics analysis of archival (museum) specimens
  • Developing rapid array-based identification systems
  • Building bioinformatics tools for molecular biodiversity analysis

See my lab website for more information and opportunities to participate in these and other projects.

  • Baird DJ, Pascoe TJ, Zhou X, Hajibabaei M: Building freshwater macroinvertebrate DNA-barcode libraries from reference collection material: formalin preservation vs specimen age. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, 2011, 30: 125-130.
  • Shokralla S, Singer GAC, Hajibabaei M: Direct PCR amplification and sequencing of specimens' DNA from preservative ethanol. Biotechniques, 2010, 3.
  • Hajibabaei M, Singer GAC: Googling DNA Sequences on the World Wide Web. BMC Bioinformatics 2009, 10 Suppl 14:S4.
  • Hollingsworth PM, and 51 others: A DNA barcode for land plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 2009, 106:12794-12797.
  • Singer GAC, Hajibabaei M: web-based molecular biodiversity analysis. BMC Bioinformatics 2009, 10 Suppl 6:S14.
  • Meusnier I, Singer GAC, Landry JF, Hickey DA, Hebert PD, Hajibabaei M: A universal DNA mini-barcode for biodiversity analysis. BMC Genomics 2008, 9:214. (Ranked as highly accessed article)
  • Hajibabaei M, Singer GAC, Hebert PDN, Hickey DA: DNA barcoding: how it complements taxonomy, molecular phylogenetics and population genetics. Trends in Genetics 2007, 23:167-172. (Published as cover story and ranked 5th in the Top 25 Hottest Articles in April-June 2007)
  • Hajibabaei M, Singer GAC, Clare EL, Hebert PDN: Design and applicability of DNA arrays and DNA barcodes in biodiversity monitoring. BMC Biology 2007, 5:24. (Ranked as highly accessed article)
  • Hajibabaei M, Xia J, Drouin G: Seed plant phylogeny: gnetophytes are derived conifers and a sister group to Pinaceae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2006, 40:208-217.
  • Hajibabaei M, Smith MA, Janzen DH, Rodriguez JJ, Whitfield JB, Hebert PDN: A minimalist barcode can identify a specimen whose DNA is degraded. Molecular Ecology Notes 2006, 6:959-964. (Ranked among top 20 accessed papers on journal's website)
  • Gina Capretta (MSc)
  • Nicole Fahner (MSc)
  • Lisa Ledger (MSc)
  • Katie McGee (PhD)
  • Michael Wright (MSc)
  • Rebecca Bloch* (PhD) (co-supervisor: Markus Pfenninger)
  • *Based at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt, Germany