Category: News

Research associate / postdoctoral position in Bee Genetics

By , July 21, 2017

Research associate / postdoctoral position in honey bee genetics at York University, Toronto, Canada.

The Zayed lab (www.yorku.ca/zayedlab) at the Department of Biology, York University (Toronto, Canada) has a position available for either a postdoctoral fellow or a research associate with expertise in insect molecular biology and genetics, starting September 2017. We are particularly seeking individuals that have expertise in either molecular biology (specifically, manipulating gene expression or genome editing) or bioinformatics; knowledge of social insects would be an asset.

The successful candidate will participate in several projects relating to identifying and characterizing genes underlying social traits in honey bees.

Qualified candidates must have a doctoral degree, several first author-publications in relevant fields, and excellent communication skills.

Please submit your CV, a summary of your research background, and contact information for 3 referees to zayed(at)yorku.ca before August 25th 2017.

New paper on pesticides and honey bees

By , July 4, 2017

Greetings all,
Our paper on honey bee health near corn crops was published last week in the journal Science. The study was funded by the Government of Ontario. The research team included collaborators from Laval led by Dr. Valérie Fournier, and several zayedlab undergrads that worked with Nadia on this large project.

While normally i would write a little summary, a lot of our findings have been summarized in the news, so you can read about the study at Nature News, Forbes, NPR, AAAS, Metro,LA Times, The Scientist, New Scientist, Washington Post, Radio Canada International, BBC News, The Guardian, The Star, Vice, Scientific American. Also check out the Editor’s Summary, and  Dr. Jeremy Kerr (U. Ottawa)’s Op Ed Story.

The paper can be accessed using the link below.

Tsvetkov, N., Samson-Robert, O., Sood, K., Patel, H.S., Malena, D.A., Gajiwala, P.H., Maciukiewicz, P., Fournier, V., Zayed, A. (2017). Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids reduces honeybee health near corn crops. Science. 356:1395-1397. [link]

New Cohort of Summer Undergrads

By , May 23, 2017

We have a fabulous group of undergrads joining the lab this summer.

Carrie and Kabeer are DURA fellows; DURA is the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Award; it allows a select group of undergrads to carry out full time research over the summer.  Congrats Carrie and Kabeer for securing these highly competitive awards.

Jaafar, Dasha and Laura are also joining the lab this summer as Research At York (RAY) students.

So much excitement! Here is to a very productive summer!

 

L-R: Carrie, Alivia, Jaafar, Kabeer, Dasha, and Laura

L-R: Carrie, Alivia, Jaafar, Kabeer, Dasha, and Laura

Jacob R!

By , November 7, 2016

Finally managed to get a picture of Jacob R – our bioinformatics Research at York undergraduate – at a recent lab gathering.  Jacob has been with the lab since the summer of 2016.

Jacob R - Bioinformatics RAY

Jacob R – Bioinformatics RAY

Dud males, biological invasions, natural selection, Oh My!

By , November 7, 2016

Check out my Nature News and Views story on a very cool study on invasive Asian honey bees in Australia.

New students and lab visitors!

By , September 20, 2016

This past year has been just a giant whirlwind! So many things, so little time… especially for the blog.  I am going to try to keep at it though, and what a better way to start than by introducing all of the awesome new students that have joined the lab this fall.  Where do we start… how about with the newest grad students. We have 5 new grad students this term. Current MSc student Katie D will be defending her thesis on wasp population genomics (her data are so exciting, but more on the #wasplove in another blog) later this fall and will molt into her PhD skin, studying the population of African honey bees.  Tanushree (PhD candidate), Harshil (MSc candidate and former Zayed lab undergrad) and Stephen  (MSc candidate) will carry out research on the gencetics of colony level traits for Genome Canada’s BeeOmics project.  We are also hosting Claudinéia Costa, a visiting PhD student from Dr. Tiago Mauricio Francoy’s lab at the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil).  Claudinéia will be working with us on a fun orchid bee population genomics project… cool!

[L->R] Grad studnets Harshil, Claudinéia, Tanushree, and Stephen

[L->R] Grad students Harshil, Claudinéia, Tanushree, and Stephen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, then there are the fabulous 5 undergrads that will be working with us this term. Leonardo (former RAY), Daniel (former NSERC USRA), and Jacob (former RAY) will be working as Research at York students this fall/winter term.  Jacob and Jaafar will work as Research Assistants.

[L to R]: Leonardo, Jacob, Daniel, Jaafar. Swag... hell ya!

[L to R]: Leonardo, Jacob, Daniel, Jaafar. Swag? hell ya!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then some familiar faces. Dr. Clement Kent has been back in the lab since last September, working as Senior Research Associate. Dr. Alivia Dey is also back as the BeeOmics project manager for the Zayedlab.

Finally, we have a sabbatical visitor – Dr. Charles Whitfield from the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois.

Dr. Charles Whitfield (Illinois) and Brock Harpur are cooking up a 'killer' project ;)

Dr. Charles Whitfield (Illinois) and Brock Harpur are cooking up a ‘killer’ project ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, the lab is brimming with excitement and energy. New faces, new data, new questions, and full steam ahead!

Best,
Amro

PhD positions available in the Zayedlab

By , December 17, 2015

Multiple PhD positions in honey bee genomics and sociobiology at York University, Toronto.

Are you interested in genomics, population genetics, social insects and a Ph.D.?

The Zayed lab (http://zayedlab.apps01.yorku.ca/wordpress/) in the Department of Biology at York University (Toronto, Canada) is looking for enthusiastic new doctoral candidates in 2016 to work on one of several exciting projects:

1) BeeOMICs – Genome-Wide Association Studies – several positions

Funded by Genome Canada, the BeeOMICs team will apply genome-wide-association mapping and population genomic tools to study the genetics of 12 colony-level traits in honey bees. This will involve sequencing and analysis of 1,000 colony ‘genomes’. We seek applicants who bring interest and experience in SOME of the following fields: genomics, population genetics, and computing. There will be lots of opportunities to interact with members of the BeeOMICs team. Read more about the BeeOMICs project here:  http://www.genomebc.ca/news-events/news-releases/2015/canadian-queens-sustaining-and-securing-canadas-honey-bees-using-omic-tools/

 2) BeeOMICs – Modeling genetic load in social insects – 1 PhD position

We are looking for a PhD student that will work closely with Dr. Amro Zayed and Dr. Jianhong Wu (at York University’s Center for Disease Modeling) http://www.cdm.yorku.ca/wujh/content/about) to develop theory and models for understanding the genetic load in social insects. This will build upon some of our earlier work– see Zayed and Packer, 2005, PNAS 102:10742-10746.

 3) BeeOMICs – Population genomics of African honey bees – 1 PhD position

We plan to sequence multiple genomes of all honey bee subspecies found in Africa. The dataset will provide a wealth of knowledge about patterns of natural selection in bee genomes and will help us understand the enigmatic biogeographic history of honey bees. It will also allow us to refine a diagnostic tool for detecting Africanized honey bees. Representative pubs include:

Harpur, B.A., Chapman, N.C., Krimus, L., Maciukiewicz, P., Sandhu, V., Sood, K., Lim, J., Rinderer, T.E., Allsopp, M.H., Oldroyd, B.P. and Zayed, A. (2015). Assessing patterns of admixture and ancestry in Canadian honey bees. Insectes Sociaux. 62:479-489.

Chapman, N.C., Harpur, B.A., Lim, J., Rinderer, T.E., Allsopp, M.H., Zayed, A., Oldroyd, B.P. (2015) A SNP test to identify Africanized honey bees via proportion of ‘African’ ancestry. Molecular Ecology Resources. DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.

4) Comparative population genomics of social insects – multiple positions

Funded by an NSERC discovery grant, we plan on carrying comparative population genomic studies across 24 different species that represent different stages of social evolution. Lots of interesting questions to ask, including: What is the relationship between social evolution and genome evolution? Are there common patterns of adaptive evolution associated with the origin of castes and sociality – Hamilton’s proverbial ‘genes for altruism’ ? What kind of mutations underlie adaptive evolution in social insects ? (e.g. coding vs. regulatory, taxonomically-restricted genes vs. conserved genes), and so on…

Representative publications include:

Kapheim, K. M. et al. including Kent, C.F. and Zayed, (2015) A. Genomic signatures of evolutionary transitions from solitary to group living. Science, 348:1139-1143.

Kent, C.F. and Zayed, A. (2015). Population Genomic and Phylogenomic Insights into the Evolution of Physiology and Behaviour in Social Insects. Advances in Insect Physiology. 48:293-342.

Molodtsova, D., Harpur, B.A., Kent, C.F., Seevananthan, K., and Zayed, A. (2014). Pleiotropy constrains the evolution of protein but not regulatory sequences in a transcription regulatory network influencing complex social behaviours. Frontiers in Genetics, 5:431.

Harpur, B.A., Kent, C.F., Molodtsova, D., Lebon, J.M.D., Alqarni, A.S., Owayss, A.A., Zayed, A. 2014. Population genomics of the honey bee reveals strong signatures of positive selection on worker traits. PNAS. 111:2614-2619

Kent, C.F., Minaei, S., Harpur, B.A., and Zayed, A. 2012. Recombination is associated with the evolution of genome structure and worker behavior in honey bees. PNAS. 109:18012-18017.

 

Successful candidates will receive training in genomics, bioinformatics and sociobiology in a very collaborative environment. Toronto is a great city to live and work in. Funding if available for Canadian students; international students are welcome to apply provided they have access to scholarships from their home country. If interested in applying, please send your c.v., contacts for references, and a 1 page cover letter to zayed@yorku.ca

 

Best,!

Amro

New cohort of Undergrads join lab

By , May 22, 2015

May is a very fun time of the year. Spring is in full swing and the bees are happy. It is also a time when a fresh cohort of YorkU undergrads join the lab. This year we have two new summer NSERC USRA scholarship winners joining the lab, Danny and Pratik. We also have zayedlab veterans Harshil (research assistant, summer 2014, and Honors thesis 2014/15) and Research at York student Sani (bioinformatics research assistant) who will continue to work with us this summer.
Welcome and hoping for a very productive summer.

Pratik, Harshil and Danny

Pratik, Harshil and Danny

 

New edited book on Sociogenomics!

By , April 8, 2015

Happy to report the publication of a new volume of Advances in Insect Physiology that i co-edited with Dr. Clement Kent, titled Genomics, Physiology and Behaviour of Social Insects. The book launched last week, and contains ten fantastic (in my slightly humble and obviously very biased opinion!) chapters on genomics-empowered research on the biology of social insects.  Clement and I strived for diversity and so we got honey bees, bumble bees, wasps, ants (ok… partial coverage on the ants) termites, and aphids… oh my! Check out the nice cover and table of contents here and below.AIP 48 front and back

It was a lot of work, but we had a group of fabulous and dedicated authors that really helped with meeting the very tight deadlines… Many of us worked over the December break and new years ; I remember doing some last min. editing on Christmas day, before the turkey!  Clement and I are very proud of the result, and we hope you enjoy it too!

Amro

Anatomy of a pollinator garden

By , March 9, 2015

Some of you know that i love bees. I also generally dislike grass. I don’t like mowing it. I don’t like watering it. I don’t find manicured fields of green grass beautiful.

So, when the snow thawed off the ground – in that first spring in our new home in Woodbridge Ontario in 2010 – my wife and i did something fun… we put a layer of newspaper on our front lawn (neighbours thought we were crazy), put about 2 inches of soil on top of the news paper, and planted several species of hardy native perennials that are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. I had a lot of help, former postdoc and master gardner Clement Kent provided me with most of the plants (from his garden) and good instructions about how to keep my plants happy.

I was doing a google search on our home and was pleased to see that google maps snapped a nice picture of our pollinator garden in mid bloom last summer. Here is the full list of plants in my garden… in case you want to build your own.

Amro

I spy with my little eye, something that is full of bees

I spy with my little eye, something that is full of bees

Garden with 30+ species of plants, mostly native

Garden with 30+ species of plants, mostly native. See Plant list below… I used pea gravel and some slate stones on the edges.

Plant List
Some of the plants below are not native, but look pretty and still attract pollinators. Some I removed from the garden bed for some reason or another.

1. Violets
2. Amsonia tabernaemontana [blue star]
3. Rudbeckia hirta – Black-eyed Susan
4. Rudbeckia laciniata – Cutleaf Coneflower
5. Wild strawberries (spc ?)
6. Filipendula rubra – Queen of the Prairie
7. Physostegia virginiana [obedient plant]
8. Monarda (bee balm) (purple; red = M. didyma – jacob cline; c = fistulosa blue)
9. Iris versicolor – Northern Blue Flag
10. Veronica longifolia – white speedwell
11. Sanguisorba canadensis – Canadian burnet
12. Baptisia australis – Blue false indigo
13. Penstemon hirsutus – hairy beardtongue
14. Gaillardia aristata – blanketflower
15. Asclepias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed
16. Agastache foeniculum – Golden Anise Hyssop
17. Liatris spicata – gayfeather
18. Helenium hoopesii – orange helenium
19. Echinacea purpurea (2 from C. Kent; 1 bright star, 1 Magnus); purple coneflower
20. Liatris ligulistylis – Meadow Blazingstar
21. Echinacea purpurea ‘baby white swan’
22. Veronica spicata (speedwell – sunny border blue)
23. Creeping thyme (mother of thyme)
24. Sage (spc ?)
25. Tiarella cordifolia – heartleaved foamflower
26. Phlox stolonifera blue ridge – Phlox
27. Oenothera tetragona – sundrops
28. Phlox subulata Emerald blue creeping Phlox
28b. Phlox subulata Emerald pink creeping Phlox
29. Coreopsis verticillata – threadleaf coreopsis golden showers
30. Viola labradorica – Labrador Violet
TT. Tarda Tulips
BR. Sanguinaria canadensis – bloodroot
31. Aster novae-angliae -New England Aster
32. Erigeron speciosus – Showy Fleabane
33. Eupatorium purpureum – Sweet Joe-Pye weed
34. Heliopsis helianthoides
35. Phlox paniculata a.David b. Nicky c. purple flame – Summer Phlox
36. French Lavender (spc. ?)
36a. Pincushion flower Scabiosa pink mist
37. Wolly thyme jeepers creepers thymus pseudolanuginousus
38. Lamium maculatum “white nancy”
39. Hen and chicks Crassulaceae