Brock Harpur, PhBee

By , April 10, 2017

Very happy to report that Brock Harpur successfully defend his PhD today. Dr. Graham Thompson (Western) served as the external examiner. The PhD defence is this ancient tradition of grilling phd students before they earn their wings. We tried hard to grill him but Brock’s defence was strong!  [note, he opened up with the Hasselmann defence, citing Prof. Martin Hasselmann‘s 2015 Briefings in Functional Genomics review – wise choice and perhaps the start of trend in sociogenomics PhD exams ?].

His thesis was awarded with distinction (top 5%) and was nominated for a thesis prize.

PhD Candidate Brock

PhD Candidate Brock

PhD Brock, post emergence

PhD Brock, post emergence

After the defence, Brock unbuttoned his dress shirt to revealed a teeshirt that said ‘I have a PhD’… Did he always wear the ‘I have a PhD’ tee underneath his regular clothes all these years while he was in the lab?…. we may never know…

We had a fun little celebration afterwards, and he was presented with this card illustrated by Alivia Dey, featuring a sweet punch line by Harshil Patel


I thought i would take a bit of time to reflect on Brock’s journey. Brock is my first PhD student. He was also one of my first graduate students; he started a masters degree with me in 2010, making him part of the original crew that started the lab.

Brock leaves the lab with a very rich academic legacy… he has authored/co-authored about 16 papers (more to come), has an H-index of 9, and won a bunch of awards (i think he has won an award every year since starting his BSc). He is incredibly collegial and is quick to lend a hand, or r code. He worked really hard, and overcame many challenges. He contributed to a very enriching environment to think about bees, social evolution, and biology.

So, congrats Dr. Harpur on a well earned PhD or shall we say, PhBee?
We will miss you!


Brock at the first honey extraction by the lab

Brock at the first honey extraction by the lab


Brock's first field season

Brock’s first field season

One Response to “Brock Harpur, PhBee”

  1. Martin Hasselmann says:

    Congratulation and best wishes Dr. Harpur!

    How lovely to read about your Intro – Thanks,
    Hope to meet you soon at some place again,

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