Category: News

Postdoctoral positions in Ecological Genomics

By , July 31, 2023

Our group ( at York University’s Dept. of Biology (Toronto, Canada) has positions available for a postdoctoral fellow in Ecological Genomics with demonstrable expertise in genomics and bioinformatics for the following two projects:

  1. BeeCSI: Our group is leading a national Genome Canada-funded initiative called BeeCSI ( to develop stressor-specific biomarkers for honey bees. We are looking for a postdoctoral fellow with experience in transcriptomics and interest in honey bee biology to lead the analysis of a large RNAseq dataset consisting of 43 laboratory and 12 field experiments where honey bees were naturally and experientially exposed to a large number of relevant stressors, alone and in combination. The RNAseq datasets have been fully assembled and the successful candidate will be able to initiate the bioinformatics analyses immediately after starting the position. The goal of our research is to characterize the molecular machinery underlying the honey bee’s response to multiple stressors, and to discover diagnostic transcriptional signatures that can be used to predict exposure to stressors in the field.
  2. Genomics of Coral Resilience: A new research direction for the lab! The Postdoctoral fellow will use several ‘Omic tools to study the genomic basis underlying symbiont shuffling and tolerance to thermal-stress in reef-building corals, in collaboration with the Coral Resilience Lab at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to submit a cover letter outlining their expertise, a CV, reprints of relevant papers, and contact information for 3 referees to We will evaluate the applications as they are received, with an application deadline of August 31st, 2023.

In addition to the honey bee lab, York University is home to the Center for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (BEEc, Successful candidates will have a chance to interact with the diverse faculty, fellows and students at BEEc, and participate in BEEc activities and training initiatives.

Start Date: Fall 2023

Salary: Starting from $50,000 and Commensurate with experience.

Ultra Brief Sabbatical Update

By , July 31, 2023

I spent a good amount of time last year working @ the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology [long story… but briefly, i always loved corals and marine biology and decided to dip the proverbial but also actual toes in the salty water for my sabbatical]. Here is my research project described in a single picture / word:


2023 Lab Portrait

By , July 31, 2023

Instead of the usual lab photo, we tried something a bit… ahem … different this year.

Top Row: Aishu, Caroline, Darya, Pauline, Natalie, Oseaga (L-R)
Bottom Row: Mariana, Dova (sitting), Sarah, Lewis (sitting), Sydney, Mashaba (sitting), Mateus (yielding sharp knife… for dissection… he promises), Amro, Ida, Katie, Laura, Aidan (sitting) and Tanu.

Katie wins the Gold Medal!!!

By , July 31, 2023

So happy to share that Dr. Katie Dogantzis won the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal for best doctoral thesis at YorkU. Katie did her PhD and MSc in our group. We are so proud of you Katie!!!

Katie celebrating her gold medal with her family!

Martin Hasselmann Visits… Twice!!!

By , July 31, 2023

We were super excited to host Dr. Martin Hasselmann very briefly early this summer! Martin and I both worked on different aspects of complementary sex determination in bees during our PhD… I met him briefly in Germany in the early 2000’s and we’ve been good friends ever since. When he visited us in Toronto, i made these custom t-shirts for us… its an inside joke that maybe 20 to 30 people in the world would get (bees homozgyous at the csd gene are diploid males, and both Martin and I are also diploid males… ha ha ha… slow clap 🙂 I was really delighted when Martin told me that he wanted to spend a few weeks of his sabbatical in our group! yay!!! #homozygousatcsdforever!!!

Martin and Amro
Lab Brunch with Martin, June 2023
Clockwise, starting from 12 o’clock. Lewis, Oseaga, Aishu, Natalie, Amro, Martin, Katie, Mashaba, Caroline, Pauline, Sam, Sydney, Dova, Sarah, Aidan, Darya

2023 Undergrad Cohort!

By , July 31, 2023

Quick summer update! First off, very happy to welcome new and returning undergrads to the lab this summer. Lewis (Summer NSERC USRA, Pauline, Oseaga, and Natalie (Summer RAY students), Mashaba (Research Assistant) and Research Practicum Student, Darya!

Top Row: Oseaga, Natalie, Pauline [L->R]
Bottom Row: Lewis, Mashaba, Darya, Amro [L->R]
Never a dull moment 🙂

Congrats Katie and Aidan!

By , February 22, 2023

Big congrats for Katie for defending her PhD and Aidan for defending his MSc in 2022!

World Bee Day

By , May 24, 2022

World Bee Day, a chance to remind people how important, and how threatened, the insects are” was published by CBC on May 20th, and portions of the interview were also aired on CBC Radio.

In the article, Dr. Zayed states “I think the next step is to kind of galvanize that support and actually create better habitats in Ontario, and support legislation that kind of protects bees from pesticides and other stressors.”

Beyond legislation, individuals can include native flowering plants or “pollinator gardens” on the land they occupy, participate in programs like the Bumble Bee Watch, and try to support legislation that promotes biodiversity, environmental protection, and more transparency about the chemicals used on public land.”

Dr. Zayed also did a phone interview with Newstalk 1010 and participated in a York University World Bee Day special event titled “Bee the Change”. The recording of this event will be posted here:

A warm welcome to Nathalie, Sheri and Ebadullah!

By , May 9, 2022

This summer, the Zayed lab will be joined by undergraduate students Nathalie Do, Sheri Grach, and Ebadullah Kabir as Research at York (RAY) students. Check out what each of them has to say about their personal and research interests:

” My name is Natalie and I am a 4th year Environmental Biology major. My passion for bees started when I chose to observe generalist pollinators for one of my courses last year (Experimental Design).

I have previously known about the importance of bees and the dangers that they are in but doing such project truly “sealed the deal” for me! They are so cool and I would love to contribute to helping them survive against climate change.”

“My name is Sheri and I am currently starting my third year for biomedical science at York. I am very passionate about health and wellness, and I love being and playing sports outdoors.

I wanted to join Dr. Zayed’s lab as I was a part of STEM Fellowship research before and I was extremely interested researching the genomes of bees and habitats. Dr. Zayed’s lab was the perfect opportunity for that while continuing to expand my knowledge and skills, and I am very grateful for this opportunity.”

“My name is Ebadullah Kabir and I am entering the third year of my Specialized Honours Neuroscience program this coming Fall. I am a big fan of football (the game you play with your feet – so many people call it soccer, I am just not a fan of calling it that way 🙂

I decided to join Dr. Zayed’s lab because I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to broaden the scope of my knowledge and experience in research. Also, hearing that we would work with bees, I did not hesitate – not that I want their honey 🙂 but because they are such smart insects and so dear to me.”

Congratulations to Dr. Bahar Patlar

By , May 2, 2022

Since November of 2021, we’ve welcomed Dr. Bahar Patlar into the Zayed Lab community. Always happy to dive into a deeper understanding when we discuss new publications and ready for have a good laugh, we’ve enjoyed her brief time with us and wish her all the best of luck as she begins her own lab as Principle Investigator at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.

Here’s what Bahar said about her research with us at York University:

“Male reproductive genes, especially one’s coding seminal fluid proteins are known among the most rapidly evolving genes. Thus, they likely accumulate genetic differences between populations at a high rate that may eventually contribute to speciation. During this post-doctoral training led by Prof. Amro Zayed at York University, using the molecular population genetics approach, I investigated the rate of evolution and divergence of drone ejaculate proteins in honeybee Apis mellifera lineages that occur naturally over the vast and varied geographical areas across the world.”

“Since my Master of Science degree projects, I’ve studied male reproductive biology with a wide range of organisms including a non-famous invasive fruit fly Zaprionus tuberculatus, a simultaneous hermaphroditic marine flatworm Macrostomum lignano, and the laboratory all-star Drosophila melanogaster. Now, here at Zayed lab, I met with the incredible world of the honeybee, Apis mellifera.”

“A new chapter in my career will start soon in Germany where I will start my own research group at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. I plan to combine my knowledge from animals with different mating systems to understand more about the evolution of reproductive traits using fruit flies, honeybees, flatworms, and many more to understand the contribution of reproduction to diversity in life.

Congratulations, Bahar!!