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Graduate Positions, Bee Genomics, Toronto

By , December 10, 2019

Multiple graduate positions in honey bee health genomics at York University, Toronto, Canada.

The Zayed lab ( in the Department of Biology at York University (Toronto, Canada) is looking for enthusiastic graduate students (PhD or MSc), starting September 2020, to carry out research on a Genome Canada funded project called BeeCSI ( Our team will develop biomarkers for a large number of stressors, and combinations of stressors, that affect the health of honey bees. This effort will ultimately involve analysis of approximately 3,000 honey bee transcriptomes, proteomes and gut microbiomes in collaboration with a large network of researchers from across Canada including colleagues at UBC, AAFC, University of Manitoba, University of Guelph, and Laval University.

Successful candidates will receive training in genomics, bioinformatics and sociobiology in a very collaborative environment. Additionally, candidates will benefit from interacting with many researchers at YorkU’s Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation consortium (BEEc, Together, BEEc includes 10 full time faculty (4 bee biologists, 1 mathematician, 1 engineer, and 4 social scientists), 39 graduate students, 11 post-doctoral fellows, and 4 research assistants and associates.

Toronto is a great city to live and work in; BEEtheNORTH! If you are interested, please send your c.v., contacts for 3 references, and a cover letter to

Information about applying to graduate school at York University can be found here


Amro Zayed

Similar social behaviour, Similar Genes?

By , July 10, 2018

Happy to report the publication of a new paper from the lab, in collaboration with Drs. Amy Toth (Iowa State) and Laura Beani (Università di Firenze). The paper was led by PhD Candidate Katie Dogantzis, and involved generating new population genomics data for paper wasps and comparing the data to honey bees and bumblebees.  We found that paper wasps and bumblebees have more in common, relative to paper wasps than honeybees, when it comes to adaptive changes in protein coding genes.

Congrats Katie!

Dogantzis, K.A., Harpur, B.A., Rodriques, A., Beani, L., Toth, A.L. and Zayed, A. (2018). Insects with similar social complexity show convergent patterns of adaptive molecular evolution. Nature Scientific Reports. 8:10388. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-28489-5 [link]

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