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Alastair G.B. Simpson

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Alastair is a Professor in the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University, and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIfAR), program in Integrated Microbial Biodiversity.

Sebastian Hess &

Sebastian received his doctoral degree in Cologne (Germany), where he investigated the structure, life histories and evolution of diverse, poorly known protists that feed specifically on freshwater microalgae. After characterising the Viridiraptoridae, a family of cercozoan amoeboflagellates that perforate algal cells to feed on protoplast material, he came to Halifax as a postdoctoral research fellow to study the molecular mechanisms involved in the complex feeding behaviour of viridiraptorids. Sebastian is particularly interested in cell wall degrading enzymes and actin-binding proteins, which will be explored in the species Orciraptor agilis (Viridiraptoridae, Cercozoa). This will be done with a comparative transcriptomic approach and a selection of biochemical methods under the co-supervision by Alastair Simpson (Department of Biology) and Andrew Roger (Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology).

Gordon Lax

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Gordon received his MSc at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern in Germany. He started his PhD in September 2013 and works on the biodiversity and evolution of phagotrophic euglenids, a diverse group of single-celled eukaryotes abundant in marine and freshwater sediments.

Yana Eglit &

Yana began her MSc in January 2015, following a Bachelor's degree at the University of British Columbia. She is examining ‘mystery’ anaerobic protists of uncertain evolutionary affinities, using electron microscopy and transcriptomics-based phylogenetics.

Kira More &

Kira is an honours student examining biodiversity and prey preference in algae-eating marine Vampyrellids.


Co-supervised Trainees

Tommy Harding &

Tommy is a PhD student in the Roger Lab at Dalhousie University, and co-supervised by us. He works on the adaptation to high salinities by the halophilic protozoa Pharyngomonas and Halocafeteria. Analysis of their transcriptomes and/or genomes will give insights on how these obligate halophiles have adapted to extreme environments with respect to gene content and expression.


Former Lab Members

Robyn Buchwald &

Robyn graduated with her BSc with honours in Marine Biology at Dalhousie University in May 2014. She is currently continuing her research as a research assistant in the lab and will be formally beginning her Master’s in September 2015. Her research involves developing and applying a gene-based PCR/qPCR assay to monitor Paramoeba invadens populations in the environment, a pathogenic amoeba causing mass mortalities of the common green sea urchin along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia.

Claire Burnard &

Claire is an honours student, examining the biodiversity of halophilic ciliates, and especially testing an hypothesis of biogeographic isolation within the obligately halophilic Trimyema species complex.

Joshua Goodwin &

Joshua graduated with his BSc with Honours in Biology in May 2014 and is continuing his work in the lab under a Sarah Lawson Research Scholarship. He is characterizing a novel unicellular eukaryote belonging to the bodonids, a genetically diverse group of kinetoplastids.


Will Kirby &

A former undergraduate student & volunteer in the Simpson Lab, Will is now doing his Masters at the University of Alberta. In his time working with the Simpson Lab, Will examined environmental samples from solar salterns, which led to the isolation and characterization of a new species of extremely halotolerant protozoa, Tulamoeba bucina.


Aaron Heiss &

Aaron examined deep-level eukaryote evolution from morphological and molecular phylogenetic standpoints. His major work was the detailed characterisation of the cytoskeleton of apusomonads, breviates and ancyromonads, poorly studied protozoa that appear to be important ‘deep branches’ in the eukaryotic tree, along with phylogenomic analyses based on transcriptome data. He completed his PhD in 2012, and after short postdoc positions in the Simpson lab then Tsukubsa University, is now (2014) a postdoc at the American Museum of Natural History, working with Eunsoo Kim.


Martin Kolisko &

Martin's PhD research focused on the biodiversity and molecular phylogeny anaerobic excavates (e.g. Carpediemonas, retortamonads, diplomonads and enteromonads), and the impact of data from new Carpediemonas-like organisms on eukaryote phylogenomics, and on understanding the evolution of mitochondrion-like organelles in anaerobes. Martin was co-supervised by Andrew Roger in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He defended his PhD in 2011, then completed a postdoc with Andrew Roger, and is now (2014) a postdoc in the lab of Patrick Keeling (UBC).


Jong Soo Park &

Jong Soo joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow in November 2007, following a PhD at Seoul National University with Prof. Byung Cheol Cho, and a postdoc in Chonnam University. Jong Soo worked primarily on the biodiversity and biogeography of halophilic and extremely halophilic protozoa. He also examined halotolerant heterotrophic stramenopiles and performed detailed electron microscopy studies on two Carpediemonas-like organisms. Jong Soo left the lab in February 2011 to take up a faculty position at Kyungpook National University, South Korea.


Vladimir Hampl & '

Vladimir started his postdoctoral fellowship in January 2006 (co-supervised by Andrew Roger, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), after he finished his PhD at Charles University in Prague. His research is focused on the phylogeny and mitochondrial evolution of Metamonada (Oxymonads, Trimastix, Carpediemonas, parabasalids, retortamonads, diplomonads) which belongs within Excavata. Vladimir returned to a faculty position in Prague in December 2007.