The Race to Identify All Living Things #561

May 17, 2020

This week on Science for the People, we're diving into the world of DNA barcoding. We speak with Mehrdad Hajibabaei, Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at the University of Guelph, about the International Barcode of Life. And we discuss how you can contribute to the field of DNA barcoding with Sujeevan Ratnasingham, Associate Director of Informatics and Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at the University of Guelph. This episode is hosted by Anika Hazra.

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  • Mehrdad Hajibabaei
  • Sujeevan Ratnasingham
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Guest Bios

Mehrdad Hajibabaei

Mehrdad Hajibabaei is an internationally recognized expert in molecular evolutionary biology and environmental/ecological genomics and bioinformatics. He has published 121 publications with over 13,000 citations. He has been one of the pioneers in the use of high-throughput genomics technologies, such as Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), for the assessment of biodiversity in samples as varied as bulk environmental water, soil and sediments to gut contents and diet analysis. He has played a leadership role in establishing and managing large-scale research projects and collaborative networks such as the International Barcode of Life. He has independently raised approximately $15M in research funds from various agencies and the industrial sector. He has served on advisory and review panels for major initiatives, international organizations, and major funding agencies. He has collaborated with regulatory agencies and various industrial partners.

Sujeevan Ratnasingham

Sujeevan Ratnasingham is the founder of LifeScanner, a conservation technology initiative that provides DNA-based species identification tools to citizens, educators, conservation agencies and NGOs. He is also Associate Director of Informatics at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics and Adjunct Professor at the University of Guelph. His work focuses on the combination of computational methods like machine learning and high-performance computing with DNA sequencing to address gaps in biodiversity knowledge. This work has led to the development of the BOLD platform, a global registry of species and their DNA barcodes, and mBRAVE, a big-data platform to ingest environmental DNA from global sources.