Juliette is completing her B.Sc in Biology at McGill University. For her Honours research project, she is working with Charles to investigate how the microbiome inhabiting skin piercings and how it changes over time after a disturbance event. She is using earlobe piercings as her study model to compare the microbiome of pierced and non-pierced skin from participants over time.
Nicole worked in Dr. Barrett’s lab during her undergrad, assisting Charles with extracting environmental DNA from samples collected at the Large Experimental Array of Ponds (LEAP) to study community and evolutionary rescue. While working in the lab, she was able to practice DNA extractions and clean up, get comfortable with doing standard lab protocols such as PCR and gel electrophoresis, and also get familiar with the ins and outs of the daily operations and what it takes to run/work in a lab setting. Nicole currently works for a non-profit, teaching and promoting science and robotics in schools in Kahnawake, and will hopefully be returning to academia to complete a masters in evolutionary biology in the next few years.
In 2018 under the supervision of Charles Xu, Michael performed eDNA extractions from water samples collected at the Large Experimental Array of Ponds (LEAP) located at the Gault Nature Reserve to study the adaptability of the aquatic communities to acidity. Since then, Michael has also worked as an intern at INRS Armand-Frappier for Dr. Éric Déziel, studying the effects of multiple species and strains from the Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) on the growth of plants and the virulence of variant strains having lost a chromosome in a Galleria model. He is currently working towards his undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Immunology here at McGill.
Scarlett (Yiyi) Xiao
In summer 2018, Scarlett worked on measuring the surface area of leaves by using the Lamina program under the supervision of Tim Thurman and Charles Xu. These leaves were collected from experimental islands in the Bahamas and served as an indicator of herbivory. Scarlett is currently finishing her degrees in computer science and biology.
Samantha worked in the Barrett Lab while completing her DEC in Health Science at Vanier College. She entered the BioGenius Competition in 2017 under the mentorship of Charles Xu. Her project was titled, “DNA extractions on spider webs vs DNA extractions from spider tissues; the next steps in conservation”. Today, she is in her final year at McGill University in Honours Life Sciences with a specialization in Animal Biology. She is still in research and is a member of the Bordignon Lab on the Macdonald Campus. Her current project tests the efficiency of microinjection and electroporation in the delivery of CRISPR Cas9 and gene editing in porcine embryos. After graduation, she wishes to study veterinary medicine.
Avery worked closely with Charles in summer 2019 in order to help plan the “Microbiome of Human Piercings” project. Participants are currently being collected from a Tattoo Lounge in Montreal and we hope to begin bacterial sequencing of samples soon! Avery is currently completing a double major in the departments of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, as well as working in the lab of Dr. Aneil Agrawal in the EEB department.
Rachel is a U2 biology student who worked on the DNA extractions from the 2017 Large Experimental Array of Ponds experiment, which used environmental DNA samples to study evolutionary and community rescue. Since being part of the Barrett lab, she has been working at the McGill Farmers’ Market and studying in Panama for a field study semester. She aspires to study some intersection of how ecosystems and human societies are adapting to climate change in the future.
As an undergrad, Lauren worked in the Barrett lab in the spring and summer of 2018 assessing the effect of charged membrane filters in the collection of environmental DNA (eDNA) from natural water samples under the supervision of Charles Xu. Water from Lake Hertel at the Gault Nature Reserve were filtered through positively charged and neutral filters to determine if charge could influence the detection of eDNA. In addition, Lauren helped extract eDNA from samples collected at the Large Experimental Array of Ponds (LEAP) facility in the summer of 2017 testing the effect of acidity on lake communities. She also participated in fieldwork for the LEAP 2018 experiment. Currently, Lauren teaches high school science to students with learning difficulties and continuously strive to make science exciting and accessible for all.
In the summer of 2017, Kiran assisted Charles Xu to develop an updated protocol for extracting DNA of spiders and their prey from spider webs. Kiran also worked with Charles as the director of videography for the STEMM Diversity @ McGill student initiative at the Redpath Museum. He has recently been accepted to the University of Manitoba to pursue an MSc in Arctic Oceanography and will start in the summer of 2020.