Research at McGill Biology

McGill Biology Research Themes


Our researchers study the remarkable and often surprising ways that life emerges, grows, and changes across a diversity of microbes, plants, and animals, including humans. We offer courses in each of these areas, highlighting the breadth and depth of expertise of our faculty. Understanding Biology helps us to understand the past, present, and future of the natural world that surrounds us, and better appreciate our own place within it.

Research Highlights

Not all is lost in vertebrate biodiversity    Nov. 2020                                           Researchers Leung, Hargreaves et al. re-examined 14000 population time series and found that extreme losses in a few populations were driving the widely touted >50% mean global decline of vertebrate populations, that many systems in temperate regions are actually increasing on average, but that the Indo-Pacific region and amphibians are particularly at risk. Read more 


Kinesin tips the ER on the march!

2 Nov. 2020

A new mechanism for ER homeostasis in the cell growth frontier: The Zheng lab revealed how a kinesin interplays with an ER fusogen Atlastin to move the ER with the plus end of microtubules during polarized cell growth. More.

How bacteria and carpenter ants became one

5 Sept. 2020

A recent discovery in the Abouheif Lab reveals the evolutionary and developmental steps to obligate endosymbiosis between the bacteria Blochmannia and ants of the hyperdiverse Camponotini tribe.  More

A new type of bacterial organelle

25 July 2020

The Weber and Reyes labs discover liquid-like condensates of bacterial RNA polymerase that enable E. coli cells to optimize gene expression in nutrient-rich environments.

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LUNAPARK rescues overactive ER 

The Zheng lab revealed that LUNAPARK, an conserved protein critical for neuronal development, acts as an E3 ligase to promote the degradation of the plant Atlastin GTPase RHD3, to control morphogenesis of the tubular ER network during polarized cell growth. Read more ...

Perpetual predator-prey population cycles

December 18, 2019

The Fussmann Lab, in collaboration with the Universities of Oldenburg and Pottsdam, have provided an affirmative answer to a decades old question - can predator and prey populations coexist indefinitely?

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Novel kinase phosphorylating talin

October 03, 2019

New work from the Schöck lab identified the Slik kinase phosphorylating the cytoskeletal linker protein talin on threonine 152.

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Zasp paralogs with very different evolutionary trajectories

July 01, 2019

The Schöck lab analyzed the evolution of Zasp paralogs and how this may lead to the acquisition of novel protein functions.

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Feeling under stress? Sometimes it’s better to just slow down

May 24, 2019

Exposing bacteria to UV light, the Reyes lab found that the replisome responds to DNA damage by slowing down its rate of synthesis about 5-fold.

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Global warming hits sea creatures hardest

April 24, 2019

A study published in Nature combines experimental data with careful modelling to compare the vulnerability to warming of animal species on land and in the ocean.

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Global forecasts of shipping traffic and biological invasions

18 March, 2019

Rising global maritime traffic could lead to a surge in invasive species over the next 30 years, according to a study by McGill University researchers.

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Mega experiment reveals stronger species interactions toward the tropics and lowlands

20 February, 2019

One of the largest field experiments ever conducted provides evidence for latitudinal and elevational gradients in the intensity of post-dispersal seed predation.

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The worm’s nose knows

20 November, 2018

The Hendricks Lab is studying a neural circuit in C. elegans that allows it to interpret stimulus changes caused by its own movements and produce appropriate behavioral responses.

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