Visiting Researchers

Research at the Paleo-DNA Laboratory

The Paleo-DNA Laboratory is committed to research and teaching. We've developed leading edge molecular techniques for genetic analyses of all biological materials, specializing in ancient and degraded samples. Our research projects cover many topics from all over the world; including the study of disease in ancient populations, wildlife classifications, and human, animal and plant DNA characterization and profiling for modern and ancient material.

For a list of selected publications, click here.

Visiting Researchers Welcome at the Paleo-DNA Laboratory

We provide our visiting researchers with access to our state-of-the-art facility that includes pre-amplification areas (clean laboratory and comparisons laboratory) and the post-amplification area (general analysis laboratory).  The latest technology in DNA analysis including real-time PCR and capillary electrophoresis are available for use.  Office and desk space are provided for use during your stay along with full access to trained technicians for guidance and help. To see our laboratory layout, click here.

For more information on our Visiting Researcher Policies and Procedures click here.

Visiting Research Profile: Dr. Rhian Waller

Dr. Rhian Waller came to the Paleo-DNA Laboratory as a Visiting Researcher from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to conduct research on ancient coral.  Deep-water corals are found throughout the world’s oceans at water depths of just a few meters to over 6000 meters.  They thrive in cold and often dark water because they do not depend on symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) to provide essential energy as tropical corals do.  These deep-sea corals build skeletons that incorporate chemical traces indicative of the ambient water.  This means that sub-fossil corals (which can live for hundreds of years, and whose skeletons can remain for many hundreds of thousands of years after death) provide an unprecedented high-resolution record of water mass evolution and can be used to define major changes in intermediate and deep ocean circulation.  By being able to extract DNA from sub-fossil specimens thousands of years or tens of thousands of years old, we would be able to examine how past climate affected these coral population, and how thy survived large events such as the North Atlantic Last Glacial Maximum, ~20,000 years ago, or the warming of the Mediterranean Sea over 11, 000 years ago.

Visiting Researcher Testimonial:

"During my stay at the [Paleo-DNA] lab we optimized DNA extraction and amplification of microsatellite DNA markers from redfish archived otoliths. These microsatellites markers worked well on non-degraded samples, but were causing difficulties with the archived samples, as the otoliths have been stored for years under conditions that are most of the time, far from being optimal. The help and advice of the Paleo-DNA lab personnel has been crucial to start our research project on the right path. Working at the laboratory allowed me to try different extraction procedures as well as modifying our own basic extraction protocol. I [have] also been able to fine tune our PCR reactions parameters to amplify our degraded otolith DNA."

Eric Parent
Populations Genetic Laboratory
Maurice Lamontagne Institute
Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Mont-Joli, QC

Visiting Researcher Profile: Joana Morais

Joana Morais came to the Paleo-DNA Laboratory as a visiting researcher from Lisbon University in Portugal to conduct research work on ancient horse.The archaeological samples she worked on ranged in age from 700 to 35,000 years old and she experienced many successes with her research thus far. Joana has visited the Paleo-DNA Laboratory 3 times as a visiting researcher and has now completed her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Evolution.