Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ehab and Matteen teaching an introductory online course on evolution

By popular demand, Prof. Ehab Abouheif and Dr. Ab Matteen Rafiqi will be teaching an online introductory course for people with little or no back ground in biology or evolution. The first lecture is free of cost. The course comprises of 5 lectures on the patterns and processes of evolution with special reference to prevalent myths about evolution especially among muslims.

Jan 5 Monday 2 PM EST 7 PM GMT
Jan 8 Thursday 2 PM EST 7 PM GMT
Jan 12 Monday 2 PM EST 7 PM GMT
Jan 15 Thursday 2 PM EST 7 PM GMT
Jan 19 Monday 2 PM EST 7 PM GMT

If you are curious about evolution click to register for the course.

Matteen Rafiqi, 23 December 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Abouheif Lab Rocks (well I should say Tamtams) at Christmas Party

Spotting the ant in the window is how we knew that we had arrived at Melanie's (Abouheif lab Research Assistant) house for our annual Holiday Party! 

We ate delicious turkey and stuffing ...

and visited Melanie's fascinating zoo! Here is Melanie showing Tom her ferret (and there are spiders, dogs, plants and stick insects too)

And finally the the Abouheif lab jams on the Tamtams ...

Listen to the beat ... Coming soon!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Professor Abouheif becomes Academic Grandfather!

Former Postdoc Abderrahman Khila (the really tall guy in the photo), who is now CNRS Group Leader at the Universite Lyon, France, has graduated his first PhD student Dr. Peter Refki (wearing red shirt). This makes Abderrahman (Abdou) an Academic Father and makes me an Academic GrandFather!!!!

Congratulations Abdou and Peter!

Former PhD Student Rajee Rajakumar Wins Prestigious Thesis Award

Congratulations Rajee, you are in good company, previous winners of this PhD thesis award have gone on to become leading scientists in Ecology and Evolution at Canadian Universities and abroad. Past winners include:

1980- Douglas W. Morris (Lakehead University)
1993- James H. Hare (University of Manitoba)
1997- Christian Klingenberg (University of Manchester)
1998- Sally P. Leys (University of Alberta, Edmonton)
2002- Julie Turgeon (University of Laval, Quebec)
2006- Dylan Fraser (Concordia University)

Rajee's has published or will publish 7 papers from his thesis, which include at least 3 ground breaking papers. Two have yet to be published, and the most famous is:

Rajendhran Rajakumar, Diego San Mauro, Michiel B. Dijkstra, Ming H. Huang, Diana E. Wheeler, Francois Hiou-Tim, Abderrahman Khila, Michael Cournoyea, Ehab Abouheif. 2012. Ancestral Developmental Potential Facilitates Parallel Evolution in Ants. Science 335 (6064): 79-82.

Here is Rajee on an ant collecting trip in Florida. By the looks of things, Rajee had fun in his thesis too!

Rajee is now NSERC postdoctoral fellow in the HHMI lab of Dr. Marty Cohn at the Genetics Institute of the University of Florida

I am so proud!

Ehab Abouheif 
16 December 2014

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Ants and Climate Change

Photo by Alex Wild (http://www.alexanderwild.com)

In this article, it is claimed that ants can store carbon and reverse climate change. In the past, the reverse was thought to be true as ants were thought to defoliate trees in the tropics thereby accelerating climate change! Either way, ants and climate change are intimately linked and ants have a large foot print on their ecosystem. Yet another reason to dedicate one self to studying these beautiful creatures ...

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Huge Thanks to all my Colleagues, Collaborators, Students, and Family

I would like to reflect a moment on the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship Award… this award is a honour and I consider myself lucky to be among all the Steacie award winners of the past. One thing is certain, I could not have done this alone. First of all, I would like to thank my Family, without whose support I would be far from this success. Here is a picture of my proud Father, Said Abouheif, at the award ceremony. Of course, my Mother is equally proud and my wife is always there for me.

To my students, you are one of kind! I could not have asked for a better team of young, passionate, researchers on this journey of understanding how interactions between genes and environment affect so much of our natural living world. Without your hard work and dedication, none of the exciting discoveries would have come and I certainly would not have won this award. I am committed to your success as you have been to mine.

To my National / International Colleagues, Collaborators, and Mentors, I have learned a great deal from you as a student and professor. Your work has inspired me and has served as the building blocks on which I stand. At the risk of sounding too cliche, I truly "stand on the shoulders of giants." I consider this award, an award for our field, and this week, evolutionary developmental biology or "evodevo" has taken a huge step forward in Canada. 

To my colleagues at McGill, I could not ask for a more supportive group of scientists. I have visited many great Universities  around the world and one thing is clear, we have an am amazingly supportive and team oriented Department. 

An old mentor renowned Physicist Professor Geza Samosi (from my days at the Science College) once told me, that you are only as good as the place you are doing research in. Of course, as with so many wisdoms my mentors have shared with me, it has taken me almost 20 years to understand the true meaning of these words. I could not have done this if I didn't have amazing colleagues around me, and once again, this award reflects the collective effort and support, both conceptual and technical, of the Department of Biology at McGill University.

Ok, now the real work begins …