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Our Team

Emily Standen

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Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa, Department of Biology, Comparative Physiology Group

Postdoc - McGill University, Redpath Museum - 2013

Ph. D. - Harvard University - Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, 2009

M. Sc. - University of British Columbia, Forest Sciences, 2001

B. Sc - Dalhousie University/University of Kings College, 1995

Postdoctoral Fellows

Trina Du

Postdoctoral Fellows
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I work on phenotypic plasticity in Polypterus senegalus with a particular focus on pectoral fin anatomy. I am interested in how the bones, muscles, and other connective tissues of pectoral fins differ between fish that are raised in water and on land. The larger context of my research relates to whether and how phenotypic plasticity contributes to evolutionary trends such as adaptive radiations and the appearance of evolutionary innovations.

Cassandra M. Donatelli

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I am working on the HFSP (Human Frontier Science Program) grant. My role is to work with our collaborators to model the hydrodynamics swimming, forces involved with walking, and the seay to land transition. I'm also working on investigating how Polypterus armor restricts movement and changes kinematics as the fish grows.

Graduate Students

Kim Reid

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Graduate Students

I am a PhD candidate studying how new energy requirements drive acclimation, and perhaps adaptation, through the remodeling of mitochondria. Specifically I am study the mitochondria in the body muscle of terrestrialized polypterus - looking at oxidative phosphorylation in isolated mitochondria, tissue homogenate, and in muscle fibres.

Keegan Lutek

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I am a PhD student, investigating the neuromuscular control of fish locomotion. I am testing the how novel environments (high viscosity and different levels of emersion) and changes in neural input effect the kinematics and muscle activity of Polypterus. My aim is to understand the role of sensory feedback in the behavioural repertoire of Polypterus.

Emily Macmaster

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“Hi, my name is Emily! I am a second year Masters student in the Standen and Laneuville labs. I am interested in the structure and mechanics of connective tissue interfaces. I’m currently studying the epicentral tendon-to-vertebra attachment in rainbow trout using histological staining techniques and by subjecting it to tensile-testing.”

Brenna Wilson

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My name is Brenna and I’m a Masters student in the lab. I’m co-supervised by Em as well as Katie Gilmour. I’m studying the effects of being raised in aquatic and land environments on the stress axis of Polypterus.

Gurjit Bhamra

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My name is Gurjit and I’m a Masters student in the Standen lab. I’m interested in understanding how the predominately-aquatic fish Polypterus senegalus, overcomes the gravitational and frictional forces experienced by overland walking, by analyzing the forces they produce during terrestrial locomotion.

Lisa Liang

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I am an Msc student interested in the muscle function in the pectoral fins of Polypterus. I am utilizing electromyography and high-speed videography to understand how motor control pattern changes in relation to locomotion while walking and swimming. I am also interested in understanding the physiology of fin muscles via an in vitro muscle test.

Jeffrey Hainer

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I am a masters student (former volunteer and honours student). For the past few years I have been helping out with fish care and digitizing. In the fourth year of my undergraduate degree I did my honours project in the Standen lab, which focused on the role of lateral line sensory feedback in the kinematic response to increased environmental viscosity. My Masters research will be an extension of this topic, investigating how different sensory systems in Polypterus interact to adjust locomotion in the face of novel environments.

Undergraduate Students

 & Volunteers

Linfang Han

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Undergraduate Students

My name is Linfang Han and I am an undergraduate volunteer of this lab. I am now helping with digitizing and segmentation of polypterus to see how scale would change when the fish is growing.

Richard El Hage

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My responsibilities include recording and editing promotion videos for graduate students and their research, helping analyze data by digitizing polypterus and salamander videos on Matlab, helping in the preparation of tissue samples in laboratory and organizing animal protocols on Word and Excel.

William Matthias


I will be an honours student and volunteer for the 2020-2021 year and have been doing volunteer stuff for the last school year.

Lab Alumni


Kathleen Foster: 2016-2019

PhD students

Javier Santos Santos

MSc students

Katherine Znotinas


Gokhan Yilmaz: 2020 (COOP)

Hailey Maki: 2018-2020

Sophie Ahmad: 2019-2020

Keshav Gupta: 2019-2020

Laura Larrigan: 2017-2019

Serena Leo: 2018-2019

Misha Dhuper (Past Volunteer and UROP)

Riley Jones (Past UROP)

Dora Kusevic

Jacob Silverman (Past UROP)

Alison Devoe: 2018-2019

Jasmine Kakmak: 2018-2019

Ashley Chau: 2016-2017 (Honours)
David Ek: 2016-2017 (Honours)
Mariah Fleck (co-supervised with Dr. Keir Menzies): 2016-2017
Meagan Grafe: 2016-2017 (Honours)
Kate Klarer: 2016-2017 (Honours)
Priyam Maini: 2016-2017 (Honours)
Christina McKinnon: 2016-2017 (Honours)
Abigail Roberts: 2016-2017 (Honours)
Brian Vu: 2016-2017
Carl Zhou: 2016-2017

Kyle Harrison: 2014-2015 (Honours)
Tamara Morrill: 2014-2015 (Honours)
Sepideh Nouraziaan: 2014-2015 (Honours)
Carolyne Godon: 2014-2015
Tiffany Dunbar: 2014-2015
Marium Nawaz: 2014-2015 (Honours)
Olivia Maroun: 2014-2015 (Co-op)


Amanda Friio: 2019-2020

Bennett Krasnay: 2019

Jocelyn Mennen: 2019

Dominique Daniels: 2019

Martina Gordon: 2019

Mitchell Tunnell: 2018-2019

Sakib Kazi (past UROP)

Alek Tirpan: 2016-2019

Linda Dam: 2016-2017

Pablo Valentin Serrano

Lab Alumni


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