Conservation/Population genomics of rare plants in Ontario

The Lee-Yaw lab at the University of Ottawa is looking for a PhD student who is enthusiastic about conservation genomics and plants. This is a fully funded position that is co-supervised with Dr. Jenny McCune from the University of Lethbridge. The student will work alongside others who are establishing new populations of rare and at-risk plants in southern Ontario. As part of these efforts, we wish to understand a) how populations at the edge of the range in Ontario are related to more central populations in USA and b) whether populations in Ontario are genetically isolated from each other. One of the study systems is likely to be crooked-stem aster (Symphyotrichum prenanthoides) but work on other species is possible. Apart from these questions, the student will have an opportunity to develop a thesis more generally exploring rarity, landscape genomics, genetic constraints on range limits, or other questions in ecology or conservation biology.  


The successful applicant will ideally have an MSc involving molecular lab work. Previous experience working with plant DNA and genomic data is preferred. Molecular work and PhD program requirements are to be completed at the University of Ottawa. However, the student has the option to spend time in the McCune lab at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. Fieldwork in southern Ontario is optional during the first summer but data collection will take place in the lab. This position is open to both domestic and international students, however priority will be given to Canadian citizens or residents. Black and Indigenous students, People of Colour, and members of the LGBTQ2+ are encouraged to apply. The University of Ottawa is a bilingual French-English institution and bilingual students are very welcome. 

Stipend support 

This position is primarily funded from an NSERC Alliance grant to J. McCune and supplemented by funding to both PIs. Minimum stipend support from TAships and research grants is $30,000 per year for four years (this is a starting point: additional top-up is possible contingent on scholarships and additional grant applications). Students are strongly encouraged to apply for external scholarships.  

To apply 

Send an email to jleeyaw<at> by January 10, 2024. Include: 

1) A statement clearly outlining your research interests, career goals, and how your previous experiences and training have prepared you for a PhD and relate to this project. 

2) Your CV 

3) Unofficial copies of your undergraduate and MSc (if applicable) transcripts  

Start date 

May or September 2024.  

For more information about the Lee-Yaw lab, visit For more information about the McCune lab, visit