Team

With decades of experience, our scientific and commercial teams combine technology expertise and industry know-how to offer advanced genomic technologies, which are considered the world’s newest and leading biodiversity monitoring
solutions–data-driven, reliable and less expensive than traditional methods.

Dr. Mehrdad Hajibabaei PhD

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, eDNAtec

Dr. Hajibabaei is an internationally recognized leader in molecular biodiversity and genomics technologies with over 140 peer-reviewed publications. He is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics and Department of Integrative Biology of the University of Guelph, specializing in the development and application of cutting-edge technologies for rapid and accurate analysis of biological diversity from genes to ecosystems. Hajibabaei has served on advisory and review panels for various international organizations and funding agencies and has collaborated with regulatory agencies, NGOs and industry. 

Specialties:

Genomics, Molecular Biology, Molecular Ecology, Molecular Evolution, Biodiversity, Bioinformatics, Environmental Genomics, Biomonitoring 

Steve Barrett MBA

Chief Executive Officer, eDNAtec

Mr. Barrett has conceived, funded, launched and commercialized several early stage technology companies with success across telecom, networking, wireless and biotech. Barrett is a high-energy leader who can inspire peak performance and deliver early heavy lifting: raising capital, building high performance teams, managing technical development, government approvals, creating strong vendor partnerships and new reference customer relationships.

Specialties:

Commercialization, Strategy, Leadership, Raising Capital, Customer Acquisition

Dr. Greg Singer PhD MBA

Chief Technology Officer, eDNAtec

Dr. Singer is a specialist in bioinformatics, business analytics and project management. As Project Manager, Dr. Singer helped establish the ambitious International Barcode of Life Project, at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph.  Singer leads CEGA’s team of bioinformaticians and data scientists that manage, analyze, and interpret the data produced at CEGA, and has led the development of various proprietary bioinformatics pipelines.

Specialties:

Bioinformatics, Genomics, Biodiversity, Environmental Genomics, IT, Advanced Statistical Methods, Project Management

Mark Ploughman B.Eng., MBA

Senior Advisor, Sustainability, eDNAtec

Mark has over 30 years of engineering, innovation and leadership experience in the private and public sectors. He works with leaders and senior management teams on strategy, innovation, R&D, and organizational development.

Mark has experience with a broad range of industrial sectors, from mining to life science research. A manufacturing specialist, Mark’s roles have focused on quality, productivity and technology investments with a view toward boosting firm competitiveness.

Mark is a board member with Genomic Atlantic and has served in executive roles within the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador– all with a focus on expanding its innovation ecosystem.

Caron Hawco ABC, PMP, ICD.D, CITP

Senior Advisor, Strategy and Business Development, eDNAtec

Caron Hawco is a business and communications strategist, international trade consultant, project and stakeholder manager, negotiator and facilitator. Caron offers deep industry knowledge, business expertise, a strong network and global experience.

For over twenty years, Caron has provided strategic advice to corporate and industry leaders from international corporations to small business, to all levels of government and industry associations, across numerous sectors.

A specialist in energy and ocean technology Caron served as a leader with Norwegian oil company Statoil’s Offshore Canada team (now Equinor). She is also the former Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industry Association (NOIA). 

Caron’s focus is on managing strategic relationships, building reputation and opening doors to new markets.

Janis Swantee MBA, CPA, CGA

Director of Finance and Administration, eDNAtec

Janis is a senior financial professional with more than 30 years experience in the public and private sectors. Since 2019, she has been responsible for eDNAtec’s financial reporting and analysis, budgeting, forecasting, audit, cashflow management and human resources. Having worked with entrepreneurs, as well as some of Canada’s largest and most successful companies, Janis provides valuable expertise to support eDNAtec’s next phase of growth.

Janis has performed financial leadership roles in diverse industries.  Having served as Director of Finance for Atlantic Canada’s fastest growing municipality, she managed an annual operating budget of $35 million and five-year $100 million infrastructure plan.  Entrusted to improve borrowing power, she dramatically reduced the debt ratio to foster future growth and development.   Janis excelled in an implementation role for Shoppers Drug Mart, as it proactively transformed its business to prepare for the entry of a major competitor.  Impressively, Shoppers focused on positive culture and became more highly profitable.

Working in retail grocery, hotel and pharmacy chains and local government, Janis has played key roles during periods of rapid growth, transfer, transition and transformation.  She has extensive experience and a proven track record in building financial foundations that allow organizations to succeed.

Nicole Fahner MSc

Associate Director, CEGA

Nicole oversees CEGA’s environmental genomics projects and research programs, working closely with the Scientific Director to lead CEGA’s team of outstanding scientists as they advance technology, implement continuous improvement in their processes, and develop standardized, scalable methods. Passionate about scientific communication, Nicole frequently gives research talks and leads workshops.

Nicole earned her MSc in Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph, where her research focused on advancing our understanding of environmental DNA in biomonitoring. In 2016 Nicole relocated to Newfoundland to help establish CEGA as eDNAtec’s first employee.

Beverly McClenaghan MSc

Senior Ecologist, CEGA

As CEGA’s lead ecologist, Beverly leads the planning, logistics, and execution of eDNA field sampling, as well as overseeing the ecological analysis and interpretation of environmental genomics data. Beverly also coordinates the production of reports, publications, and presentations to communicate project results.

Beverly holds an MSc in Environmental and Life Sciences from Trent University, where she applied DNA metabarcoding to study the diet and prey availability of a threatened bird species. Since then, she has been involved in projects worldwide applying environmental genomics to the study of biodiversity and species distributions in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems.

Avery McCarthy PhD

Genomics Scientist, CEGA

Avery is an expert in genomics and advancing methods for environmental DNA analysis. He specializes in next generation sequencing, metagenomics and metabarcoding assay development, and implementing high-throughput methods. Avery received his PhD in Biology at Western University.

Avery leads CEGA’s genomics R&D program. He is a technical lead for the genomics team, optimizing each step of the laboratory workflow: DNA extraction, automation, library preparation, and sequencing. Avery has made significant contributions to CEGA’s capabilities in targeted species detection and environmental DNA quantification.

Lesley Berghuis MSc

QHSE and Project Manager, CEGA

Lesley manages a wide range of environmental genomics projects that involve governmental regulatory agencies, the oil and gas industry, and internal R&D programs. Lesley was instrumental in helping CEGA achieve its Biosafety Level 2 and ISO 9001:2015 certifications, and currently oversees the maintenance of these systems as well as CEGA’s OHS Program. Lesley is currently working to obtain her Professional Project Management (PMP) designation.

Lesley obtained her MSc in Pathobiology from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. After completing her graduate studies, she worked as a lab manager in the Division of Biomedical Sciences at Memorial University’s School of Medicine.