Dr. Mehrdad Hajibabaei, PhD


Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Hajibabaei is an expert in Molecular Biodiversity and Genomics Technologies. He obtained his PhD from the University of Ottawa in 2003 focusing on building a DNA sequencing-based framework for studying evolutionary relationships among organisms. He then pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Guelph where he pioneered high-throughput analysis of short DNA sequences (aka DNA barcodes) for species identification.

Dr. Hajibabaei continues his research, as an Associate Professor at Biodiversity Institute of Ontario and Department of Integrative Biology of the University of Guelph, specializing on development and application of cutting-edge technologies for rapid and accurate analysis of biological diversity from genes to ecosystems.

Dr. Hajibabaei has worked on all major groups of organisms and has published numerous high-profile articles in first-class scientific journals. He has served in advisory and review panels for various international organizations and funding agencies and has collaborated with regulatory agencies and biotech industry. He currently leads a large-scale genomics project–involving 7 research groups–which employs Next-Generation Sequencing technologies as well as sophisticated bioinformatics tools for comprehensive assessment of biological diversity in environmental samples.


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


Associate Editor, BMC Ecology
Associate Editor, BMC Evolutionary Biology
Academic Editor, PLOS ONE






Steve Barrett


Chief Executive Officer

Steve Barrett has a history of successfully conceiving, funding, launching and commercializing early-stage technology companies. Steve has pioneered new markets in the telecom, communication networks, wireless, genomics, pharma and packaged-goods industries. He is a high-energy leader who inspires peak performance and delivers early
heavy-lifting―raising capital, building powerful teams, managing technical development, securing government approvals, creating strong vendor partnerships and developing new reference customer relationships.

Steve has raised over $40 million of early-stage capital from government, venture capital, angel, institutional and public-market investors. He draws on his experience with strong financial modeling, compelling investor presentations and business plans. Steve has also successfully restaged companies, including recapitalization and the development of new IP, product lines, markets, investor relations, corporate governance and capital markets.





Dr. Greg Singer, PhD MBA


Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Singer is an expert in Bioinformatics and Genomics technologies.  He obtained his PhD in Biology from the University of Ottawa in 2002 with a specialization in Bioinformatics.  He then pursued a postdoctoral fellowships at the Department of Genetics at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and  at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, OH, where he also obtained his MBA, with specializations in business analytics and project management.

In 2009 Dr. Singer was appointed Project Manager for the ambitious International Barcode of Life project, at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph. Dr. Singer then led the research offices at Ryerson University and OCAD University in Toronto before joining the Centre for Environmental Genomics Applications in St. John’s, NL, on a full-time basis.

Dr. Singer now leads our team of bioinformaticians and data scientists that manage, analyze, and interpret the data produced by the Centre.

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






Mark Ploughman, B.Eng., MBA


Senior Advisor, Sustainability

Mark has over 30 years of engineering, innovation and leadership experience in the private and public sectors. He works with leadership 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 specialist in manufacturing, Mark’s roles in industry focussed on quality, productivity and technology investments with a view toward boosting firm competitiveness. He has overseen R&D helping deliver “new-to-the-world” products to market. Mark is a board member with Genomic Atlantic and has served in executive roles within the provincial government – all with a focus on expanding the province’s innovation ecosystem.





Caron Hawco, ABC, PMP, ICD.D, CITP


Senior Advisor, Strategy and Business Development

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.  Recent projects have focused on ocean technology, petroleum, supplier development, sustainability and international trade (Guyana and Norway).

A specialist in oil and gas, Caron served as a leader with Norwegian oil company, Statoil’s (now Equinor), Offshore Canada leadership. 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.