Area: Natural History, Biodiversity
Exhibitions & Galleries: Gallery of Birds, Life in Crisis: The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity
B.Sc., University of Toronto, 1985
M.Sc. (Honours), University of Toronto, 2001
Oliver Haddrath is a research technician in the ornithology division of the Department of Natural History at the ROM.
Oliver’s career at the ROM began 18 years ago. He is responsible for the operations of one of the ROM's two molecular genetic research laboratories, where the latest DNA technologies are used to study the phylogenetic relationships among different species, to examine the genetics of rare and endangered animals, and to unravel the mysteries of the past using ancient DNA.
Oliver graduated from the University of Toronto with a specialist degree in molecular biology and molecular genetics. His Master's degree focused on the diversification of the ratites, a group of large flightless birds including Ostriches, Emus, Cassowaries, Kiwis and Rheas, which are found spread across the southern hemisphere. Using complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequences from these birds, he determined how their distribution has been shaped by continental drift over the last 80 million years. Results from this study, one of the first to include complete mitochondrial genomes for extinct species, were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London and ROM magazine . He is currently working on his Ph.D., developing new molecular markers to look further back in time to the earliest evolutionary events surrounding the origin of birds.