Dr. Graham A. C. Bell
Department of Biology

Current Research Program
Major research themes



Graham Bell - Brief Curriculum vitae

Graham Arthur Charlton Bell, born 3 March 1949 at Leicester, England.  Educated at Ingle Street Primary School and the Wyggeston School, Leicester. Attended Oxford University (BA Hons 1970, D Phil 1974).  Married Susan Eva Rosinger 6 February 1971. Three children: Matthew (born 1975), Thomas (born 1977), and Nicholas (born 1979).  Emigrated to Canada October 1975.

Department of Biology, McGill University, 1205 Avenue Docteur Penfield, Montreal, Quebec, Canada  H3A 1B1
(Office) 1 514 398-6458; (Lab) 1 514 398-6459; (Fax) 1 514 398-5069.
e-mail: graham.bell@mcgill.ca

Education and Career
1970 B.A. (Hons) in Zoology, University of Oxford
1974 D. Phil., in Animal Ecology, University of Oxford, 1974 (supervisor: J.H. Lawton)
1975 NERC Postdoctoral award, York University (UK), 1975 (supervisor: M. Williamson)
1975 Research Biologist, Fisheries and Wildlife Division, Edmonton, Alberta
1976 Visiting Lecturer at McGill University, Montreal
1977 Visiting Assistant Professor at McGill University, Montreal
1978 Assistant Professor at McGill University, Montreal
Associate Professor at McGill University, Montreal
Professor at McGill University, Montreal
1995  Appointed Director of the Redpath Museum.
2011 Chair, Biology Department, McGill University
Honours and Awards
1992  Appointed to the Molson Chair in Genetics at McGill
1994 Elected to the Royal Society of Canada
2001 Appointed as James McGill Professor
2002 Prix Léo Parizeau de l¹Association francophone pour le savoir, Québec
2003  Elected to Honorary Fellowship of St Peter¹s College, Oxford
2004 Lauréat Marie-Victorin, Prix du Québec
2006 Elected President, Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution
2008 NSERC Herzberg Medal; NSERC Award of Excellence
2009 Elected President, Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Canada
2012 Elected President, Royal Society of Canada
2013 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
2014 Elected Foreign Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2015 President¹s Prize, Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution
2016 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society
Service to the Community

Redpath Museum.
The Redpath Museum is the university museum of McGill; it is a research, teaching and public museum of natural history and non-Canadian ethnology. I was its Director from 1995 to 2005, when I led a complete renovation of physical space, cabinets and all exhibits on all three display floors, centred on themes of Back to the Sea, History of Life and World Cultures. The museum has about 12000 visitors per year, including 6400 schoolchildren in groups from 200 schools. I raised a total of about $1.5m from granting agencies, private foundations and individual donations for weekend workshops, web sites, travelling exhibits, permanent exhibits and renovation.

Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution. I played a leading role in the foundation of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution. I convened the meeting that established the CSEE and drafted its by-laws; acted as chair of the Local Organizing Committee for its inaugural meeting; and served as its founding President. The CSEE has become a major national scientific society; it numbers about 800 members, drawn from all regions of Canada. It holds an annual meeting, supports scientific and outreach activities, and acts as an intermediary between researchers and the major funding agencies.

Royal Society of Canada. The Royal Society of Canada (RSC): The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada was established in 1882 as the senior Canadian collegium of distinguished scholars, artists and scientists. It is Canada¹s National Academy. The RSC exists to promote Canadian research and scholarly accomplishment in both of Canada¹s official languages, to mentor young scholars and artists, to recognize academic and artistic excellence, and to advise governments, non-governmental organizations, and Canadians generally on matters of public interest. The RSC consists of three bilingual Academies embracing a broad range of scholarly disciplines and artistic fields: Academy I is the Academy of the Arts and Humanities; Academy II is the Academy of Social Sciences. Academy III is the Academy of Science. I was elected as President of the Academy of Science from 2010 to 2012, and as President of the Society from 2013 to 2015. The priorities for my Presidency were: the establishment of a College for New Scholars, Artists and Scientists; and the engagement of the Fellowship in national affairs.

Meetings and journals. I have organized several symposia, meetings and workshops, including the joint meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the American Society of Naturalists and the Society for Systematic Biology in Montreal, June 1995, and the Workshop on Evolutionary and Environmental Genomics of Yeast at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, in October 2008. I was North American Editor of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology from 1999 to 2002.


Selected invited, keynote and plenary presentations
September 2016 Yeast as a model system in experimental evolution. 14th International Conference on Yeasts, Awaji Island, Japan.
May 2015 Experimental macroevolution. President¹s Prize Lecture, Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
December 2014 Evolutionary rescue: from populations to communities. Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science Annual Symposium, Montreal
October 2012 Experimental evolution of heterotrophy in a green alga. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany
July 2012 Experimental evolution of heterotrophy. Gordon Research Conference on Metabolic Ecology, Maine
October 2010 Understanding biodiversity: the next Big Science project and how it will change politics.Houses of Parliament, Ottawa
September 2010 Range shift, adaptation and evolutionary rescue in a deteriorating environment. Workshop on Evolutionary and Environmental Genomics of Yeasts, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.
June 2010 How will plant populations and communities respond to global change? Workshop on Adaptation of Forest Trees to Climate Change (EVOLTREE), El Escorial, Spain
August 2009 Experimental evolutionary biology using microbes.,American Academy of Microbiology, Symposium Microbes in a Changing World: Translations from Darwin. GAIAS, San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador
June 2009 The oligogenic view of adaptation. 74th Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology, Long Island, New York
April 2009 The contribution of Darwin to Darwinism. Darwin Lecture, Imperial College, London
July 2007 Experimental evidence for the evolution of sex and recombination. Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Population Biology, Andover, New Hampshire
March 2007 The poverty of the protists. British Ecological Society Symposium, Sheffield, U.K.
September 2006 The neutral theory of community ecology. Society for General Microbiology/British Ecological Society, Symposium on Neutral Models in Microbial Ecology, York, U.K
August 2006 Ecological phylogenetics. Ecological Society of America, Symposium on Neutral Theory in Community Ecology, Memphis, Tennessee
July 2005 Biodiversity and community properties. Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Population Biology, Andover, New Hampshire
November 2004 Evolutionary mechanisms: genetic and ecological interaction. 21COE International Symposium 2004 on Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Proliferation and Evolution, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan..
November 2003 The repeatability of evolution. Lecture to mark 15th anniversary of Instituto de Ecologia, UNM, Mexico City
August 2002 Ecological robustness and food-web dynamics. Institute for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico
August 2000 The precision of local adaptation. British Ecological Society Special Symposium on Plants Stand Still but their Genes Don't, Royal Holloway College, London
August 2000 What does the forest look like from the point of view of a plant? 5th International Symposium on Clonal Plants, University of Vienna
April 1998 The evolution of sex. Symposium to honour the 40th anniversary of the Meselson-Stahl experiment, University of Chicago
October 1997 The biology of the humanized environment. Killam Lecture, Dalhousie University
I was invited to contribute a paper to Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London to mark the 350th anniversary of the Society in 2010; and to the same journal to mark its own 350th anniversary in 2014. I was invited to contribute the first paper of a new journal, Ecological Applications, in 2008. My papers and presentations have been chosen for the Faculty of 1000 (Faculty of 1000 Biology, 12 January 2012; 4 June 2013) and noticed in Nature (News & Views, Nature 420: 756, 2002; News@Nature 18 August 2004; News and Views, Nature 438: 170-171, 2005; Nature Reviews Microbiology 4, 322-323, 2006; Nature Research Highlights, Nature 460:934, 2009) and Science (Science 303: 774-775, 2004; Science 334: 893-895, 2011).
Last update: July 25, 2016