Andrew J. Roger

Wanda Danilchuk

Marlena Dlutek

Jon Jerlstrom Hultqvist

Tommy Harding

Dayana Salas

Sebastian Hess

Sergio Munoz

Sarah Shah

Dandan Zhao

Former Roger Lab Members

Dayana Salas-Leiva, Research Associate


I received my PhD in Biology at the Universidad del Valle (Colombia) in 2009. After graduation, I worked as Research Assistant at the University of Texas at Brownsville (US), Postdoctoral Associate at Florida International University (US) and I joined the Roger lab at Dalhousie University as Postdoctoral Fellow in 2014. I recently became a Research Associate.

Research Interests:

My scientific background includes genomics, transcriptomics, metagenomics, population genetics, phylogenomics and phylogeography. I am proficient in Python, and enjoy applying bioinformatics for solving varied scientific questions and for helping others. I also have a background in experimental design/multivariate statistics, environmental management and sustainability.

My work has been centered in diversity, conservation and evolution. My primary interest is understanding how life and diversity change over time, for which I gather knowledge about the relationships among living and extinct organisms. For that reason, my research has focused on both, the shallowest branches of the tree of life (e.g. studying plants as subjects) and the deepest branches, focusing on early evolutionary events on life diversification (e.g., studying protists as subjects).

In my current position, I am (1) looking for evidence to elucidate the impact of lifestyle on genome organization and gene content, and the role of lateral gene transfer and gene duplication in adaptation to new environments, among others. (2) studying the evolution of eukaryotic specific traits (e.g., Cell cycle and sex - Mitosis, Meiosis), and (3) searching for unknown/undetected protists in the human microbiome of unhealthy people.

Also, as a part of my and S. Hleap (collaborator at McGill University) contribution to genome annotation, we are about to release an automated Search Protocol for Orthologs of Components of Key molecular systems (SPOCK). SPOCK aims to facilitate the accurate identification of gene orthologs and their manual curation during functional annotation of genomes. It combines state-of-the-art tools and designed decision-making-algorithms that provide the most relevant information for a set of query proteins in a scientifically rigorous, time efficient and unsupervised manner.

Peer reviewed publications:


  • Salas-Leiva, D., Meerow, A., Calonje, M., Francisco-Ortega, J., Griffith, P., Nakamura, K., Sánchez, V., Knowles, L., Knowles, D. (2017). Shifting Quaternary migration patterns in the Bahamian archipelago: Evidence from the Zamia pumila complex at the northern limits of the Caribbean island biodiversity hotspot. American Journal of Botany.10.3732/ajb.1700054
  • Cerón-Souza, I., Gonzalez, E., Schwarzbach, A., Salas-Leiva, D., Rivera-Ocasio, E., Toro-Perea, N., Bermingham, E. McMillan, O.(2015). Contrasting demographic history and gene flow patterns of two mangrove species on either side of the Central American Isthmus. Ecology and Evolution. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1569
  • Meerow, A., Noblick, L., Salas-Leiva, D., Sánchez, V., Francisco-Ortega, J., Jestrow, B., Nakamura, K. (2014). Phylogeny and historical biogeography of the cocosoid palms (Arecaceae, Arecoideae, Cocoseae) inferred from sequences of six WRKY gene family loci. Cladistics. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111111/cla.12100
  • Salas-Leiva, D., Meerow A., Francisco-Ortega J., Calonje M., Griffith P., Stevenson D., Nakamura K. (2014). Conserved genetic regions across Angiosperms as tools to develop single copy nuclear markers in Gymnosperms: an example using Cycads. Molecular Ecology Resources. 14, 831–845.
  • Meerow A., Salas-Leiva, D., Francisco-Ortega J., Griffith P., Calonje M., Stevenson D., Nakamura K. (In Press) Phylogeography and conservation genetics of the Caribbean Zamia clade: an integrated systematic approach with SSRs and single copy nuclear genes. Cycads Proceedings.
  • Salas-Leiva, D., Meerow, A., Calonje, M., Griffith, P., Francisco-Ortega, J., Nakamura, K., Stevenson, D., Lewis, C., Namoff, S. (2013) Phylogeny of the cycads based on multiple single-copy nuclear genes: congruence of concatenated parsimony, likelihood and species tree inference methods. Annals of Botany 112 (7): 1263-1278.
  • Llongueras, J.P., Nair S., Salas-Leiva, D., Schwarzbach, A. (2013) Comparing DNA Extraction methods for analysis of botanical materials found in anti-diabetic supplements. Molecular Biotechnology 53: 249-256.
  • Salas-Leiva, D., Mayor, V., Toro-Perea, N. (2009) Genetic diversity of black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) in natural and reforested areas of Salamanca Island Parkway, Colombian Caribbean. Hydrobiologia 620:17-24.
  • Salas-Leiva, D., Mayor V., Toro-Perea, N. (2009) Genetic diversity of the black mangrove (Avicennia germinans L.) in Colombia. Aquatic Botany 91:187–193.

    You can reach Dayana at:

    Work Phone: (+1) 902-494-2881
    Fax: (+1) 902-494-1355
    E-mail: Dayana{dot}Salas{at}dal{dot}ca