Jon Sweeney

Research Scientist - NRCan - CFS Atlantic

Dr. Jon Sweeney studies behaviour and population ecology of forest insect pests and develops methods for reducing their impact on Canada’s forests at CFS. Working with a team that includes synthetic chemists, ecologists and entomologists, his research focuses on the development of pheromone-based tools for surveillance and control of invasive species such as the brown spruce longhorn beetle.


Nicoletta Faraone

Postdoc - Dalhousie University

Dr. Nicoletta Faraone is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Dalhousie University - Agricultural Campus Truro since June 2012.
Dr. Faraone is an organic chemist specialized in “Advanced Methods for Synthesis and Characterization of Organic Molecules” and Chemistry of Natural Compounds (University of Palermo, Italy). In 2011 she received her PhD in “Plant Health Management of Eco-compatible Agro-Forestry and Urban Environments” (University of Palermo, Italy), discussing a thesis about biological activities of natural compounds extracted from plants against Ceratitis capitata and Grapholita molesta by electrophysiological and behavioral experiments. She worked for six months (January to July 2011) at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Vineland station, ON) on a project concerning the use of sex pheromone with some host plant volatiles in mating disruption against Grapholita molesta. During the fall-winter semester 2012-2013, she was tutor for organic chemistry class and she taught a module for graduate students (Chemistry of Natural Compounds, AGRI 5710/5705).
Currently she is mainly working on the chemical ecology of the Blueberry Fruit Fly in order to isolate, identify and synthetize the host marking pheromone of this pest. The other project focuses on the synergistic studies of essential oils and insecticides for managing sucking pest (e.g. green peach aphid). She also teaches Organic Chemistry II (CHMA 2001.03) and she is working with undergraduate/graduate students on undergraduate/graduate research projects. She is author and co-author of papers published in international scientific journals.

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Loay Jabre

MSc student - Acadia University

Loay Jabre is a second year masters student at Acadia University, studying entomology under the supervision of Dr. Kirk Hillier. During his undergraduate studies at Acadia, he developed a great interest in insect-plant interactions and signaling. Luckily, he didn’t have to go far to pursue his interests at the Hillier Lab. He is now studying the interaction between the cabbage maggot - Delia radicum - and its host plant volatiles, and hopes to have a career in research and academia in the future. 

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Colin MacKay

Biologist - Acadia University/Canadian Forest Service

Colin MacKay is a field supervisor with Acadia University/Canadian Forest Service (CFS) and is based in Halifax, N.S.

Colin is a former Masters student in Dr. Kirk Hillier’s lab (co-supervised by Dr. Jon Sweeney, CFS) where he worked on the antennal sensilla morphology and olfactory physiology of the brown spruce longhorn beetle (BSLB), Tetropium fuscum. Specifically, he identified the likely candidate sensilla for olfactory reception on the antennae of T. fuscum and then used single sensillum recording (SSR) to test the responsiveness and sensitivity of male and female T. fuscum to a range of compounds such as fuscumol (the aggregation pheromone for T. fuscum), host volatiles, and non-host volatiles.

Colin is currently working with several different species of forest pests in N.S. as well as comparing the SSR responses of T. fuscum with those of the native species of Tetropium, T. cinnamopterum.

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Catherine Little

Ph.D. candidate – Acadia University / Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

Catherine Little is a laboratory technician with Acadia University and a Ph.D. candidate at Memorial University, under the supervision of Kirk Hillier (Acadia) and Tom Chapman (Memorial).  Catherine is currently investigating olfactory physiology of spotted wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii Matsumura).  She is studying the interactions between olfactory reception and evolution of host preference in D. suzukii. She is using electroantennagrams (EAGs), behavioural assays, and field trials to identify sensitivities and responsiveness of potential attractant semiochemicals. 

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Gaetan Leclair

Organic Chemist - NRCan - CFS Atlantic

Dr. Gaetan Leclair works on the organic Synthesis of potential chemicals for lure and mitigation applications of exotic and native insect pests and the isolation, identification and synthesis of insect pheromones and kairomones.