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Team Members

The Soghigian Lab located in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary. Most of us can be found in the Health Sciences Centre at the Foothills Campus. If you are interested in the work we do and think you might be a good fit, check the open positions section of the site.

JOHN SOGHIGIAN (john.soghigian[@]


Assistant Professor

Dr. John Soghigian is broadly interested in the causes and consequences of parasite and vector diversity.  John uses genomic approaches to understand the evolution and diversification of insects of veterinary and public health importance.

John completed his PhD in the laboratory of Todd Livdahl at Clark University.  He then completed postdoctoral training first at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, and then at North Carolina State University.  He was also a visiting postdoctoral scholar Yale University.  He joined the Faculty of Veterinary medicine at the University of Calgary in June 2021.

GEN MORINAGA (gen.morinaga[@]


Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Gen Morinaga's research focuses on the evolution of complex form and function, with a particular emphasis on integrating evolutionary models into the study of important phenotypes.  In the Soghigian Lab, Gen is studying how particular insect phenotypes - from a mosquito's preference for a given bloodhost, to insect parental care - are influenced by evolutionary relationships, as well as biotic and abiotic factors.

Gen was a postdoctoral researcher at Oklahoma State University working with Dr. Daniel Moen, where his research focused on the macroevolution and diversification of frogs.  He completed his PhD in the laboratory of Philip Bergmann at Clark University in 2019. 


HUIQING YEO (huiqing.yeo[@]

Postdoctoral Scholar


TY PAN (tiffany.pan[@]

PhD Student

Ty Pan is a PhD student interested in mosquito biology and evolution. Ty completed their Masters in Public Health and Johns Hopkins in 2018, and joined the Soghigian Lab in 2022.  Before joining the PhD program in UCVM, Ty worked for US government agencies as a lab technician. Ty's dissertation focuses on autogeny in mosquitoes, particularly the complete loss of blood-feeding.  In addition to their primary projects, Ty has helped confirm the identity of Culex pipiens in Calgary.


JUSTYNA KRUCZALAK (justyna.kruczalak[@]

MSc Student

Justyna Kruczalak is an MSc student interested in medical and veterinary entomology. Justyna's current research focuses on Dermacentor andersoni, the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, which can cause tick paralysis and vector significant disease. Tick paralysis is relatively rare, but more common in British Columbia than elsewhere in D. andersoni's range, for reasons unknown.  Justyna completed her Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell College in 2022, and joined the Soghigian Lab in the fall of 2022.


MICHAELA SEAL (michaela.seal[@]

MSc Student

Michaela Seal is a MSc student interested in entomology and invasive species ecology. Michaela’s current research focuses on the ecology of Culex pipiens, an invasive mosquito species recently found in Alberta, and how its arrival may impact wildlife health. Culex pipiens is an important vector of zoonotic and avian diseases including West Nile Virus and avian malaria. Michaela completed combined degrees in Zoology and Sociology from the University of Calgary in 2021, and has worked with the provincial government on invasive species. Michaela joined the Soghigian lab in the fall of 2023.


ABDULLAH ZUBAIR (abdullah.zubair[@]

Undergraduate Research Scholar

Abdullah Zubair is an undergraduate research scholar interested in bioinformatics and genomics. Abdullah's current research focuses on bioinformatic pipelines to process sequence capture data, which he is applying to study evolutionary relationships in the diverse mosquito tribe Sabethini. By studying the evolutionary relationships in this group, Abdullah hopes to gain insight into how a small number of mosquitoes have lost their need to bite vertebrate hosts.

Previous team members


HAILEY SHAW (hailey.murray[@]

Undergraduate Research Scholar


SHAHAANAA MOHANARAJ (shahaanaa.mohanra1[@]

Undergraduate Research Scholar

Shahaanaa Mohanaraj is an undergraduate research assistant whose research focuses on Culex pipiens and its recent expansion into the province of Alberta. Shahaanaa worked with IPM technicians from the city of Calgary to assess if this important invasive mosquito was found in Calgary or not. While the mosquito has not been definitively identified in Calgary as of yet, its presence elsewhere in Alberta raises concerns that this critical vector species may be rapidly expanding its range due the changing climate.

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SERGIU COCIUBA (sergiu.cociuba[@]

Undergraduate Research Scholar

Sergiu Cociuba is an undergraduate research scholar interested in bioinformatics and genomics. Sergiu's current research focuses on comparative genomics and genome assembly pipelines. Sergiu is assembling a new draft genome from the important vector mosquito Aedes triseriatus. Long-term, Sergiu's research aims to understand why some mosquitoes transmit pathogens, and others do not.

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