About Us

The CCDB is a state-of-the art DNA Barcoding facility founded within the University of Guelph by Dr. Paul Hebert in 2006 to advance DNA barcoding technologies. Its unique research capacity reflects the coupling of one of Canada’s largest genomics platforms with a workforce that includes world-class expertise in biodiversity science, DNA sequencing and informatics. The Centre is best known for its role in leading the development of DNA barcoding, a technology which is considered one of the top five life-changing breakthroughs made by Ontario universities over the past century.

The CCDB generates over one million barcode records a year and is the most prominent contributor of sequences to the global repository of DNA barcodes (v4.boldsystems.org) . The CCDB is a focal point for research into new methods for producing barcode records more rapidly and at lower cost.  Due to years of investment in collaborative efforts and leading technological development in the field, CCDB now plays a central role in training international researchers, government agency employees and private sector scientists.


It is the mission of the CCDB to provide academic researchers, government regulators and commercial partners with the technical support and knowledge to integrate DNA barcoding technology within their research programs and day-to-day operations. Our knowledgeable and professional staff will support, educate and problem-solve for our customers.

Commitment to Quality 

The CCDB adheres to strict quality assurance and control measures to ensure that we meet the highest quality standards. The CCDB employs a unidirectional workflow that passes through six isolated rooms, each containing separately labeled materials, supplies and equipment:

  • Sample Preparation
  • DNA Extraction
  • Reagent Room
  • DNA Amplification and Sequencing
  • Electrophoresis
  • Positive Hit Picking

Virtually all aspects of barcode generation are automated, from DNA extraction to sequencing. To verify that equipment is functioning properly, the CCDB follows a maintenance schedule as recommended by each instrument’s manufacturer. Quality assurance is supported by the CCDB’s proprietary Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) that guarantees a full audit trail for each sample processed within our facility, including who performed which procedure on which equipment on what date and time.


The core analytical functions of the CCDB are performed by a team of 20 staff members. All CCDB personnel performing DNA analysis are held to high standards and have training in molecular biology, biotechnology, biochemistry, molecular genetics, or other course work that covers PCR and recombinant DNA theory and practice. Hands-on training, including the review of standard operating procedures (SOPs) or manuals, is completed for each technician under the supervision of experienced personnel (e.g., the Lead DNA Scientist or the Laboratory Manager). Each technician is also required to be knowledgeable in laboratory safety and QA/QC procedures.


Paul Hebert, Scientific Director
Paul Hebert carried out his undergraduate studies in biology at Queen’s University, his doctoral work in genetics at the University of Cambridge, and then held a Rutherford Fellowship at the University of Sydney. He currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Biodiversity at the University of Guelph where he is a professor in its Department of Integrative Biology and Director of its Centre for Biodiversity Genomics. He brings 30 years of experience in the oversight of major research and academic units. He was Director of the Great Lakes Institute at the University of Windsor from 1986 to 1990 and Chair of the Department of Zoology at Guelph for the subsequent decade. He was Vice-President of Research at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre from 1992 to 1998 and then served as the Chair of its Board until 2003.

Since this time, he has focused on building a major research program in DNA barcoding, raising more than $100 million to construct specialized research facilities, and to sustain a research team with outstanding capabilities in biodiversity science, informatics, and genomics. He was Director for the Canadian Barcode of Life Network from 2005 to 2010. Since then, he has served as Scientific Director of the International Barcode of Life Consortium which has overseen two major research programs.

His research has employed diverse molecular approaches to advance understanding of issues such as breeding system evolution, invasive species, and genome size evolution. He is, however, best known for proposing DNA barcoding as a tool for both specimen identification and species discovery. His 500+ publications have attracted nearly 80,000 citations and an h-index of 116 (Google Scholar). He was among the 2014 and 2015 highly cited researchers recognized by Thomson Reuters and on the 2018 Clarivate Web of Science list. He has trained 105 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows; nearly half now hold faculty positions. He is an Officer in the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Waterloo, Western, and Windsor. He received the 2018 Dr. A. H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Evgeny Zakharov, Laboratory Director
Dr. Evgeny Zakharov holds a PhD in biology and has over ten years of research experience in molecular systematics, population genetics, and evolutionary biology. In 2007 Dr. Zakharov joined the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project at the University of Guelph to advance the DNA barcoding of insect species. In April 2009, Dr. Zakharov accepted leadership of the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding (CCDB) and has expanded the capacity and range of services offered. Having a research background, Dr. Zakharov has a strong commitment to scientific accuracy and operational excellence and continues to advance capabilities at the CCDB.

Stephanie deWaard, Laboratory Manager
Stephanie holds an MSc in Biology from the University of British Columbia Okanagan, where her research applied population genomics to species conservation and fisheries management of kokanee salmon. Stephanie has worked in the field of DNA barcoding since 2004, developing expertise in implementing high throughput and cutting-edge workflows for the advancement of species identification and discovery. She transitioned to the position of laboratory manager of the CCDB in 2021.


Building Infrastructure:

  • Ontario Ministry of Research & Innovation
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • Genome Canada
  • Ontario Genomics Institute
  • Ontario Innovation Trust
  • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • University of Guelph

Supporting Projects:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Canadian Greenhouse Conference
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Flowers Canada
  • Food From Thought
  • Genome Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence
  • Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food
  • Ontario Soybean Growers
  • Ontario Research Fund
  • Ontario Wheat Board
  • Parks Canada
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation