ArcticNet - About us

Sally Leys
University of Alberta

My PhD (1996) was with George Mackie at the University of Victoria. It concerned the cell biology and physiology of a deep-water glass sponge, and in 1997 I won the CSZ Cameron Award for it. I started my first postdoc in Barbados with a Commander C Bellairs PDFellowship from McGill University, and then received an NSERC PDF which I took first to the University Aix Marseille France, to study the development of a marine cave-dwelling glass sponge, then to the University of Queensland, Australia for 1998-2000, where I worked on sponge larval development and behaviour. In 2000 I won an NSERC Women?s University Research Award and spent 2 years as Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria, teaching Marine Invertebrate Zoology at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre until 2002 when I came to the University of Alberta as a Canada Research Chair Tier II in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology. At the U of Alberta I oversee the microscopy unit, and at the same time continue to help maintain the microscopy facilities at Bamfield. I have served as Chair of the User Committee for Neptune Canada from 2008-2012, and as the Chair of the User Committee for the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility (CSSF) from 2009-present; I am currently a member of the Board of Directors of CSSF. My students and I are interested in the evolution of coordination systems: nerves, sensory cells, signalling and we largely work on sponges, one of the earliest evolving multicellular animals. Our work covers a diversity of fields of expertise from molecular biology, physiology and cell biology, to developmental biology and ecology and in addition lab work we use ocean research ships with the remote operated vehicle ROPOS, carry out field work at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, and have projects in Norway, Panama, and most recently in the Arctic.


Project Member

Hidden Biodiversity and Vulnerability of Hard-Bottom and Surrounding Environments in the Canadian Arctic

Primary Address

University of Alberta
Biological Sciences
CW 405 Biological Sciences
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E9

Phone: 780 492-6629