René Malenfant

Senior Instructor


Bailey Hall 111

1 506 458 7462

Academic interests

  • Molecular ecology
  • Population genetics
  • Quantitative genetics

Brief biography

René Malenfant received his Ph.D. in Systematics and Evolution from the University of Alberta in 2016. For his Ph.D. research, he used high-throughput DNA sequencing to develop a medium-density genotyping array for polar bears, and applied it to population genomics and genetic association studies.

Prior to studying polar bears, René researched sonar beamforming at the Department of National Defence, harassed right whales in the Bay of Fundy, and developed genetic resources for white-tailed deer and Sable Island grey seals. He is also on the editorial board of JMdict—one of the largest and most widely used Japanese–English dictonaries.

Courses taught

  • BIOL 2013. Evolutionary Genetics
  • BIOL 2018. Laboratory in Evolutionary Genetics
  • BIOL 3933. Practical Computing for Biologists
  • BIOL 4523/6523. Phylogenetics
  • BIOL 5473. Experimental Design and Data Analysis in Biology and Forestry

Selected research

Malenfant, R.M., Davis, C.S., Richardson, E.S., Lunn, N.J., and Coltman, D.W. 2018. Heritability of body size in the polar bears of Western Hudson Bay. Molecular Ecology Resources 18(4): 854–866.

Malenfant, R.M., Coltman, D.W., Richardson, E.S., Lunn, N.J., Stirling, I., Adamowicz, E., and Davis, C.S. 2016. Evidence of adoption, monozygotic twinning, and low inbreeding rates in a large genetic pedigree of polar bears. Polar Biology 39(8): 1455–1465.

Malenfant, R.M., Davis, C.S., Cullingham, C.I., and Coltman, D.W. 2016. Circumpolar genetic structure and recent gene flow of polar bears: a reanalysis. PLOS ONE 11(3): e0148967.

Malenfant, R.M., Coltman, D.W., and Davis, C.S. 2015. Design of a 9K Illumina BeadChip for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from transcriptomic and RAD sequencing. Molecular Ecology Resources 15(3): 587–600.