John Stinchcombe

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Postdoctoral fellow supervisor (of Michelle Afk​hami​​)

Faculty member, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Postdoctoral fellows play a crucial role in the research community because they are at the important interface between idea generation and implementation. Postdoctoral fellows are junior scholars functioning at a high academic level; they possess the capability to generate new ideas and the skills to test them. Additionally, they are able to write about these ideas in a setting free of administrative or learning obligations that tether faculty members and students.

U of T possesses tremendous depth and breadth of academic excellence, setting it apart from other educational institutions. The overall research excellence in the departments combined with faculty working with exceptional students is a difficult mix to beat. Adding to that, Toronto is a vibrant, multicultural city with rich cultural options in the arts, music, and film; ethnic cuisine; and a high quality of life. 

In the nine years since I arrived at U of T, the most significant change I have seen is the creation of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) department. In this single academic unit, an interactive, collegial group of ecologists, geneticists, and evolutionary biologists are working on topics ranging from global change, ecology, structure of tropical rainforests, and evolutionary genomics—all in one academic department, speaking the same language.

Working with postdoctoral fellows is incredibly rewarding. I see people in transition—they are no longer students but not yet independent researchers or government scientists. They are in a phase of rapid professional and intellectual growth.​