Tetsuto Miyashita

Canadian Museum of Nature-Natural Heritage Campus

About Tetsuto Miyashita

I started my scientific career with a museum (Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta where I went to a high school) and came to a full circle in 2020 when I started in my current position with the Canadian Museum of Nature. I was trained in paleontology and evolutionary biology –– most recently at the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, the University of Chicago. My early research focused on dinosaurs, but over the past decade my main interest shifted to fossil fishes, particularly those from the early Paleozoic times that have no jaws, no paired fins, and perhaps even no bones. From these seemingly primitive fishes arise a plethora of questions about the origin and early evolution of vertebrate animals. So I follow such ramifications too.


Research Interests
We typically make sense of the world around us through shapes and sizes. A study of these two parameters in organisms is morphology, which forms the basis of research in my lab. There are three biological contexts to shapes and sizes: function (what it does), development (how it forms), and history (how it evolved). My interests are how these factors interact with each other, particularly in the assembly of the vertebrate body plan. At the museum, I mainly work on fossil fishes from localities across Canada and the world. At the university, I work with students to cultivate more experimental side of my research program using zebrafish and other models.

To prospective students
I am interested in recruiting students at all levels. Anyone curious about the kinds of research in my lab is encouraged to peruse my research website. If you feel there is a good match or I may be able to help your research ideas, contact me at the email address above.

For undergraduate students looking for a supervisor for their directed studies, I have a range of projects available from curating or scanning museum collections to formulating an independent analysis or experiment. The Canadian Museum of Nature also periodically offers student intern positions – check their website.

For undergraduate students doing an honours thesis or applying for NSERC USRA, keep your eyes on deadlines and schedules. I will accept these students on quality of their research questions.

For prospective graduate students, the selection will be based on the fit to the lab, quality of proposed project, matching interests, and funding availabilities. Due to the adjunct nature of my appointment, you will identify a full-time faculty member as a co-supervisor. You may consider this an opportunity to formulate an interdisciplinary thesis project.

Major Funded Projects
A Multi-Faceted Exploration for the Ancestry and Early Evolution of Fishes—Canadian Museum of Nature Research and Collection Grant Program

An Integrative Approach to the Evolutionary Assembly of Vertebrate Body Plans—NSERC Discovery Grant Program

Cultivation of Unique [Direct-Developing] Amphibian Model Species: Application to Comparative Studies of Vertebrate Evolution—NSERC New Frontiers in Research Fund (PI: Hillary Maddin)

Fossil Record of New Brunswick to Shed New Light on Early Vertebrate Evolution—NSERC Alliance Grant (PI: Hillary Maddin; partner institution: New Brunswick Museum)

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