Research Team

Welcome to the page for the “Newman Lab,” whose research investigates various intersections between narrative, narrative theory, writing studies and scientific texts, models and diagrams. Our aim is to use our combined knowledge, methods and perspectives from various fields toward new and original insights into the nature, uses and limits of narrative.

One of the things that I missed when I moved from biology to literature was the community, both social and intellectual, provided by the unit we called “the lab.” Though I don’t actually have a lab, I am now striving to bring that aspect of lab culture to my work in literature, narrative and the culture of science. This page is an introduction to my team members and collaborators.


For my bio, please see my homepage.

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS: Current RAs in the Newman Team are conducting research on the project “A Narratology of Science,” funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada. A talented group, they are providing essential help on, among other things, linguistic, computational, and statistical aspects of research seeking to establish and formalize some common ground between narrativity (the quality of being read as a story) and syntactic patterns associated with clarity in academic and technical prose.

Thaïs Bernos (PhD candidate, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto):

I am passionate about the use of genetics to inform real-world wildlife conservation problems, such as the spread of invasive species and the extinction of biodiversity. Conducting conservation research is a way for me to feel like I am helping wildlife; inform their management by reading animals’ DNA brings me a lot of satisfaction.

Before starting my PhD in conservation genetics at UofT, I obtained an M.Sc from Concordia University (Montreal, QC) and worked with small-scale fishers on Sainte-Marie Island (Madagascar). Currently, my research focuses on the genetics of freshwater fishes. As I believe that writing and communication skills are essential to ensure that genetic research, beyond academia, is used to solve conservation problems, I also conduct multidisciplinary research on the use of genetics to inform fish management.

Feel free to read more about my research on my website!

Ellen Forget (PhD student, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto)

Photo credit: Kaela Leone

Ellen Forget is a PhD student at University of Toronto in the Faculty of Information and the collaborative specialization of Book History and Print Culture. They are a graduate of the Master of Publishing and Editing Certificate programs at Simon Fraser University and work as a freelance editor. Ellen’s research interests include speculative fiction genres, digital publishing, and accessible book formats.

You can learn more about Ellen’s work here.

Tracy O’Brien (PhD candidate, Department of English, University of Toronto)

Tracy O’Brien is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Toronto where she is completing a collaborative specialization in Book History & Print Culture. She holds master’s degrees in Linguistics and English from Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador and is leveraging her multidisciplinary training to complete her dissertation, “A Corpus Study of Language Variation in Early Modern Women’s Writing,” in which she examines linguistic structures women writers used in their compositions between the mid-16th and late-17th centuries. This research is supported by a fellowship with the Critical Digital Humanities Initiative at University of Toronto. Tracy is founder and coordinator of U of T’s Early Modern Research and Reading Group and spends her summers writing theatre reviews. Her non-academic life involves a lot of family, music, dogs, plants, laughter, and Star Trek.