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Sheila Stiles
Sheila Stiles

Dr. Sheila Stiles

Education

  • B.S. Xavier University, Biology
  • M.S. University of Connecticut, Zoology/Ecology
  • Ph.D. University of Massachusetts, Fish Genetics

Professional History

Sheila is a research geneticist. She currently is conducting research on genetics and breeding of the mussel. Previously, as a Team Leader in the Biotechnology Branch, Aquaculture and Enhancement Division, Sheila was responsible for initiating and developing a multigenerational genetics and breeding program for bay scallops which investigated the use of genetic methods to improve growth and survival for increased production. She planned, directed, and conducted research in three main areas: 1) Breeding (selection, inbreeding and hybridization); 2) Population Genetics – conducted DNA studies with Yale University geneticists and with a colleague in Massachusetts on hybridization; conducted molecular analysis (allozyme) in a joint US-China cooperative research project, and DNA analysis and transgenic studies in collaboration with University of Connecticut researchers, as well as a small-scale study on stock ID and genetic diversity of sea scallops; 3) Field evaluations for stock restoration or enhancement.

In the past, Sheila was Leader of the Genetics Unit in the Genetics and Life History Investigation, which was concerned primarily with evaluating genetic effects of pollution on the reproductive success of winter flounder, the hard clam, and the oyster. The main focus was on damage to chromosomes, nuclei and cells of organisms at various life history stages, with some development of DNA procedures to examine the relationship between genetic population structure of a fish and/or shellfish, its reproductive success and annual year-class strength (fisheries recruitment). As Unit Leader, she supervised geneticists and fishery biologists, coordinating diverse projects of the Unit.

The genetics team has provided shellfish and assistance for aquaculture, restoration and conservation of declining populations of economically valuable shellfish to industry, municipalities, other scientists, and schools. These contributions were highlighted recently by the NEFSC on the website posted as: “Improving Domestic Seafood a Goal of Milford Laboratory’s Shellfish Genetics Program” (S. Dawicki, December, 2014). In addition, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Connecticut Lab Ups Its Shell Game”, that highlighted our shellfish genetics and Milford Lab research. (by J. Avila, August 13, 2015).