Robert S. Harbert


Dr. Harbert joined the Biology Department in 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Biology to teach in Bioinformatics. He comes to Stonehill from the American Museum of Natural History where he worked as a postdoctoral scholar in computational biology and bioinformatics. His Ph.D. is in Plant Biology from Cornell University where he studied plant systematics and paleobotany. Dr. Harbert has taught courses in general biology, botany, plant taxonomy, plant physiology, and spatial bioinformatics. As a graduate of a small, undergraduate college himself, Dr. Harbert is pleased to be teaching and developing research opportunities at Stonehill.

Research Interests

Dr. Harbert’s current projects include using fossil plant community composition to generate paleoclimate estimates of Late Quaternary climate in Western North America. Dr. Harbert is also developing a project to reconstruct plant communities from ancient DNA extracted from packrat paleomiddens.

Dr. Harbert is broadly interested in trying to illuminate the processes determining global patterns of biodiversity. There are many potential projects in his lab involving ecological modeling of species distributions, patterns in biodiversity, testing for biases in biological data collection, and exploring bioinformatics methods for the analysis of ancient and environmental DNA.

Dr. Harbert is interested in working with students who want to work in any of the above projects or any other research that has a computational or informatics component.

Websites and Resources


  • BIO101L – Biological Principles I
  • BIO200 – Bioinformatics
  • BIO332 – Applied Bioinformatics (Spring, starting 2018)
  • BIO261 – Biological Statistics (Spring, starting 2018)


  • B.S. Biology, Roanoke College, 2011
  • Ph.D. Cornell University, 2016