Maydianne Andrade

Photo of University Professor Maydianne Andrade

Maydianne Andrade

Department of Biological Sciences

University of Toronto Scarborough

Professor Maydianne Andrade is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), a former Canada Research Chair in Integrative Behavioural Ecology, and a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society (ABS) and of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS).  Professor Andrade received her B.Sc  from Simon Fraser (1992), her M.Sc. in Zoology at University of Toronto Mississauga (1995) and her Ph.D in Neurobiology and Behaviour at Cornell University (2000).  

Professor Andrade is an internationally recognized expert on sexual selection, mating behaviour, and the biology and ecology of black widow spiders. She uses these species to examine how populations are shaped by variable ecological and social conditions via fitness effects on reproductive traits. Over the course of her career, she has developed the widow spiders from curiosities into a model taxon for studies of behavioural ecology and evolution, while mentoring graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and hundreds of undergraduates in a rigorous but inclusive lab environment. Her research is featured in textbooks on Biology, Evolution, and Behavioural Ecology from high school to senior undergraduate levels. Among other awards, Professor Andrade has been recognized with the Lawrence J. Burpee medal for outstanding achievement (RCGS), the Pitelka Award for research excellence (International Society for Behavioral Ecology), and the Exemplar Award for sustained contributions to the field of Animal Behavior (ABS).   

Professor Andrade’s scholarly focus includes knowledge translation supporting the implementation of principles of equity in academia, for which she received the Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize from the University of Toronto alumni association (2021). In 2016, she founded (and co-chairs) the Toronto Initiative for Diversity and Excellence (TIDE). This multi-disciplinary group of faculty provides data-informed talks, workshops, and advising on issues related to bias and inclusion in the academic career arc, using a research-informed modular format that she created. To support introductory equity education at scale, Professor Andrade authored, narrated, and co-created animated modules for faculty and staff, with broad uptake within the University of Toronto, and more recently at other higher education institutions.  Her expertise in empirical research and in equity has led to her engagement with two bodies that provide non-partisan analyses to support public policy decisions. She is an elected international honorary member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and is an appointee to the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Council of Canadian Academies. 

Professor Andrade is a co-founder (2020) and inaugural President of the Canadian Black Scientists Network, a new, national-level professional society that supports Black-identifying researchers, practitioners, educators, and their Allies from across STEM disciplines and sectors. She was lead organizer of the network’s first national virtual conference (2022), which attracted 1,500 registrants and closing remarks from the Prime Minister of Canada. Within the University of Toronto, Professor Andrade has served as Special Advisor to the Dean, Vice Dean Faculty Affairs and Equity and as Acting Vice-Principal Academic and Dean at UTSC. She was part of the development team for the University of Toronto’s Black Research Network (BRN), an Institutional Strategic Initiative for which she now serves on the steering committee. The BRN connects researchers across the University with a common goal of promoting and enhancing the scholarly work of Black researchers, and others working on issues of relevance to Black communities.   

Professor Andrade was named a Professor of the Year by the UTSC undergraduate newspaper (2015). She is regularly interviewed about her research in the popular press, including by the New York Times, National Geographic, PBS, and CBC radio’s Quirks and Quarks, among other outlets. Most recently, her public engagements have included CBC Radio’s Ideas (2020), and the well-respected CBC documentary series ‘The Nature of Things’ where she provided arachnology expertise (The Great Wild Indoors, 2017) and acted as a guest host (First Animals, 2019).  Finally, starting at the outset of the pandemic, she hosted a well-received podcast with a focus on equity and social action (The New Normal, 2020, 2021).