There are opportunities for highly-motivated students who are passionate about biology to work on independent research projects over summer and/or during the semester. While all of these projects are intended to feed into my own larger projects, the things you do can be tailored to your interests:
molecular laboratory skills: DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis, DNA sequence editing
data-basing skills: specimen / tissue collections (localities, sample sizes), DNA sequence data
microscopy & digital imaging: morphometric data collection, curating specimens
scientific literature: navigating Web of Science, searching / reading papers, review writing
computer simulations: generate population genetic data in silico & analyze using specialist software
I will ask you to commit to a spending at least 6 hours per week on your project (4 hours at the lab bench plus 2 hours reading), and this usually involves enrolling in BISC491/492 for 3 credits. I also will ask you to commit to spending two consecutive semesters working on your project (three semesters for Senior Honors Thesis projects)). It takes this long to learn the skills, generate useable data, and then run meaningful analyses. Send me an email and let me know the sorts of things you'd be most interested in doing, as well as a rough idea and we can go from there.
I am interested in talking to prospective Masters and PhD students immediately. I'm looking for highly-motivated students who are passionate about evolutionary biology, population genetics, phylogenetics and/or conservation biology. Previous research is experience preferred, and good grades and GRE scores will make you more competitive for financial support from the department. University resources for graduate students can be found here. Choosing an advisor / lab for your Masters degree is not trivial, and I encourage you to explore your options and spend time researching it. One way to do this is to read some papers (see Publications). My philosophy is thatyou become a scientist when you start working on your graduate degree, not just after you've completed it. For example, if you join my lab one of the first things you will do after deciding on a project is to write a literature review on the topic, with a view to getting it published. I will treat you as a collaborator on a research project, and my advice will often come in the form of suggestions. This works so long as you are heavily invested in making your project a success, and are willing to take on the responsibility of finding solutions to problems by using all of the resources available to you (e.g., reading journal articles and websites, asking other graduate students and postdocs in the department, emailing experts at other universities). I also expect that you will attend and participate in lab meetings and departmental seminars, meet with visiting speakers, present at scientific meetings, and ultimately publish your research. If you're interested, email me and we'll find a time to talk on the phone. If you are a good fit for the lab, I will suggest that you visit campus.
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