There are several kinds of opportunities for joining the lab. I am now accepting grad students (see below), and undergrads can choose to work with me on projects of mutual interest. With students in general, I don’t see your job as helping me with my research program – it’s my role to help you develop yours. I’m clearly better at certain areas than others, but generally if it involves evolution or informatics, I can help (and if I think someone else would be better, I’ll tell you). For postdocs, since they’re funded by grants with targets, there are more limits in what can be done. However, note it’s postdoctoral training, not technician hiring – I want you for your expertise and interest, but if you’re lacking some skills, those can generally be taught. Please don’t let lack of some skill make you feel you’re ineligible for any position here.
Standard lab policy is that you should reach out to current and past lab members for feedback on what it’s like here, and never tell me what they say, positive or negative. That way they know they can be frank with you.
I also suggest you tell me about other things you may need – spousal accommodations, info about child care, etc. – only once you receive an official offer. I can try to work with you on ways to help, but this way, neither I nor anyone else involved can discriminate against you based on these factors, even unconsciously, before you get an offer.
You might look at lab guidelines to get a sense of how the lab works. Materials I created for promotion, especially the promotion packet itself (PDF) may give you a good summary of where my teaching, research, and service have been and are going. For what you might learn here, learning objectives can be helpful.
There are three postdoc positions. They can be remote or local to Knoxville. In general, the lab is run in such a way that working remotely is fine – lab meetings are virtual for everyone, we have a group chat in slack, we do work through GitHub, etc. It can be good to be here (seminars, social connections with others) but not everyone has the flexibility to move.
Two are for continuing development of Approximate Bayesian Computation approaches for phylogenetics. We have a method for single continuous traits almost ready (doing final simulations on it now) but we want to extend it to discrete traits, multivariate traits, and more. To apply for this, go to here.
Please reach out to me for details (apply via the links above, but do contact me directly, too). Positions are open until filled, but I want to fill them soon.
I am not currently looking for grad students to join my lab for August 2021. But for people curious about opportunities in the future:
For application information, go to https://eeb.utk.edu/graduate-studies/application-information/ (though note we are changing our deadline to Dec. 1). There is information at a university level for applying at https://gradschool.utk.edu/admissions/applying-to-graduate-school/. Students from countries outside the US are more than welcome. See https://gradschool.utk.edu/admissions/applying-to-graduate-school/admissions-for-international-students/ for more information (remember our department deadline of Dec. 1, which is earlier than the university deadline). Our international office can help with visas and other information (and students who have worked with this office generally find it helpful). Also note that United States national policy affects visas and related paperwork, and so what is required and permissible may change.
There are no entry level jobs in the lab: there are no turtles to feed, beakers to clean, seeds to count. Instead, I typically work with students to develop research questions they care about (past ones have included Slavic language evolution and evolution of salamander development). It is like a graduate student dissertation, just shorter and perhaps more accessible. So if you have some question you’re curious about, even if it’s vague (“I really like speciation”, “Phylogenetic trees are awesome”), email me to set up a time we can talk. We can typically arrange for you to receive research credit for the research you are doing. The earlier you do this, the better – it gives you time to learn more skills to better answer your questions and really consider the biology.