PhD Position in Conservation and Evolutionary Genomics University of Louisiana at Lafayette
The Cassin Sackett Lab at the University of Louisiana is looking for a highly motivated graduate student to study population and conservation genomics. We use ancient DNA, field sampling, genomics, and bioinformatic approaches to answer fundamental questions in evolutionary biology, especially those with practical conservation applications. Some major questions being asked in the lab are:
How do humans influence the evolution of wildlife? We study the ways in which climate change, habitat alteration, and introduced diseases impact the distribution of genetic variation, rates of gene flow, and the probability of adaptation.
What is the genomic basis of rapid adaptation to novel pathogens? We examine the demographic and environmental constraints to adaptation and whether genomic architecture of rapid adaptation differs from that of more gradual adaptation (e.g., to climate).
Students are being accepted to work in a collaborative environment in either of two systems: 1) understanding the evolution of tolerance to avian malaria in Hawaiian honeycreepers. Projects could include: i) spatial and phylogenetic variation in gene expression, ii) genome-environment associations, iii) spatial distribution of tolerance-associated loci across elevational gradients, iv) temporal changes in genomic variation of neutral and adaptive loci, or v) other relevant topics. 2) investigating the potential for resistance to Yersinia pestis, the bacteria causing plague, in Gunnison's and black-tailed prairie dogs. Projects could include: i) systematics, co-evolution and vector competence in fleas, ii) landscape genetics, phylogeography and adaptation in prairie dogs, iii) molecular evolution in prairie dogs, iv) evolution in co-occurring rodent species, v) genome evolution in ground squirrels, or vi) other relevant topics.
Graduate positions are supported by teaching assistantships, with the possibility of future RA support pending funding. The position will be based in UL’s Department of Biology (https://biology.louisiana.edu/). Interested applicants should contact cassin [dot] sackett [at] gmail [dot] com for inquiries. The desired start date is Summer or Fall 2023.
Qualifications: Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in biology, computer science, or a related field. We are looking for a student who is motivated, hard-working, and passionate about topics in evolutionary biology. The student should have or be willing to develop excellent organizational and communication skills, computing skills, and the desire/willingness to engage in outreach. The Cassin Sackett lab is committed to increasing diversity in STEM, and we especially encourage applications from women, Latinxs, Native Americans, veterans and other underrepresented groups. Students are expected to respect colleagues with different identities.
How to apply: Interested candidates should contact me for more information. The application deadline is February 1 (but earlier applications are encouraged); guidelines can be found at https://gradschool.louisiana.edu/admissions.