PhD Positions 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 of prairie dogs. 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).
The available position is part of a recently-funded collaborative project seeking to understand the constraints on the evolution of plague resistance in black-tailed and Gunnison's prairie dogs. Projects could include: i) using genomics and data from experimental infections to determine the molecular basis of plague resistance, ii) using historically collected specimens to examine rates of evolution of neutral and adaptive alleles across space and time, iii) landscape genetics and ecological modeling of neutral and adaptive alleles, or iv) other relevant topics. The student will be expected to lead a small team of undergraduate researchers in 3 summer field seasons. This project includes collaborating with students and faculty from Tribal and Hispanic-serving institutions as a fundamental pillar of the work.
We are especially interested in recruiting hispanohablantes de cualquier país (varios miembros de nuestro grupo son bilingües, y mantenemos colaboraciones internacionales) and/or students from minoritized groups--and these students will be eligible for the Louisiana Board of Regents fellowship. The position is supported by a 9-month teaching assistantship with additional grant funding in the summer. The position will be based in UL’s Department of Biology (https://biology.louisiana.edu/) and will include collaborative work with scientists at the USGS Wildlife Health Center, Colorado State University, Northern New Mexico College, and Navajo Technical University. Students are expected to work respectfully with colleagues of different backgrounds. Interested applicants should contact cassin [dot] sackett [at] gmail [dot] com for inquiries. The desired start date is Spring or Summer 2024, and the summer 2024 field season will begin ~May 6.
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 groups underrepresented in STEM. Students are expected to be respectful of colleagues with different identities.
How to apply: Interested candidates should contact me at Cassin [dot] Sackett [at] gmail [dot] com for more information. The application deadline is October 1 for international applicants and November 30 for domestic applicants (but earlier applications are encouraged!). UL Biology does not require the GRE. Guidelines can be found at https://gradschool.louisiana.edu/admissions.