future members of the cryptogamic research unit:

Postdocs and visiting scholars

I am always happy to discuss proposal or postdoc fellowship ideas in evolutionary genetics or genomics using bryophyte model systems. The lab has also hosted several short-term visitors interested in learning about moss transformation and cultivation, natural variation, or evolutionary genomics and RADseq / genotype-by-sequencing. Shortly we plan to hire two NSF-funded postdocs to work on the GoLife project Building a comprehensive phylogeny of the flagellate plants, and the Dimensions of Biodiversity project: Community genomic drivers of moss microbiome assembly and function in rapidly changing Alaskan ecosystems.

Graduate students

If you are interested in applying to work in the lab, please get in touch with me as early in the fall as possible so that we can evaluate your fit with the lab and prepare your application documents. The applications are due December 15 – see graduate application instructions.

I am generally interested in the maintenance of genetic variation and the evolution of reproductive isolation. I am most excited to study the role of adaptation in these processes, in particular adaptation to abiotic factors such as climate and substrate, and biotic factors, such as microbes or interactions between the sexes. We have spent the last several years developing tools to study these processes in the moss model system Ceratodon purpureus. At the moment we work mostly with wild isolates of C. purpureus in the lab. However I am always interested in new projects that use plant diversity to answer interesting fundamental evolutionary questions (although occasionally we have collaborated with researchers on applied problems as well).

Please read some of my publications (since 2005) to get a sense of what we do in the lab. If, after reading these, you are still interested, please contact me and tell me about what type of research questions most interest you, what experiences have prepared you for graduate school, and how you see a graduate degree in my lab fitting in with your career goals.

I take Master’s and Doctoral students through the Department of Biology, but I am also affiliated with the UF Genetics Institute, and the Plant Molecular and Cell Biology Program. There are two main differences between these programs:

i.) Course requirements for the Department of Biology are determined by your graduate advisory committee and as a result, they are tailored to your needs and interests. Genetics and PMCB course requirements are more focused on a core set of skills and methods.

ii.) Funding for both programs is through Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, and Fellowships. Most students in Biology are funded through TAs, while most students in Genetics and PMCB are funded through RAs. As a consequence, most Biology students design their own thesis project (within the scope of the PIs expertise), while most Genetics and PMCB students work on some aspect of a project that the PI has designed and gotten funded.

I generally encourage students to apply to the lab through Biology, because the funding is more certain, and it is still possible to take the Genetics or PMCB core courses.

Undergraduate students

I have had numerous undergraduate researchers in the lab, and we are always looking for curious and industrious students. I generally ask that undergrads work in the lab for a minimum of 12 hrs / week, in 3-4 hour blocks, spread out over the course of the week. Initially I ask that undergrads volunteer in the lab, and after a semester of work apply to get research credit or move into an OPS position. The work is often tedious and repetitive, and requires assiduous attention to detail. However, most undergraduates find the work rewarding and the atmosphere friendly and collaborative. Students with more experience in the lab have received USP fellowships or taken on research projects related to the main projects in the lab (the HHMI – Science for Life program also supports new undergraduates). Please contact me as early in your undergraduate career as you can, as space in the lab is limited.