I accept students interested in any area of evolutionary biology. While most of my students have worked on plants, a minority have worked on other organisms such as insects, fish, and pathogenic fungi. My approach to mentoring is to give students as much freedom to choose a research project as they want, while keeping in close contact with them and their progress. During a student’s first year in our lab, I typically meet weekly with him or her to discuss papers in his/her area of interest.
Because I believe the most important skill a student can develop is the ability to identify an important evolutionary question and develop a project around it, I do not assign my students research projects. I often suggest several, but most of my students end up designing their own project. While sometimes these derive from recent work done in the lab, in many cases students work on systems that our lab has not previously examined.
Our lab has an excellent track record of placing students in academic positions, as well as in government and industry (Check the Alumni section of the “People” page), as do the other Evolutionary Biology labs at Duke.
Students can join our lab through two routes: by applying for admission to either the Biology Department or the University Program in Genetics and Genomics. Both of these sites have instructions for applying to the Duke Graduate School. At any given time, I typically have students from both programs.
If you are interested in joining our lab, please contact me before you apply at firstname.lastname@example.org and describe your past research experience, what your potential reasearch interests are as a graduate student, and why you believe our lab would be a good fit for you. Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.