PhD Assistantship: Evolution/population genomics in malaria-transmitting mosquitos; Auburn University, Alabama

Auburn University
Auburn, Alabama
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
I am looking to fill a newly funded PhD assistantship in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University, beginning as early as Fall 2021. Research in the lab is broadly focused on conservation genetics/genomics of wildlife, and typically relies on whole genome sequencing data and bioinformatic tools. Current research the lab includes investigation of the evolution of fitness in kangaroo rats, understanding the complexities of population recovery from recent crashes in Steller sea lions, and developing methods for efficiently tracking large populations in terms of census size and movement patterns in caribou. (Please see the lab webpage for additional information about on-going work .) PhD students are given a lot of flexibility in designing their research questions. The applicant hired to fill this position will focus on the evolution of malaria-transmitting mosquitos in a collaborative project between the Willoughby lab and Dr. Sarah Zohdy. In some African mosquito populations, treating with pesticides inside family homes has resulted in behavior shifts where mosquitos now congregate and bite outside the home. However, we don’t know how this behavioral change has manifested in the genome or how these changes may ultimately alter our ability to control these populations. Critically, these mosquitos carry malaria, so control is important! Possible topics include for the PhD projects in this general research space include: quantifying genomic adaptation to common mosquito control measures, modeling of mosquito populations responses to human activities, genetic determination of how mosquitos move via water collection, and many more that could be developed collaboratively.
Auburn University is an R1 institution located in a mid-sized city in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Local attractions include farmers markets, Auburn City Fest, and the newly constructed Gouge Performing Arts Center. The nearby Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve and Tuskegee National Forest offer additional recreational opportunities year-round. Successful applicants for this assistantship will be prepared to take on a new research project that combines molecular lab work with bioinformatics and modeling and perhaps a small amount of field work. For interested students, outreach and science communication opportunities can be made available, in support of the land-grant mission of Auburn University. Graduate students in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences are provided with a competitive stipend and tuition remission. Diversity and inclusion are a high priority of this lab group; all interested applicants are encouraged to get in touch with me directly prior to applying to the graduate program. To do so, please send me an email ( with your background and interests and a copy of your CV. Although familiarity with bioinformatics and molecular techniques is desirable for this position, previous experience in this area is not required. Please do not self-select yourself out of applying as there are many ways to acquire skills that will set you up for a successful graduate experience.
Contact Person
Janna Willoughby
Contact eMail
Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.