There are multiple ways to join our group as a student or a postdoc:
Postdoctoral fellows: We do not have funding to hire any new postdocs at this time. Candidates who have their own funding are of course welcome to contact us to discuss opportunities for collaboration. Another possibility is the YIBS program at Yale, which provides funding for highly accomplished postdocs in environmental sciences for up to two years. Interested prospective candidates are encouraged to email Alvaro.
Graduate students: Our lab welcomes inquiries from prospective graduate students with a strong interest in quantitative microbial ecology and evolution. Our lab combines theory and (mostly laboratory / in vitro) experiments, and ideally all of the students who get training in the lab will combine both approaches to some degree. The main research goal of our lab is to understand how microbe-microbe interactions (often mediated by secreted public goods molecules) determine the properties of microbial ecosystems; how these interactions evolve, and how evolutionary changes in microbial behavior affect these interactions. We are also generally interested in the evolution and properties of complex biological systems.
The structure of the EEB graduate program at Yale makes it possible for students to develop their own research project. Indeed, all graduate students joining our group will be expected to design their own project, with extensive assistance from the more senior members of the group. We want our students to learn not only how to solve already existing questions and carry out research, but to learn how to ask exciting new questions in microbial ecology and evolution, design the experiments and models that will allow them to answer these questions, and in summary, become independent scientists by the time they graduate. Our lab's culture is very similar to that described in this very nice essay by Florian Markowetz
Over the past few years as a Rowland Institute, our lab has developed a series of tools that can be taken advantage of by our future graduate students. For instance, we have hundreds of stable, complex (up to dozens of species) bacterial communities that have self-assembled under controlled conditions and defined media. We have also mapped in great detail the functional and ecological interactions in a series of small, defined microbial consortia, growing on starch (which is degraded by secreted enzymes) as the only carbon source. We have formulated mathematical models, grounded on the theory of biochemical kinetics, that are able to predict the function of communities formed with an array of different bacterial species. All of these resources can be used as a jumping board to investigate all kinds of questions in microbial community ecology. We will work with our students to help them define an exciting thesis project that can take advantage of these and other tools and areas of expertise in our lab.
Students interested in joining our group should apply to the EEB graduate program at Yale. The application deadline to start in the fall of 2017 has passed. A new deadline will be on or around December 15 2017 for the class of 2018.
If you are interested, you are strongly encouraged to contact Alvaro before you apply.
Undergraduate students: I anticipate having multiple openings for Yale College undergraduates who are interested in pursuing a research project with us. Our lab will move to Yale in July, and we will have openings starting in September of 2016.