The Hickerson lab at the City University of New York (CUNY) has an opening for a PhD student who is interested in developing models that link biogeographic history, community ecology and comparative population genomics. Our group is focusing on developing and implementing methods for understanding the evolutionary and demographic histories of species assemblages and ecosystems given environmental, spatial and aggregate population genomic data. The statistical models we develop are broadly applicable to a variety of regions and members of our group have worked with a diverse set of taxa and ecosystems.
The ideal candidate will have a strong interest and aptitude in quantitative biology, modeling, and programming as well as an interest in evolutionary genetics and biogeography. The lab welcomes qualified applicants with diverse backgrounds, including biology, anthropology, mathematics, physics, computer science, and related fields.
To offset teaching requirements, the PhD candidate will be supported by two five-year grants funded by NSF and NASA (1. DEB-1253710 – CAREER: Dynamic models of isolation and admixture for community-scale population genomic inference & 2. DEB-1343578 – Dimensions US-BIOTA-Sao Paulo: A multidisciplinary framework for biodiversity prediction in the Brazilian Atlantic forest hotspot).
Our lab is located in Manhattan and locally we have tight collaborations with the lab groups of Ana Carnaval (CUNY), Kyle McDonald (CUNY), Frank Burbrink (AMNH), and Brian Smith (AMNH), as well as international collaborations with Konrad Lohse (U. of Edinburgh, UK), Graham Stone (U. of Edinburgh, UK) and Brent Emerson (Canary Islands, Spain). CUNY has a large and thriving community of faculty, students, and post-docs studying ecology, evolution, and behavior and we benefit from the academic environment in New York City that allows us to have close ties to the AMNH, the New York Botanical Gardens as well as other local universities, including Columbia, Fordham, Rockefeller, NYU and Stony Brook.
The positions would start in the Fall of 2017. Contact mhickerson ‘at’ ccny cuny.edu if there is interest. Note that applications for Fall 2017 to the CUNY EEB subprogram must be received before January 1rst of 2017.
The Hicker-lab is now dually equipped for both ‘wet’ and “dry’ research activities thanks to a newly refurbished and expanded Molecular Ecology and Computational biology lab. Students working in simulation-based evolutionary modeling of any sort can also take advantage of CUNY’s NSF-funded High Performance Computing Center.
New PhD students will be free to explore a wide range of topics yet may be interested in exploring some of our new directions:
1. collecting and analyzing next-Gen data from multiple co-distributed non-model species in order to explore how ecology, climate change and natural selection drive evolutionary change in multi-species assemblages;
2. developing and deploying complex multi-taxa population genomic models that can incorporate cyclical climate shifts and realistic patterns of recurring isolation and admixture across co-distributed taxa.
The CUNY graduate center runs the PhD program in Biology, and I am a member of the doctoral faculty for the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior subprogram(EEB). To earn a PhD with me, you apply and enroll through the CUNY graduate center. My students tend to be free agents and take advantage of courses and personnel at several local Universities including NYU, Columbia, Stony Brook, and the American Museum of Natural History.
The CUNY PhD sub-program in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior brings together a strong phylogenetics/phylogeography group spread across several CUNY campuses and the AMNH, and last year 4 CUNY PhD students obtained NSF DDIG or pre-doctoral fellowships. There are a fair number of Evolution and Ecology groups in the larger NYC area (i.e. Rutgers, Columbia, NYU, AMNH, New York Botanical Garden, Yale, Fordham and Stony Brook) and these along with the CUNY Graduate Center’s new Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences all make one’s calendar full of interesting seminars and workshops. While graduate coursework is done at the CUNY Graduate Center in midtown Manhattan, the lab is at City College on 137th St. The NYC subways run all day and night and students can live in any number of interesting neighborhoods (current and past students have lived in Astoria, Greenpoint, the East Village, Park Slope, and Jackson Heights). Although NYC is chock full of intellectual, artistic, musical, and political activities as well as being the “city that never sleeps”, urban farms abound and students can easily access a good range of habitats near (including the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the Catskills/Adirondacks and the Atlantic Ocean) and far (JFK and Newark airports have direct flights to many locales). The Ferry system also allows easy access to midtown and downtown from several Brooklyn locations.
Interested students should email well before the January 1 application deadline. Potential students must first be accepted to the competitive CUNY Graduate Center Evolution, Ecology and Behavior subprogram. Prospective students should apply HERE