Interested in joining my group as an undergrad researcher?

If you are interested in joining my group as an undergrad researcher, please read this and then contact me..
The primary objective of my research is to produce new algorithms and software that can dramatically improve phylogenetic analysis (whether in linguistics or in biology), as tested in simulation or on real data. Theoretical research is often done at the same time, using probability theory to predict performance under Markov models of evolution, but then testing these predictions in simulation. Mathematical modelling is also part of the work. If you are a student who loves to design algorithms, likes the challenge of developing good heuristics for NP-hard optimization problems, loves to program, and enjoys collaborations (especially with scientists!), you may find this research area fun and rewarding. Absolutely no background in biology or linguistics is required. Research in my lab requires strong skills in algorithm design and analysis and software development. In addition, excellent interpersonal skills, oral and written communication skills, and a passion for research are also necessary. Overall, the required technical skills or coursework can be described by:

Prospective undergraduate students:

I welcome undergraduate students from computational disciplines (CS, ECE, Statistics, and Mathematics) as research assistants, and can supervise projects that include testing and developing new computational methods in phylogenomics, analysis of biological datasets using different methods, etc. If you are interested in working with me, please note that I do not take students who are in their senior year except under very unusual circumstances (e.g., when there is a record of prior work on very similar projects).

Prospective graduate students:

To join my lab, you should first take my graduate class in Algorithmic Genomic Biology. This course introduces students to computational phylogenomics, and many students do research as a course project. These research projects often result in published journal and conference papers, and thus are a great way to learn about the research area.

I work very closely with all of my graduate students. The first semester is a rotation, generally spent on a specific research project in collaboration with other students, so that the new student can find out about the research area. For those students who have not taken my graduate course, the first semester also involves doing the homework problems from the textbook. After a semester as a rotation student, the student can decide about continuing to do a PhD in my lab. Please feel free to talk with my current or former students about working with me; the list of students is available here.

Prospective postdocs

If you are interested in joining the lab as a postdoc, then you should have all the required skills and coursework for graduate students (including programming skill, discrete mathematics, probability theory, and statistics). In addition, you should have already published several peer-reviewed papers in algorithms for phylogenetics, or in very closely related research (metagenomic analysis, multiple sequence alignment, etc.). I do not hire postdocs without prior research publications in the same topics I work on. Finally, you will need to provide three letters of reference. However, before applying for a postdoctoral position, please make sure your research interests and mine are closely aligned.

To find out more:

If you are interested in being my student or postdoc, please first read a few of my recent papers. Contact me by email and let me know which of my papers you've read, what projects you'd like to work on, and what your background is (see above). You may also want to read some of the following introductory materials to this research area: