Join the Lab!

What’s it like in the lab? 

Our lab aims to be a highly dynamic, motivated, and collaborative group that operates under the fundamental theorem that enjoying what you are doing drives personal and group success. Our research group consists of undergraduate and graduate students, post-docs, and a PI but we are a democratic group. Each group member is expected to play an important and equal role in the lab. We have weekly lab meetings and also try to have frequent group outings outside of the walls of academia. We focus on inter-disciplinary research and expanding the scope of our research about animal behavior, physiology, and life histories. For example, in the past we have had weekly lab meetings along with Nyeema Harris and her lab group in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UM.


I am always looking for post-docs to apply to work within the lab. Sometimes I have my own funding available and I usually advertise these positions on EvolDir or ECOLOG. I am also very happy to help develop and write post-doctoral fellowship applications for NSF and NIH. There are highly competitive intramural fellowships available through the Michigan Society of Fellows. Please contact me if interested.

Ph.D. Students:

Prospective Ph.D. students should think seriously about graduate school (see a great set of resources here). It is an extremely challenging and time consuming endeavor that often rewards (unfairly) those that are willing to sacrifice their personal/family lives. At the same time, it is tremendously rewarding, allows you to pursue your interests, and can be done in a fashion that doesn’t require complete sacrifice of your family or personal life.

I am always looking for highly motivated and energetic students that are interested in basic questions that integrate animal behavior, physiology, evolution, and ecology. I am happy to have Ph.D. students pursue their own research questions while providing lots of guidance. I expect that Ph.D. students will carry out field work and combine this with laboratory analyses. I will also consider students that have excellent laboratory skills but do not have much field experience.

I am looking for new Ph.D. students to start in Fall 2018 (applications due December 1 2017). I can accept new Ph.D. students at the University of Michigan through the Department of Psychology in the Biopsychology Area.  This is a highly productive research group with unparalleled laboratory resources both within the Department and on the University of Michigan campus. There are also numerous faculty on the campus of University of Michigan in various departments and programs that you can interact with as a graduate student in my research group (e.g., faculty and their students in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Anthropology, and the School of Natural Resources). The University of Michigan is consistently ranked as one of the top research universities in the world and has excellent resources and funding for graduate students (see here). Ann Arbor is also a wonderful place to live!

I can also accept MSc. students and co-supervise Ph.D. students in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Please contact me if interested.

Applications for entry into the Ph.D. program at UM are due in December of each year. Please contact me well in advance of December if you are interested in applying to join the lab. When you write an email to me expressing interest in my lab, please describe your 1) research interests, 2) past experiences and skills, 3) reasons for why you want to join my lab, and 4) GPA and GRE scores.

Undergraduate Students:

There are often spaces available for undergraduate students to assist with our research projects or carry out their own independent project during the academic year and during the summer months. These positions may involve laboratory work, literature analyses, or other tasks.  I expect undergraduates to be highly motivated and interested in the science while at the same time treating them like a peer. Interested undergraduate students should email me directly and also see my project advert on the University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.

Field Technicians

Each year we hire 4-8 field technicians to work on the Kluane Red Squirrel Project. Successful applicants learn loads of new field and laboratory skills and get to live in the beautiful Kluane region of the Yukon. It is a rustic field site known as “Squirrel Camp”. These are 2-6 month long positions and are highly competitive. We usually advertise these positions in November/December of each year under the News page. Positions are also available through the other universities that help run the Kluane Red Squirrel Project.

The Kalahari Meerkat Project hires ~15 field technicians each year. For more information on these volunteer positions, see their website.