I am actively looking for talented scientists to join our research group. The laboratory is focused on trying to understand the molecular basis of organ regeneration and I seek creative minds to tackle this problem in innovative ways. The lab provides access to a diverse array of animal regeneration models and uses both in vivo and in vitro techniques to address how certain animals are capable of naturally regenerating damaged tissue.
Complementing our laboratory, The Department of Biology hosts a strong group of research labs focused on regenerative and stem cell biology using a diverse array of animal models (e.g., spiny mice, salamanders, planarians, lampreys, zebrafish) and in vitro systems. These labs afford fantastic collaborative opportunities for postdocs and graduate students and include the following groups: Drs. Beth Duncan, Ann Morris and Jeramiah Smith. Beyond our department the University of Kentucky maintains a strong research focus on regeneration biology and regenerative medicine. The College of Medicine houses the Ambystoma Genetic Stock Center (http://www.ambystoma.org/genetic-stock-center) which serves the research community as a source for Mexican axolotls and associated bioinformatics resources. The Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (http://www.mc.uky.edu/scobirc/mission/missionstatement.html) is located nearby and serves to connect basic science research in regeneration biology to clinical applications for regenerative medicine. This dynamic research environment provides a rich source for collaborative projects and shared resources.
I accept postdoctoral researchers who have obtained their own funding to work on independent projects or to work more directly on grant-funded projects that are ongoing in the lab. Postdocs are strongly encouraged to apply for their own funding before joining the lab and encouraged to contact me about available options. Prospective postdoctoral scientists should send me an e-mail (email@example.com) and attach: (1) a synopsis of their current research interests and how these compliment my ongoing research program and (2) a current CV with names of three references.
Prospective Graduate students: (considering PhD applications for fall 2019)
The purpose of the following information is to help you decide whether my lab will be an appropriate match for your research interests and career goals. If you are still interested in joining the lab after reading through this information, please send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) introducing yourself and attach (1) a CV with names of three references and (2) a written statement (1-2 pages) that summarizes your current research interests/ideas, your idealized goal after completing a graduate degree, and why you want to work with me. If you intend on applying as a graduate student for the fall term please try to contact me 3-4 months before applications are due.
Research in the lab falls under the broad banner of regeneration and developmental biology with a strong bias towards questions focused on understanding mechanisms that regulate tissue regeneration. The lab employs an array of different animal models to explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling how an organ or tissue replaces itself in form and function. In parallel with regeneration, we also try to understand how these regenerating organs develop during embryogenesis. Research in the lab is inherently experimental, although we do conduct descriptive studies at the cellular or tissue level in order to form a strong anatomical understanding for our experimental work. That being said, you must be comfortable working with, and conducting experiments on animals. If this general research description overlaps with your search image, please take the time to familiarize yourself with ongoing projects in the lab as well as our publications.
Graduate school is a means to an end. Medical students go to medical school to become doctors, law students to law school to become lawyers and biology students to graduate school to become scientists. Graduate school will help you develop the necessary skills towards becoming a successful scientist. These include, learning and implementing the scientific method and experimental design, field-specific techniques, critical reading skills, scientific and grant writing, teaching, mentoring and public orating. Ultimately, graduate school provides the context to develop one’s scientific independence. Luckily, your advisor and academic mentors will help guide you in this endeavor. That being said, success in graduate school requires a combination of certain traits that you simply must possess: independence, a tireless work ethic, the ability to persevere in the face of failure, collegiality, personal motivation, inquisitiveness, creativity, and the ability to have fun. Perhaps more than anything else, I expect maturity from my students. While I prefer incoming students to have obtained their MSc degree, it is not a necessity and in lieu of this degree you should be able to demonstrate an ability to have seen a project through from start to finish.
Given all the expectations placed on graduate students, committed mentorship can make or break the PhD experience. Although mentorship comes from many people, a committed PhD advisor is vital to success beyond graduate school. I take the role of graduate advisor very seriously and acceptance into the lab is an implicit contract between you and I. Having outlined above what I expect from my students, here is what you can expect from me. First, you can expect a realistic amount of my time. As a mentor and advisor my role is to help you become an independent research scientist. This means that at the beginning of graduate school I will take a more hands on approach in the lab, helping to train you in our laboratory techniques and experimental design. Ideally, each student will carry out a small project that should provide enough data in their first year to attend a scientific meeting with the lab. As students design their dissertation project, my emphasis will transition to training in scientific and grant writing as they gain research independence. You can expect that I will do my best to fund your research, and in conjunction with outside travel funding, help defray costs to one scientific meeting per year (with or without the lab). Lastly, in addition to my guidance, I strongly encourage my students to utilize other mentors and when appropriate, seek training in short courses and in other laboratories.
Prospective undergraduate Researchers:
My laboratory welcomes undergraduate students interested in gaining research experience while at the University of Kentucky. Preference is given to students with a strong work ethic, ability to commit at least 10 hours per week to research-related activities, and a willingness to make a 4+ semester commitment to the lab. Interested students should contact me by e-mail (email@example.com), provide a short description of why they want to conduct research in the lab and provide a current resume or CV.