Information For Prospective Students and Post-Docs

Prospective graduate students (MS or PhD) and post-docs with an interest in evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), comparative and developmental morphology, and/or the sensory biology of fishes (specifically the lateral line system) are encouraged to contact Dr. Webb.

Opportunities for MS and PhD Students

— Seeking Graduate Students for September 2018 —

Dr. Webb is a faculty member in the Evolution and Marine Biology specialization (EMB; formerly IEB, Integrative and Evolutionary Biology) within the Biological and Environmental Sciences (BES) graduate program in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences. She is also a member of the faculty of the Interdisciplinary Neurosciences Program (INP).

If you are interested in positions in the Webb lab, please send a cover letter, CV, and a writing sample (or pdf’s of publications) to Dr. Webb. Webb Lab students are trained in all lab methods, ethical research practices, and animal care. Students are required to work independently, but also to participate in collaborative research efforts, and to supervise the work of undergraduates. All graduate students are expected to present the results of their work at national or international conferences and to publish their MS and PhD work in peer-reviewed journals.

Graduate student projects may involve, for instance, 1) comparative morphology and development of the lateral line system, 2) patterns and mechanisms of development in larval fishes, 3) modularity and integration of the lateral line system within the dematocranium, or 4) evolution of lateral line scale meristics. Projects dealing with the auditory, electrosensory, and/or chemosensory systems may also be developed depending on students’ experience and interests, collaborations with other labs, and grant funding priorities and opportunities.

Prospective graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (October deadline each year; www.nsfgrfp.org) and other nationally competitive graduate fellowships. Support through URI is available for qualified MS and Ph.D. students in the form of Teaching Assistantships (9-month stipend and tuition remission), URI Graduate Fellowships, or support on research grants. Limited research funds are also available from the Department of Biological Sciences and the College of the Environment and Life Sciences; research support from the URI Graduate School and Provost’s Office are available on a competitive basis.

Opportunities for Post-Docs

Dr. Webb is always looking for talented post-docs with interests and experience in comparative anatomy, developmental biology, and/or sensory neuroethology of fishes to work on projects of mutual interest. The PhD degree must be completed (dissertation defended, with documentation) by the start date. Potential post-docs are encouraged to seek their own funding, but when available, grant funding may also provide post-doc support.

Post-Docs interested in applying for the NSF Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Biology (Deadline in early November each year; http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15501/nsf15501.htm), who are members of underrepresented groups and/or have an interest in using biological collections (e.g., museum collections) for the study of the comparative and/or developmental morphology,  of fish sensory systems in particular, are strongly encouraged to contact me.  From the NSF website – “……..transformative approaches that use biological collections in highly innovative ways to address grand challenges in biology. Priority may be given to applicants who integrate biological collections and associated resources with other types of data in an effort to forge new insight into areas traditionally funded by BIO. Examples of key questions in biology of interest include…….links between genotype and phenotype, evolutionary developmental biology, comparative approaches in functional and developmental neurobiology……. Using collections as a resource for grand challenge questions in biology is expected to present new opportunities to advance understanding of biological processes and systems, inspiring new discoveries in areas with relevance to other disciplines with overlapping interests in biological systems…”

Opportunities for Undergraduate Research

We welcome undergraduates who would like to carry out an independent research project, assist with animal husbandry, or assist graduate students or post-docs with a research project. Co-authorship on conference presentations and/or publications is possible, depending on the degree of involvement in a project. Undergraduates need to commit to working for one summer (full-time or part-time), or for at least one semester (approx. 4-10 hours/week, depending on the student and the project), to receive training and carry out a meaningful research project.  Students may earn credit for independent research (BIO 491/492) or be paid as research assistants with Work-Study (federal financial aid), student employment funds, or grant funds. In addition, the URI Coastal Fellows Program and NSF Rhode Island EPSCoR provides stipends for undergraduate research during the summer.

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