The research and graduate training group in Sensory Biology, Behavior and Evolution (SBBE – seehttp://www.artsci.uc.edu/departments/biology/research/Sbbe.html) focuses on research at the intersection of neurobiology, behavior, and evolution directed at how organisms sense and respond to their environment at functional and evolutionary levels. Within this group the following labs are planning to accept new students for Fall 2018: Buschbeck, Guerra, Layne, Matter, Morehouse, Polak, Rollmann snd Uetz. Please see below for specific position descriptions.
PhD positions in Sensory System Evolution / Vision Science
From ancient genes to focused eyes: The Buschbeck laboratory uses exciting new tools to probe fundamental and crucial questions of visual system evolution, function and development in invertebrate models. How do deeply conserved genes and gene networks contribute to the development of extraordinary image-forming eyes? One research project utilizes RNAi knockdown and focuses on when, where and what known eye development genes are expressed during the development of highly unusual beetle larval eyes, with complementary experiments in the genetically powerful Drosophila system. Another research direction utilizes a newly developed, unique micro-ophthalmoscope to perform vision tests on the smallest of all eyes. The goal of that project is to investigate how invertebrates coordinate the optical power of the lens and underlying photoreceptors. Do invertebrates, like vertebrates, need visual input to develop and maintain correctly focused eyes? This important question is especially interesting in the light of rapid and dramatic eye growth that often takes place when animals molt. More details on our NSF sponsored research, additional projects, the lab’s research community and mentoring are available at:http://www.buschbecklab.com. Students interested in joining the laboratory should contact Elke Buschbeck as soon as possible at email@example.com. Please include a brief description of research interests as well as you CV.
The Morehouse Lab at the University of Cincinnati is seeking highly motivated PhD students to join our vibrant research team. Current research foci in the lab include the co-evolution of color vision and color signaling in jumping spiders (https://goo.gl/cyueWW), the influence of female gaze on the evolution of complex courtship displays (also in jumping spiders), and co-evolution between male and female reproductive proteins in butterflies (https://goo.gl/2hg44e). I am particularly motivated to recruit students interested in this latter research topic, given the current balance of interests and expertise in the lab, but am also open to applications from students more attracted to our research on jumping spiders.
In addition to these new research initiatives, we have a number of other research projects that could provide opportunities for incoming students. I am currently adding more information about these on the lab website: www.morehouselab.com.
Students interested in joining the lab should contact me as soon as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss their interests and fit for the lab. Please include a brief statement of your research interests, how they connect with our current research, and your CV, academic transcripts, and GRE scores if available. Research support in the form of a one-year research assistantship is available for highly qualified applicants.
PhD positions in Sensory Ecology and Evolution / Chemosensation / Olfaction
The Rollmann lab research program focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying behavior and chemosensation in insects. PhD positions in the lab would focus on studying odorant receptor gene function to further understand the role of the peripheral nervous system in insect host plant preference. For example, we examine the evolution of the olfactory system of Drosophila mojavensis, a desert-adapted fly that feeds and breeds on different cacti across its range, as a model of incipient speciation. We use an interdisciplinary approach, examining variation in morphology, molecular genetics, electrophysiology, and olfactory behavior within and among populations in response to changes in environment. We also examine the evolution of olfactory behavior across insect species to understand the mechanisms underlying host specialization. Students interested in joining the lab should contact Dr. Stephanie Rollmann to discuss their interests at email@example.com. More information about the lab can be found at our university biology website. Please include a brief statement of your research interests, how they connect with our research, and your CV.
PhD positions in Animal Navigation / Vision Science
The Layne Lab has two broad foci. One is the study of vision, measuring the spatial, temporal and spectral (color) performance of eyes, and placing our findings into an ecological context. This work combines behavioral and electrophysiological methods. Currently we are using modified LCDs and custom software to study color vision, testing whether North American fiddler crabs have true trichromatic color vision (they have three opsin genes, so this is possible). We are also performing intracellular recordings of photoreceptor cells in response to monochromatic light pulses. The lab’s second focus is spatial navigation, especially animal homing behavior using path integration. Currently we are studying how animals use path integration in 3 dimensions, and how the sense of direction interacts with eye position and movement. For both of these foci we rely heavily on computational methods – graduate students will gain extensive experience in Matlab programming. Students interested in joining the laboratory should contact John Layne firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include a brief description of research interests as well as your CV.
The University of Cincinnati is emerging as an international center of excellence in sensory ecology. With a strong and growing faculty concentration in Sensory Biology, Behavior, and Evolution (http://www.artsci.uc.edu/departments/biology/research/Sbbe.html), UC provides a vibrant intellectual environment for research and training. Matching research strengths in sensing and sensor technologies in UC’s nationally- renowned College of Engineering offer a number of cross-disciplinary training opportunities as well as through a regional consortium of sensory biologists, including researchers at Purdue and Case Western.
The department offers competitive support packages for qualified students. The University of Cincinnati and the Department of Biological Sciences have a strong commitment to diversity in science and graduate education. Students from underrepresented ethnic or racial minorities will be considered for the new Provost Graduate Fellowship, and the Yates Fellowship.