Graduate Position: WestvirginiaU.PlantEvolution

The Barrett Lab in the Department of Biology at West Virginia University
is seeking highly motivated Ph.D. or M.S. students for admission in Fall
2020. Our lab focuses on using genomic approaches to study systematics
and evolution of plants, as well as plant-microbial interactions.

Specifically, we are looking to recruit two graduate students to join
an NSF-funded project on the genomics of rapid adaptation in an invasive
plant species, “Consortium for Plant Invasion Genomics (CPING): Combining
Big Data and Plant Collections to Understand Invasiveness.” This is a
highly collaborative project between universities in nearly all EPSCoR
states, with focal hubs in five states (WV, LA, AL, KS, and SD). Multiple
years of support for students is available.

At WVU, we will focus on Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum),
a horrible invasive weed that threatens eastern US forests, yet presents
a fascinating opportunity to study rapid evolution of invasiveness.

Research will involve: sequencing a high-quality reference genome;
fieldwork and common garden experiments to study evolution in the invasive
range; genotyping to study the number of invasions and gene flow dynamics
across space and time using contemporary and herbarium specimens;
evidence for adaptive polymorphisms; and the role of epigenetics
(e.g. transposable elements) in invasiveness. In addition, our project
will focus on a nationwide effort in the USA to train researchers in
genomic and bioinformatic techniques.

Students with skills in field biology, genomic lab techniques, and
bioinformatics are strongly encouraged to apply. Experience with computer
scripting languages useful in bioinformatics (e.g., Python, Perl, R,
or UNIX) is preferable.

Dr. Barrett’s Google Scholar profile:

Campus resources at WVU include:
WVU Genomics Core Facility, housed in the Biology Department:
High Performance Computing:
The WVU Evansdale Greenhouse Facility:
Fernow Experimental Forest:
WVU Earl Core Arboretum:
WVU Herbarium:
Ecotron and greenhouses:

WVU and Morgantown:
*West Virginia University* is a large, diverse university with
R1 status. The *Department of Biology* has core research strengths
including plant & microbial genomics, ecology, neuroscience, and other
areas. *Morgantown* is a vibrant, diverse college town/small city,
situated in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, ~1.5 hours from
Pittsburgh, PA, and ~3 hours from Columbus, OH and Washington, D.C.

Outdoor activities abound in and around Morgantown, and throughout WV
and neighboring MD, PA, and VA.  Fishing, rafting, kayaking, hiking,
skiing, biking, etc., are within a short drive of the city limits.

*Requirements and deadlines:
While the Department of Biology has a rolling application and review
process during the academic year, to be considered for nomination for
university fellowships and scholarships, all application materials must
be submitted online no later than December 1.

Application details can be found here:

Some useful links:
WVU Biology website:
WVU Graduate Education:

Please contact me (Craig Barrett,; for questions
about out graduate program, please contact or our graduate chair,
Jennifer Hawkins (

WVU, the Department of Biology, and the Barrett Lab are committed to
diversity: women, members of minorities, first-generation college
students, students with disabilities, and veterans are strongly
encouraged to apply. For more on diversity at WVU, please visit: