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Ph.D. Assistantship in Plant-Associated Microbial Communities

The Bittleston Lab is recruiting motivated students for Fall 2020 to study ecological and evolutionary dynamics of plant- and insect-associated microbial communities. Potential Ph.D. projects can be based in either the small ecosystems formed within pitchers of carnivorous pitcher plants, or the local sagebrush steppe ecosystem. The Ph.D. student will work as part of a collaborative team of researchers across different universities. The student will participate in fieldwork and lab work—including culturing of bacteria or fungi and molecular assays—as well as data analysis, writing, and presenting results.


Competitive students will have 1) a Master’s degree in Biology, Ecology, Microbiology or a related field; 2) evidence of strong writing (e.g., grant proposals, publications) and quantitative skills (e.g., bioinformatics, coding, modeling); 3) experience with molecular assays and/or microbial culturing; and 4) an interest in understanding mechanisms of community assembly or the ecology and evolution of plant-microbial interactions. Please address these points in your introductory email and in your cover letter. The position starts Fall (August) 2020.

Stipend and Benefits

This position includes support in the form of a graduate assistantship (renewable, 12-month at $25,000), tuition and fee waiver, and health insurance.

To Apply

Applicants should email Leonora Bittleston ( before December 20th to indicate their interest in this position before officially applying. The email should include your CV, your GRE scores, and why you are interested in this research area in particular.