The Wilkins lab is interested in understanding how plants process environmental information using gene regulatory networks. We use a variety of functional genomics assays (bulk tissue and single cell) and computational approaches to probe these questions. We apply RNA-sequencing, open chromatin mapping, and proteomic assays to study how individual cells, tissues, organs, and whole plants respond to climate change associated stressors like high temperatures and drought.
The graduate projects will focus on characterizing spatial and temporal patterns of regulated gene expression in rice, canola, or soybean and may include some field-based experiments. Within this research topic, students will be encouraged to develop their own lines of inquiry through discussion with Dr. Wilkins and other laboratory team members.
The lab is a collaborative environment, where students work closely with each other and with researchers from other academic labs and with industry partners. Students will receive hands on training in functional genomics assays, tissue culture, plant physiology, and computational biology. They will also receive training on planning and organizing scientific research, scientific writing and communication, and critical thinking. These skills are essential preparation for careers in scholarship, government, industry, publishing, and beyond.
Candidates must be self-motivated, details oriented, and be able to work independently and as a member of a team. They must have excellent spoken and written communications skills in English. They should have practical skills in molecular biology, biochemistry or a related discipline and some computational biology skills. Experience working with plants will also be an asset.
Interested candidates should contact Dr. Wilkins directly with a CV, a letter of interest (1 page), and the contact information for two referees. The letter of interest should address three questions: 1) what big biological questions are most interesting to you; 2) why would you like to come to the Wilkins lab specifically; and, 3) what do you hope to get out of your postgraduate training?
For details on how to apply to the Biological Sciences Graduate Programs and on university admission requirements, please click here. For program funding information, please click here. All students will be encouraged and actively supported by Dr. Wilkins to apply for scholarships and awards.
Deadline February 1st for May start; June 1st for September start
Deadline March 1st for September start