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Working in the Schwartz Lab

We are committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive research group. We value persons of every race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and cultural background.

I encourage any students considering joining my lab group to reach out to my current (and previous students) to gain perspective on graduate school and working in the Schwartz lab group to see if this is a good fit for you.

 About the Auburn University Graduate Program in Biology
   Download a Brochure about the biology graduate program


 

Opportunities

Postdoctoral Position in Stress Physiology and Genomics at Auburn University

 

The Wada and Schwartz Labs at Auburn University invites applications for an enthusiastic, creative postdoctoral scientist to join a growing research team on an NSF-funded project to test the damage-fitness model in zebra finches. Organisms can increase stress resilience when conditioned to a mild stressor during development, where as severe stress can decrease survival and reproduction. This context dependency makes it difficult to predict how a shift in an environment will affect an  individual and ultimately the success of a population. We currently lack predictive models and reliable biomarkers of stress resistance and resilience. The goal of this project is integrate molecular measures of cellular damage, protection and repair, and epigenetics using zebra finches with path analysis and Damage-Healing Mechanics from material engineering. Through this integration, we will develop mechanistic and predictive mathematical models, linking developmental and adult environments, epigenetic modifications, stress-induced molecular and cellular damage, and fitness indices.  

Required criteria:

  • Candidate must have a track record of addressing scientific problems in an innovative, thoughtful, and systematic manner

  • Candidate must possess excellent written and interpersonal communication skills

  • Candidates must have a strong publication record in one of the areas described below

  • Candidate must have a PhD at time of employment

  • Candidate must meet eligibility requirements to work in the United States at the time appointment is to begin and continue working legally for the proposed term of the appointment.

 

The ideal candidate would have a strong background in one or more of these areas of research: physiology; measuring molecular biomarkers of cellular stress or damage and repair; molecular techniques for DNA, RNA, epigenetics; next generation sequencing and bioinformatic analyses; and working with birds. Whatever your background, you must have a strong interest in stress physiology.

The ideal candidate will aim to make a major contribution to our ongoing research programs and develop and carry out their own line of research within the group’s areas of interest and expertise.  Selected applicants will also benefit from funds to travel to national meetings annually, opportunities for mentoring and career development. Additional lab funds for independent projects are available upon written proposal submission. The postdoc will be co-mentored by Drs. Wada and Schwartz and expected to produce first authored papers, contribute to co-authored papers, and assist training graduate students. Persons from groups typically under-represented in science are strongly encouraged to apply. Our research groups are family-friendly and value diversity to create an inclusive and equitable environment.

For more information about the labs see:

Wada Lab: https://www.wadalaboratory.com/

Schwartz Lab: http://www.schwartzlab-ecoevolutionarygenomics.org/

 

The Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn University is a highly collaborative and friendly place to work http://www.auburn.edu/cosam/departments/biology/. In combination with efforts in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, we have strong support and mentoring for our postdocs and are committed to improving diversity and inclusivity within our Department and College. Auburn University runs several high-performance computing clusters (https://hpc.auburn.edu/hpc/index.php ) and we also have access to use the Alabama Supercomputer (https://www.asc.edu/).  Auburn University is a land-grant institution and is an EEO/Vet/Disability Employer.

 

This is a full-time, twelve-month, non-tenure track position beginning mid-to-late 2022, for a term of one year with additional years possible depending on performance.

 

Applicants should email the following to Haruka Wada (hzw0024@auburn.edu) and Tonia Schwartz (tss0019@auburn.edu) with header: Stress Physiology Postdoc. Review of applications will begin in December until position is filled.  

  1. Cover Letter,

  2. CV with names and contact information of three references, and

  3. statement of research interests including a description of how they fit in the focus of the Wada and Schwartz lab groups. Please use header: Stress Physiology Postdoc

 

PhD Student Position in Stress Physiology and Genomics at Auburn University

 

We are accepting applications for an enthusiastic, creative PhD student to join a growing research team on an NSF-funded project to test the damage-fitness model in zebra finches. Organisms can increase stress resilience when conditioned to a mild stressor during development, where as severe stress can decrease survival and reproduction. This context dependency makes it difficult to predict how a shift in an environment will affect an  individual and ultimately the success of a population. We currently lack predictive models and reliable biomarkers of stress resistance and resilience. The goal of this project is integrate molecular measures of cellular damage, protection and repair, and epigenetics using zebra finches with path analysis and Damage-Healing Mechanics from material engineering. Through this integration, we will develop mechanistic and predictive mathematical models, linking developmental and adult environments, epigenetic modifications, stress-induced molecular and cellular damage, and fitness indices.  

 

The selected applicant will be co-advised by Drs. Schwartz and Wada, work closely with other graduate students in both lab groups on the NSF funded Stress Damage-Fitness project and related projects, focusing on the molecular components of the project (i.e., telomere analyses, gene expression, epigenetics, etc). Our research groups are family-friendly and value diversity to create an inclusive and equitable environment, please read more about them here:

Schwartz Lab: http://www.schwartzlab-ecoevolutionarygenomics.org/

Wada Lab: https://www.wadalaboratory.com/

 

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated evidence of strong writing skills, interpersonal communication skills, and ability to work well with a diverse team as well as independently. The ideal candidate would have a previous research experience (undergraduate research or MS degree) in one of these areas of research: physiology; measuring molecular biomarkers of cellular stress or damage and repair; molecular techniques for DNA, RNA, epigenetics; next generation sequencing bioinformatic analyses; and/or working with birds. Whatever your background, you must have a strong interest in stress physiology. Additionally, the candidate must meet the requirements for acceptance into our graduate program.

Auburn Graduate School: http://graduate.auburn.edu/prospective-students/

Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Program:

 https://www.auburn.edu/cosam/departments/biology/grad/index.htm

 

We strive for our research team members to be passionate about science and working with us to create a diverse, equitable, and supportive research environment. The Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn University is a highly collaborative and friendly place to work. In combination with efforts in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, we have strong support and mentoring for our graduate students and are committed to improving diversity and inclusivity within our Department and College.

 

The position is expected to start Fall 2022. The selected applicant will benefit from two years of Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) and up to 10 semesters of guaranteed Graduate Teaching Assistantship that provides a stipend and covers tuition, funds for travel to national meetings annually, and opportunities for career development. We intend to conduct informal zoom interviews in late November; from there we will invite selected students to attend the formal prospective graduate student interviews through the Department of Biological Sciences (early January) and to apply for admission through our Graduate Program.

 

Interested candidates can send the following to Dr. Tonia Schwartz (tss0019@auburn.edu) with header: Stress Physiology PhD Student:

  • CV including a list of three references.

  • A letter of interest that describes: (1) your general research interests, (2) demonstrated evidence of your research experiences and skills including writing and statistical analyses, (3) why you want to go to graduate school, (4) and why you think you would be a good fit in for the project and my research team.

 

PhD Student Position in Functional Genomics at Auburn University

 

The Tonia Schwartz Lab at Auburn University invites applications for an enthusiastic, creative PhD student to join our research team. The successful candidate will integrate into one or more ongoing projects using large scale genomic data (transcriptomic, epigenomic, whole genome sequencing) from animal populations to develop and address questions related to functional genomics of environmental stress, adaptation and life history, evolution of populations, and/or conservation genomics.

Some on-going projects include:

  • Conservation and functional genomics in island reptiles

  • Epigenomics, transcriptomics, and genomics of stress in lizards, zebra finch, and daphnia

  • Evolution and function of the Insulin-like Signaling network in reptiles

 

See more here, Schwartz Lab: http://www.schwartzlab-ecoevolutionarygenomics.org/

 

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated evidence of strong writing skills, interpersonal communication skills, and ability to work well with a diverse team as well as independently. The ideal candidate would have a previous research experience (undergraduate research or MS degree) in one or more of these areas of research: molecular techniques for DNA, RNA, epigenetics, cell culture; next generation sequencing analysis; bioinformatics. Whatever your background, you must have a strong interest in evolutionary and functional genomics and bioinformatics. Additionally, the candidate must meet the requirements for acceptance into our graduate program.

Auburn Graduate School: http://graduate.auburn.edu/prospective-students/

Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Program:

 https://www.auburn.edu/cosam/departments/biology/grad/index.htm

 

The selected applicant would work closely with other graduate students and postdocs in the lab group and with collaborators. Our research group is family-friendly and value diversity. We strive for our research team members to be passionate about science and be willing to working with us to create a diverse, equitable, and supportive research environment. The Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn University is a highly collaborative and friendly place to work. In combination with efforts in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, we have strong support and mentoring for our graduate students and are committed to improving diversity and inclusivity within our Department and College.

 

The position is expected to start Fall 2022. The selected applicant will benefit from 10 semesters of guaranteed Graduate Teaching Assistantship that provides a stipend and covers tuition, funds for travel to national meetings, and opportunities for career development. I intend to conduct informal zoom interviews in late November; from there I will invite selected students to attend the formal prospective graduate student interviews through the Department of Biological Sciences (early January) and to apply for admission through our Graduate Program.

 

Interested candidates can send the following to Dr. Tonia Schwartz (tss0019@auburn.edu) with header: Genomics PhD Student:

  • CV including a list of three references.

  • A letter of interest that describes: (1) your general research interests, (2) demonstrated evidence of your research experiences and skills including writing and statistical analyses, (3) why you want to go to graduate school, (4) and why you think you would be a good fit in for the project and my research team.

 

Undergraduate Research  in Dr. Tonia Schwartz’s Laboratory of

Functional Genomics

​Undergraduate research is a valuable experience for students that allow them to use and apply the knowledge they are learning in their classes, gain experience and marketable skills, and learn to be a professional scientist. We encourage students to get involved in research as soon as possible. We love having undergraduates in the lab and help us with research! But, it is important to realize that it takes time and energy to train new people in the lab and determine if we can trust them with our experiments and data collection. As such, we typically take on students that intend to be involved in research for multiple semesters. Often times students are in the lab for 2-3 years.

 

Options for Involvement

1. Volunteer

2. Research Credit: BIOL4980 Independent Research

3. Undergraduate Research Fellowships

4. Research technician paid from a grant

We have many options for undergraduate students to be becoming involved in the Schwartz Lab. Typically they start off volunteering and working with a graduate student on their project so we can "test each other out".  Once they have some experience and understanding of the on-going projects and determine if research is for them, then they typically transition to more independent research project related to a larger project in the lab through Research Credit, a Research Fellowship (paid) or as a paid research technician. 

Research Credit: BIOL4980

This is a great option for juniors and seniors that have already been working in the lab and have a idea of what type of project they would like to do. We design an independent research project around your interest in the context of projects on-going in my lab. 

Expectations for Research Credit: conduct independent research, write a scientific paper, give a presentation, attend lab meetings

  • Approximate hours of work per week: 

    • 5 hours per week for 2 credits,

    • 7 hours per week for 3 credits,

    • 9 hours per week for 4 credits.

 

  • Syllabus is here

Research Fellowships (Paid) and Independent Research Projects

If you are interested in doing a longer term research project with more independence, I encourage you to look into a Paid fellowship for a year, or a summer. 

   Auburn University, Undergraduate Research Fellowships: http://www.auburn.edu/undgres/fellowship.php

Research Technician (Paid)

If we have a research grant that includes funds to higher undergraduate researchers, we will hire students (typically those that have already proven themselves in the lab) to conduct research with us for 10-20 hours per week.

 

To apply to work with us.

Please send me the following so I can assess whether you are a good fit for the lab.

1.  An CV or resume detailing your past work and research experiences.

2.  A cover page (2-3 paragraphs) explaining:  

  • why you are interested in doing research, and why you think your interest fit with my laboratory.

  • the type of project you would like to work on (see the Research link).

  • the type of skills you would like to obtain: bioinformatics, molecular lab bench skills (working with DNA/RNA), organismal (working with mice, reptiles, Daphnia), writing & synthesizing literature, etc.)