Current Opportunities

Current Opportunities

  • We are currently recruiting a graduate student at the PhD level as part of a the newly established RIBBiTR Biology Integration Institute focused on resilience in infectious disease systems. The PhD student’s research will be a key component of the institute, developing mathematical and statistical models that integrate ecological and evolutionary data to unravel the mechanisms of resilience underlying amphibian populations’ responses to the invasion of infectious disease. Interested students should have a keen interest in developing skills for quantitative modeling in ecological systems (both statistical and mathematical) and interfacing these models with commonly-collected ecological data. If interested, please contact me at mwilber@utk.edu providing i) a brief statement of your interest and ii) your most recent CV highlighting any previous quantitative course work (e.g., calculus, statistics, population modeling, etc.)

Prospective Post-docs

I am happy to collaborate with post-doctoral researchers to develop proposals pertaining to quantitative disease ecology and wildlife health.

Prospective Graduate Students

I encourage you to read some of the lab’s work to get a sense of what we do. I expect my graduate student’s research to have some focus on quantitative aspects of disease ecology related to mathematical modeling. However, I also encourage my students to explore field work and laboratory experiments to complement, motivate, and expand their modeling approaches. While much of my previous work has focused on amphibian-parasite interactions, I am broadly interested in host-parasite dynamics and disease ecology more generally. I encourage students with research interests in theoretical and quantitative disease ecology outside of amphibian-disease systems to contact me at mwilber@utk.edu.

Prospective Undergraduate Researchers

There are current research opportunities in the lab for undergraduate researchers interested in disease dynamics in wildlife populations. Please contact me telling me a bit about your background and your interest in wildlife disease ecology.

Mentoring philosophy

As a graduate student (particularly a PhD student), you are training to become an independent scientist. At the conclusion of your PhD you should have the ability to pose, address, and answer well-defined research questions. As your mentor, my role is to provide you with the academic, professional, and financial support to achieve this goal.

Here is what I expect from graduate students in my lab

  1. I expect all of my graduate students to treat other members of the lab, department, and community with kindness, inclusivity, and collegiality
  2. I expect a solid work ethic and resilience in the face of failure and criticism. A PhD is hard work and, spoiler alter, you will “fail” and your work will be criticized. And that is OK! Failure and criticism is an important part of the scientific process and it makes our work better. I expect (and will help you toward) resilience and positivity in the face of failure.
  3. I expect independent thinking. I want to hear your ideas and I want you to build confidence sharing those ideas with the broader scientific community.
  4. I except you to take time for yourself. A PhD is hard work and requires substantial commitment. But no one does their best work with their nose to the grindstone 24-7. Take time for you, and your science will thank you for it.

Here is what graduate students in my lab can expect from me

  1. I will treat you with respect.
  2. I will treat your scientific ideas with respect. This does not mean that I will not question and critique your ideas (as I expect you to question and critique my ideas), but I will do so with collegiality and from a place of respect for you as a scientist and person.
  3. I will provide timely feedback on research, writing, talks, and other professional activities.
  4. I will meet with you at least once a week to discuss research, life, or whatever else is on your mind.
  5. I will provide you with networking opportunities and, when possible, financial support.