Joining the Lab

Prospective Graduate Students

The Altizer Lab typically accepts 1-2 new graduate students roughly every other year. Students generally work on projects related to the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions, and prospective students are especially encouraged to consider parasite interactions with butterflies or other insects. If you are interested in applying, send an email to Sonia Altizer with a letter explaining (1) your academic background, (2) past research experiences and (3) future goals for graduate research projects and why specifically you are interested in ecology/UGA/Altizer's lab group. Please attach your current CV or resume to your email. (The more relevant and detailed information you provide, the greater the likelihood of a timely response.) You are also encouraged to contact other graduate students or postdocs in the lab to ask them about the lab and life in Athens. Other faculty in Ecology at UGA who have similar research interests (and who you may wish to contact) include: Dr. Vanessa Ezenwa, Dr. Nicole Gottdenker, Dr. Sonia Hernandez, Dr. Jeb Byers, Dr. John Drake, Dr. Andrew Park, and Dr. John Gittleman. Students are encouraged to visit the University of Georgia's Odum School of Ecology webpage for more information on graduate programs, deadlines and the application process.

Prospective Postdoctoral Researchers

We do not currently have grant funding for postdoctoral research associates. However, prospective postdocs are encouraged to apply for extramural funding and fellowship awards. Potential funding sources include: NSF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Biology, NIH Kirschtein Postdoctoral Fellowships, and Smith Fellowships in Conservation Biology. Please contact Dr. Altizer at least 4 mos in advance of deadlines to discuss potential applications and project ideas.

Prospective Undergraduate Students

We work with several undergraduate students each semester or summer who are interested in research projects related to insect ecology and evolution, or the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases in natural populations. If you are interested in research opportunities, please write to Dr. Altizer to inquire about future openings. Students in the lab can receive research credits or hourly pay, depending on funding availability. Student who are interested in developing honors thesis projects are especially encouraged to apply.

Time commitment

One factor to consider is that you must budget enough time to complete your project. For research projects for semester-long credit, hours and data collection depend on the project and number of research credits. For a 4-credit research project, I expect that you will work an average of 12 hours per week during the regular academic semester. Students working for hourly pay are expected to commit a minimum of 10 hours per week during the academic term.

The following is a partial list of projects completed by undergraduates working in the Altizer lab:

Kaela Caballero - Temperate effects on innate immune defense in monarch butterfly larvae (2013)

Malavika Rajeev* - Effects of parasite infection on mating behavior in monarch butterflies (2010)

Jean Chi* - Tradeoffs between flight performance and immune defense in monarch butterflies (2009)

Natalie Kolleda - Tracking continent-wide parasite spread in monarch butterflies: Launching a new citizen science project,MonarchHealth (2006)

Jean Chi - Strength in numbers: association between replication rate and transmission of Ophryocystis elektroscirrha in monarch butterflies. (2006)

Rachel Rarick - The toxic tonic: effects of cardenolides on parasites infecting the monarch butterfly. (2006)

Margaret Horne - Collaborating with citizen scientists to track the prevalence of a protozoan parasite in wild monarch butterflies. (2006)

Byron Ledbetter - Building and refining the Global Mammal Parasite Database on the WWW. (2006)

* = Completed an honors project