Looking for Master’s Degree students starting Fall 2023. Come work with comparative questions! Students will learn macroevolution, phylogenetics, and statistics in R.

The Caetano lab has open positions for Master’s and undergraduate students. We are located at Towson University, about 30 min North of Baltimore, in Maryland. Our main research focus on comparative biology. We use phylogenetic trees, which describe the evolutionary relationship among lineages of organisms, to understand how the amazing diversity of colors, shape, sizes and functional traits have evolved over time. For that we apply modern statistical models and rely on morphology, behavior, and molecular data.

Students in the Caetano lab can expect to become proficient in R (one of the most important programming languages for biology and data sciences in general), develop hands-on experience in complex data analyses using models widely applied in evolutionary biology, and improve their writing and communication skills. We expect a Master’s student to produce at least one scientific publication as the leading author. The Caetano lab offers two research tracks:

  • Comparative biology: students will work on projects aimed to study a group of organisms and ask questions about lineage diversification, trait evolution, and/or biogeography. The group of study can vary, we have experience working with vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. Ideally, the project will utilize data from publicly available databases, but students can also gather their own data from museum specimens. The student on this track can expect to become proficient in evolutionary biology, macroevolution, and phylogenetics.
  • Bioinformatics and computational biology: students will work on the development and implementation of new statistical models. The project will focus on the development of software for phylogenetic comparative models. Ideally, the project will implement programs in R. But motivated students are free to use their programming language of choice (such as python or Julia). The student will learn how to conduct extensive simulations to benchmark approaches and test for power and type I error. The student in this track can expect to become proficient in linux, statistical thinking, data science, and bioinformatics.

Master’s Degree

Thesis-degree applicants start on the Fall and are expected to contact me by early January. Please carefully review the application information and deadlines (you will be applying for the Fall deadline, since the Spring deadline is for non-thesis students).

If you are outside the United States and are interested in joining the lab you are more than welcome! Please contact me as soon as possible (like, right now!), even if you are not ready to apply. The process to study abroad can take a long time and I strongly recommend that you start planning for it way in advance.

How to apply

If you are interested in a Master’s Degree or in Undergraduate Research, contact Dr. Daniel Caetano through email: dcaetano@towson.edu

More information here: https://caetanods.weebly.com/join-the-lab.html

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