Recruiting Doctoral Students for Fall Semester 2023: You’ll be a Doctoral Student in the Carini Lab investigating the mechanisms of how diverse bacteria survive stressful environments. Your dissertation projects will focus on the physiology of soil or deep sea bacterial isolates in response to desiccation or nutrient deprivation, respectively. Your dissertation work will expose you to an assortment of tools, including classic bacteriology (culturing, physiology, flow cytometry), molecular biology (nucleic acid extractions, in vitro transcription, (q)PCR)), and data analysis (Illumina sequence data, modeling, statistical analysis of transcriptomes). Thus, you’ll develop a broad mix of microbiology expertise.

You can expect to grow in your lab skill toolbox, versatility, and ability to think about complex data. You can expect to have input on where the experiments go. You can expect us to be an inclusive group who’ll support you in your growth, rise to challenges with you, and grow alongside you. As a student in our research group, we’ll invest in developing you as a mentor. In your time with us, you’ll have numerous opportunities to develop your own mentorship voice by selecting and mentoring undergraduate researchers, including students from groups that are underrepresented in the sciences, to work alongside you in the lab or virtually.

Entering a doctoral program can be daunting! At first, you’ll balance the need to succeed in your graduate level coursework with the requirement to conduct laboratory research (in equal amounts)—this is a full-time job! After your preliminary exam, you’ll transition to mostly lab research. You’ll have opportunities to bolster skills by attending workshops and conferences. But you won’t have to do it all—heroics aren’t necessary! Yes, we want to be proud of teaching you how to produce top-notch science, but we also want to be kind, considerate, fair, flexible, and calm. We care about how you develop as a scientist and as a person. To that end, we use science-based and intentional mentoring approaches to help you develop your vision for your career and a unique path to lead you there. This includes biannual review guided by your individual development plan, including assessment of your professional goals and discussion of your growth toward them.

We expect about 20 hours of work per week to be dedicated to your dissertation research most of the time (though there are exceptions where more hours may be necessary, they are rare). The remainder of your time (about 20 additional hours per week) should be dedicated to scholarship in your classes and developing your scientific skills in other ways. The lines between your dissertation research and academic/professional development are not always clear as often skill building or coursework overlap with your research. Nonetheless, we want you to have a sustainable, healthy relationship with your research and education and will work with you to determine how you can best do that. You can expect a mindful ramp-up period with time to learn. You can expect a team and mentor that listens. You can expect to give and receive direct feedback. You can expect to be counted on, and you can count on us.

About You

You’ll have an idea of your vision for your career, even if it needs a bit of refining. You might have some untapped potential for a similar breadth and depth of work to what we’ve done in the past. Or, you might already be proficient in the type of science we do. Ideally, you’ll have at least 2 years of undergraduate or postgraduate research experience in microbiology (or a related biological field) with an emphasis on molecular biology, genomics, or bacteriology. However, we realize that you won’t be able to answer every question or know how all the experiments work on day one—and we don’t expect you to. Ultimately, we are looking for someone with solid scientific fundamentals rooted in excellent written and verbal communication with a commitment to learning and independent problem solving and learning. The ability to communicate clearly and a strong track record of meticulous, considerate work speaks volumes.

Research shows that the highest impact science occurs when people from varied backgrounds come together to solve problems. This means we want a diverse team built from different backgrounds, experiences, and identities—including yours. We strive to maintain an inclusive, supportive place for you to do your best work.If you identify as belonging to a group that is historically excluded in scientific fields: you are welcome here!

Graduate Student Pay

This is a 0.5 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Graduate Research Assistant position with an annual stipend of about $30,000 (the exact stipend varies by department). You will receive graduate tuition remission, which means we pay your graduate school tuition for you.

We want you to lead an emotionally and physically healthy life outside of work. That means sometimes work can wait! The position is based out of Tucson, Arizona—a unique location in a unique ecosystem. In the winter months, the desert floor offers ample opportunity for an active, outdoor lifestyle. In the summer months, the area boasts access to numerous mountain ranges to hike, climb, camp, or bike. If you want to stay indoors, Tucson is home to numerous museums, including the Tucson Museum of Art, the Children’s museum, and the Pima Air and Space Museum. Finally, when you get hungry, you’ll be in one of UNESCO’s Cities of Gastronomy.

How to apply

For this position, we would prefer graduate students interested in enrolling through Molecular and Cellular Biology, the Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program orthe Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences (ABBS) program. ABBSallows students to enter the Genetics GIDP and MCB and also conduct rotations in several labs before identifying their dissertation home. We will accept rotation students in the 2023/2024 academic year. For the right student, we’ll also consider applications through the Department of Environmental Science, The School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Science, or the School of Plant Science. These departments do not offer rotations. Each department has their own curriculum requirements, application deadlines, and application process. You’ll need to research these differences to identify the best fit for you and your goals.

Regardless of which program you choose, please state in your personal statement that you are interested in working with the Carini lab. And please be sure to explain some of the reasons why you’re excited to work with us. You’ll be evaluated first at the department level and then by our in-house evaluation criteria.

Reach out directly to Dr. Paul Carini ( if you have any questions about the projects, which program to apply to, or see if we’re a good fit for each other.

Here are some examples of the work we’ve led or been involved in recently that might help give you a better idea of the kind of work we do.

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