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Researcher Needed in Biology Lab

Dr. Craig Barrett is looking for highly motivated undergraduates interested in natural history to participate in laboratory research on the  evolutionary genetics of plants. The Barrett lab focuses on using DNA sequences and other information to study how certain plant species are related, how they vary, and how their genomes have evolved. In particular, the lab’s focus is on leafless orchids that have evolved to become parasites on soil fungi (called mycoheterotrophs), and thus no longer use solar energy for photosynthesis. The lab also studies evolution of monocot angiosperms, including several economically and ecologically important species of grasses, palms, gingers, and relatives.

Students will gain significant  hands-on experience, including: DNA and RNA extraction from plant tissues, polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, and data analysis.  Meanwhile, students will contribute to research in the form of poster presentations and potentially the writing of theses and scientific papers for publication.

Under the guidance of Dr. Barrett, students will develop  independent projects  and will enroll in Biol 386 for independent study (minimum 2 cr).  Students interested in completing an honors thesis are particularly encouraged to apply.

Requirements: Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.20.  Some lab research experience and familiarity with computer software is preferred.  Experience and/or interest in computer coding/scripting and bioinformatics are also preferred (for example: UNIX, R, Python, Perl).  Students should have a strong background in genetics, evolution, or ecology, and have a serious interest in plant evolutionary biology.

Dr. Barrett’s faculty web page: and  slide.

Contact information:  Dr. Craig Barrett (, Department of Biology, 5218 Life Sciences Building.