Finding a Faculty Sponsor

  1. The more you know about a prospective faculty sponsor, the better off you are going to be in convincing them of your interest in working with them. To learn more about individual faculty, view their profiles on their departmental websites. When you contact a faculty member about sponsoring you, be sure to include your resume and a brief description of why you would like to join their lab. OEB faculty who have expressed an interest in taking on a new student are listed at the bottom of this page.

Note that faculty are extremely busy and sometimes get behind in responding to emails. It is your responsibility to follow-up either by phone or another email.

Acceptance into OEB is dependent upon meeting academic standards, having faculty support and securing funding. OEB does not accept students unless we can offer a financial package. Competition is stiff; even the most exceptionally qualified students are not necessarily guaranteed acceptance. Stellar students who secure grants or fellowships are particularly appealing to advisors, as they already have a proven track record and bring their own funding. Students with research experience, excellent letters of reference and publications are also at an advantage.

More about Funding

Each year we receive applications from 50-75 students, most of whom are academically well-qualified. Of those, we are able to fund only 5-8 students. Our program does not accept students for whom it cannot provide financial support, thus many admission decisions come down to funding.

OEB has limited means to provide financial support. The faculty member who sponsors your application must agree to provide a substantial portion of your financial package through their research grants. It is therefore important to convince prospective advisors that you are a good investment.

Most OEB grad students are supported by a combination of Teaching Assistantships (TA, provided through OEB) and Research Assistantships (RA, provided by advisors). Typically we do not offer support to MS students, but MS applicants can discuss funding further with faculty sponsors. We offer 5 years of support to PhD students. For students supported by a TA or an RA, tuition and most fees are waived.

A number of OEB students have their own support. A few have NSF Graduate Research Fellowships or Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants, or other extramural funding. Each year a few are funded by one-year University Fellowships. We strongly encourage both incoming and continuing students to apply for extramural funding.

OEB Faculty who are seeking students for Fall 2021

Below are two lists: 1) OEB faculty who are actively seeking a new student for the next academic year and 2) OEB faculty who would like to take a student pending availability of funding.

OEB faculty actively seeking a new student for the next academic year

Bethany Bradley
DEPARTMENT: Environmental Conservation
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Biogeography and spatial ecology of terrestrial plant invasion

Brian Cheng
DEPARTMENT: Environmental Conservation
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Marine global change ecology and the dynamics of predator-prey interactions

Graziella V. DiRenzo
DEPARTMENT: Enviornmental Conservation
U.S. Geological Survey Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Quantitative ecology, population dynamics, applied ecology

Lillian Fritz-Laylin
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Quantitative Evolutionary Cell Biology

Alex Gerson
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Eco-physiology of migratory birds 

Laura A. Katz
DEPARTMENT: Biological Sciences, Smith College
RESEARCH INTERESTS:  Genome evolution and biodiversity studies of microbial eukaryote

Li-Jun Ma
DEPARTMENT: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Evolution of fungal pathogens; cross-kingdom pathogenesis, host-pathogen co-evolution

Meghan Graham MacLean
DEPARTMENT: Environmental Conservation
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Forest ecology, human-environmental interactions, and management responses to global change drivers

Allison Roy
DEPARTMENT: Environmental Conservation
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Freshwater ecology and conservation

Faculty who would like to take a student pending availability of funding

Courtney Babbitt
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Evolution of gene regulation and genomics

Madelaine Bartlett
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Evolution of plant development; Molecular evolution

Jeffrey Blanchard
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Anaerobic Microbiology, Microbial Ecology and Evolution, Genomics, Bioinformatics

Ana Caicedo
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Plant evolutionary genetics, evolution in agricultural systems, plant adaptation

Kristen DeAngelis
DEPARTMENT: Microbiology
RESEARCH INTERSETS: Microbiology of climate change, plant-microbial interactions, soil formation, lignocellulosic biofuels

Alexander Gerson
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Integrative ecological physiology of birds, energetics, water balance, bird migration

John G. Gibbons
DEPARTMENT: Food Science
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Genomics, Evolution, Bioinformatics

Jason Kamilar
DEPARTMENT: Anthropology
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Primatology, evolutionary ecology, microbiome diversity, hair evolution, biogeography, community ecology, quantitative methods. Africa, Madagascar

Lisa Komoroske
DEPARTMENT: Environmental Conservation
RESEARCH INTERESTS:  Conservation genomics and ecophysiology in marine and freshwater ecosystems 

Toni Lyn Morelli
DEPARTMENT: Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center; Environmental Conservation
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Climate change ecology, montane and boreal wildlife, and decision analysis and translational ecology for climate adaptation

Benjamin Normark
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Evolution of alternative genetic systems; evolution of host range;  scale insect systematics      

Michelle Staudinger
DEPARTMENT: Environmental Conservation
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Climate change impacts on coastal biodiversity and trophic relationships