Information for prospective students and postdoctoral researchers

Students and postdoctoral researchers who are interested in studying evolution, population genomics, or computational biology are encouraged to contact me.

Several projects in our research group would benefit from additional researchers, including three large, collaborative NSF-supported projects. Two five year grants started in 2016 (Dimensions of Biodiversity) and 2017 (the Microbial Ecology Collaborative), and one four year grant started in 2020 (the modelscape consortium).

I typically advise and collaborate with students and postdocs whose independent research is complementary to other work in the lab. Work in the lab includes everything from theoretical research to field-based, empirical studies. Most of our research concerns the genetics of adaptation and speciation. Our empirical projects have involved various plant species, fish, birds, butterflies, bacteria, fungi, and we collaborate with other researchers on a variety of other taxa.

Degree options for students include: M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in Botany, or a Ph.D. degree in Ecology.

The lab and the university

The Buerkle lab is located in the Department of Botany and Aven Nelson Building at the University of Wyoming. In 2021 we will move to a new life science building, currently under construction.

Coursework and other training opportunities are available in the various life science departments across campus, in the departments of computer science, and mathematics and statistics, and through the Data Science Center, which Alex directs for the university. The botany department includes roughly twelve faculty members who supervise a number of graduate students, with many faculty members with expertise in evolutionary biology and ecology in the department and beyond.

Ample computing resources are available in the Buerkle lab with computers on every desk and a small computer cluster in the university's data center, and through an excellent, large HPC system that is shared university-wide and administered by UW's ARCC.

The lab is equipped for the analysis of DNA. More recently much of our lab work has shifted to use of our Genome Technologies Laboratory, which Alex directs for the university. There we routinely prepare libraries for DNA sequencing at core facilities elsewhere.

Interested individuals are encouraged to contact Alex Buerkle directly and to communicate about interests and prospects informally. Descriptions of the graduate programs in Botany and Ecology are online. Applications from individuals who are members of groups that are underrepresented in the sciences are encouraged.

Laramie and the surrounding area

Laramie is a small university town in the least-populated state in the U.S. It lacks big city amenities and headaches and is a very easy place to live. We have a vegetarian restaurant and several that are veggie-friendly; not surprisingly, you can find good local beef and bison as well. We have good coffee shops and a few bookstores, but we don't have a shopping mall. Urban areas are 1–2 hours away in Colorado (Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver).

Laramie is at 7200 feet elevation in the Laramie Basin, which is flanked by the Laramie Range to the east and the Snowy Range of the Medicine Bow mountains to the west. We have very easy access to an immense variety of world-class outdoor recreation opportunities, without crowds (cycling and mountain biking, trail running, fishing, cross-country skiing, back-country skiing, downhill skiing, rock and alpine climbing, horseback riding, etc.). For example, extensive trail systems for walking, skiing, cycling, etc. within the Medicine Bow National Forest can be accessed from trailheads roughly ten miles to the east on Interstate-80, and via a new trail system that is being developed on public land adjacent to town. We enjoy typically dry and very sunny weather.