Information for prospective students

Students who are interested in pursuing graduate studies in evolution, population genetics or computational biology are encouraged to contact me. My research includes several projects that would benefit from graduate student participation and I welcome opportunities to advise students 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. We are leading empirical projects with various plant species, fish, and butterflies, and doing collaborative empirical and computational work on a variety of taxa.

Degree options include: M.S. and/or Ph.D. degrees in Botany, a Ph.D. degree in Ecology, and a Ph.D. degree in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences.

The lab and the university

The Buerkle lab is located in the Department of Botany at the University of Wyoming. Coursework and other training opportunities are available in the various life science departments across campus, and in the departments of computer science, mathematics and statistics. The botany department presently includes 15+ full-time and very active faculty who supervise a number of graduate students who are pursuing M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Information about other researchers with interests in computational biology can be found here. Information about faculty with interests in evolutionary biology can be found here.

Ample computing resources are available in the Buerkle lab with computers on every desk and a small computer cluster (presently 4 Apple Xserves with OS X, one linux storage node with a 40 TB RAID, one linux node with 192 GB of RAM and a 10 TB RAID), and through larger, shared linux clusters on campus and at centers elsewhere through TeraGrid.

The lab is equipped for the analysis of molecular markers and relies on core labs for large-scale sequencing (e.g., NCGR)

Interested individuals are encouraged to contact Alex Buerkle directly and to communicate about interests and prospects informally. A description of the graduate programs in Botany, Ecology and Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences are online, as is the procedure for the formal application to the Graduate School. 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 several independent 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 10 miles to the east on Interstate-80. We enjoy typically dry and very sunny weather.