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View of Auckland, New Zealand from Mount Eden, one of 300 extinct volcanoes in the area.

Massey University campus, Albany (~30 min north of Auckland)

Ph.D position available in New Zealand!

A 3-year funded position is available immediately to work on natural or lab-evolved populations of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum (“Dicty”). Dicty is an established model system for developmental biology and social evolution. In response to starvation, these single-celled amoebae cooperate and behave altruistically—and some strains can cheat, benefiting from the altruism of others without contributing equally to its cost. Work in our lab seeks to understand the evolutionary forces that drive the success or failure of cooperation in nature, combining studies of altruism investment across geographically diverse populations with genomic studies that explore the long-term evolutionary dynamics of cooperation and conflict.

The Ostrowski lab (, @elizostrow) is located at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, and this position will be located there, with opportunities to travel to field sites in the United States. The ideal applicant will have prior undergraduate research experience (preferably in microbiology or evolutionary biology), will be curious and self-motivated, and have strong written and oral communication skills.

Questions? Please feel free to contact me to discuss further.

Undergraduate Researchers:

Currently, I can best support undergraduates in the Auckland region or US-based undergraduates able to travel to Mountain Lake Biological Station (Blacksburg, VA, USA). If interested, please contact me by email to discuss further.

Not sure how to get started with research? Fill out the form here to send me a message, sign up for notices about upcoming field trips, or check-out our new blog to join us for field trip or participate in ongoing laboratory research projects.

Postdoctoral Researchers (this position has been filled):

A postdoc position is available in my lab. The research will involve the application of population genomic approaches to understand the history of cooperation and conflict in natural populations of Dictyostelium. I am seeking to hire someone with background in molecular evolution, population genomics, and/or microbial evolution. For more information, please contact me, and include a description of your research background and interests.

Are you thinking about going to graduate school? Here are some useful resources:

A Graduate School Survival Guide

Advice on Succeeding in Graduate School (John Thompson, UCSC)

Some Modest Advice for Graduate Students (Stephen Stearns, Yale University)

The Importance of Stupidity in Scientific Research (Martin Schwartz, UVA)