Postdoctoral Opportunity

The Hines Lab at The Pennsylvania State University (Biology Department, University Park, PA, USA; hineslab.org) is hiring a Postdoctoral Scholar to perform research on an NSF-funded project examining the genetic basis of mimetic color diversity in bumble bees. The postdoc will lead a project examining how transcriptomes shift with the repeated acquisition of mimetic color variants spanning a clade of North American bumble bees. The exceptional diversity and convergence in this system provides an opportunity to examine the different genetic routes to an adaptive phenotype and to connect micro- to macroevolutionary processes through examining patterns of inheritance of adaptive alleles across lineages. The project involves field collection of bumble bee queens in the American West, rearing of bumble bee colonies, developmental staging and dissections, transcriptome sequencing, and comparative analysis of transcriptome variation across several bumble bee morphs and species. Applicants must have a Ph.D. in a biology-related field, have a strong record of research involving both molecular and bioinformatic techniques, and an interest in evolutionary genetics/evo-devo. Experience in working with insects is desired, but not necessary.  

This experience provides numerous opportunities for training as PSU has a strong focus on Bioinformatics and Genomics, houses several project-relevant facilities in the PSU Huck Institute of Life Sciences (e.g., microscopy, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics), is home to the Center of Pollinator Research and the Insect Biodiversity Center, and offers numerous cross-departmental seminars and programs. The postdoc will also engage the labs of Jeff Lozier (U. Alabama) and Jonathan Koch (USDA ARS, Utah) in this research.

The Pennsylvania State University requires all applicants to register and complete the application form at the Penn State employment website (https://hr.psu.edu/careers; REQ_0000021143). A complete application will include a cover letter detailing relevant experience and research interests, a current CV, and contact information for three professional references. As per Penn State policy, this is a limited-term appointment funded for one year from date of hire with excellent possibility of re-funding with intention of 3 years of funding. Anticipated start date is between January 2022 (preferably) and Summer 2022. Review of applications will begin November 1 and continue until the position is filled. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Heather Hines (hmh19@psu.edu) for more information.

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusion that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity in society and nature, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusion as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.

Graduate Research Opportunities – Hines Lab

The Hines lab at Pennsylvania State University is recruiting a PhD-level graduate student to work on an NSF-funded project examining the genetic basis of mimetic color diversity and convergence in bumble bees. The graduate student will perform research projects examining the genetic targets of convergent coloration across several mimetic bumble bee systems and track how these alleles sort across a mimetic radiation. This research will involve field trips to collect bees in the western United States, genomic sequencing, and genome wide association analysis to assess the genetic targets of repeated evolution of mimetic phenotypes across bumble bees. Students working on these projects will obtain training in evolutionary genetics/evo-devo, developmental biology, and bioinformatics. Students must have a demonstrated passion for research, and an interest in evolutionary biology, molecular research, and in developing expertise in bioinformatics. The student may pursue additional projects related to insect evolutionary genetics/genomics, pigmentation, bumble bee biology and diversity, and/or bee health for their thesis research. Students can potentially join one of several graduate programs at PSU including: Biology (preferred for this position), Entomology, Ecology, MCIBS, and Bioinformatics and Genomics programs. Please send inquiries to Heather Hines (hmh19@psu.edu).

The Hines lab integrates genetic, ecological, developmental and evolutionary approaches towards addressing questions on the evolution and conservation of Hymenoptera (bees and wasps) (hineslab.org). Graduate students will have numerous opportunities for training as PSU has a strong focus on Bioinformatics and Genomics, houses several project-relevant facilities in the PSU Huck Institute of Life Sciences (e.g., microscopy, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics), is home to the Center of Pollinator Research and Insect Biodiversity Center, and hosts numerous cross-departmental seminars and programs. The student will also engage the labs of co-PIs Jeff Lozier (U. Alabama) and Jonathan Koch (USDA ARS, Logan Utah) in this research. 

Undergraduate Position: Field/Lab Techician for Gall Wasp Research

A lab and field technician position is available to assist in research examining the diversity, evolution, genetics, and ecology of gall wasps and the plant galls they induce. The individual will monitor, sample, and curate emerging gall wasps from field-collected plant galls reared in the lab, and assist in collecting galls in the field to be used for lab research. The student will pursue an independent ecological research project examining seasonal shifts in gall inhabitants in the oak apple gall, from galler, to inquilines and parasitoids, to predator and scavenger communities housed in these galls. 

The position runs from mid-May and will continue into Fall 2021. The position will involve 5-15 hrs/wk during the academic year and 20-40 hrs./wk during the summer, with the number of hours negotiable. 

Applicants ideally will bepursuing an undergraduate degree at PSU in the biological sciences, with an interest in nature and it’s diversity and, ideally, interested in a career in research or science education. The student must have good attention to detail and organizational skills. Applicants with a GPA >3.0 preferred.  Experience (e.g., coursework) in Entomology is a plus. 

Interested applicants should submit a CV/Resume and cover letter stating interests and suitability to the project to psujobs REQ_00000122. Applications will start being reviewed April 15 and until the position is filled. The student will be mentored by a team of gall wasp researchers at PSU, including John Tooker (jft11@psu.edu), Andy Deans (ard19@psu.edu), Heather Hines (hmh19@psu.edu), and Antoine Guiguet (apg5659@psu.edu).

Undergraduate Field Technician Position on Bee Health

The Hines lab (PSU, hineslab.org) is seeking an undergraduate summer field technician to work on a project examining the role of various landscape factors on bee health parameters (pathogens, bee size, community diversity) across North Carolina. Data collected will be used to understand the factors most impacting bee health to guide management of landscapes for supporting pollinators and to allow better understanding of distributional patterns in bumble bees, including patterns of bee decline.

The student will accompany and assist graduate student researcher Elena Gratton in collecting and identifying bumble bees across sites of various quality and habitats throughout North Carolina from the high Appalachians to the coastal plains. This position will run from mid-June until the end of July (30-40 hrs./week). It will involve primarily outdoor work and travel (lodging primarily in hotels and campsites; 3-4 weeks) and may involve some organizational tasks in Pennsylvania at the beginning and/or end of the project (2 weeks).

The position is open to undergraduates pursuing a degree in the biological sciences, preferably with an interest in ecology, conservation, and the natural sciences. The student must be willing and, preferably enjoy, spending long days in the field and a month traveling.

Interested applicants should submit a CV/Resume and cover letter stating interests and suitability through the psujobs portal. Applications will start being reviewed April 15 and until the position is filled. Please send inquiries to Heather Hines (hmh19@psu.edu).