Research Opportunities

NIST-NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship: Please contact me if are interested in applying for a competitive 2-year fellowship on any topic related to any of my research interests (US citizens only; requires an original proposal of 3000 wds; stipend is $65K; deadlines are February 1 and August 1).  I would be delighted if someone wants to develop a project idea related to mutation-biased evolution, the analysis of deep mutational scanning data, amino acid exchangeability, models that separate mutation and selection, the applicability of origin-fixation models, testable implications of CNE and the DDC gene duplication model, or another topic of interest.

Grant-funded post-doc position in phyloinformatics.  NSF recently funded a 3-year collaborative project [2] to develop a production system based on the “Phylotastic” prototype developed at a NESCent hackathon in 2012 [1].  The goal of the project is to provide an open, distributed, community-owned system for efficient delivery of “Tree of Life” knowledge, so that scientists, educators, and the public can get online species trees as easily as they currently get online driving directions.

As part of this project, a post-doc position is available with Arlin Stoltzfus at the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR), a joint NIST-UMD-UMB institute in Rockville, Maryland, in the midst of a major biotechnology corridor in the greater Washington, DC area.

Interested individuals are encouraged to apply for this position (using the IBBR web site: https://ejobs.umd.edu/postings/33884), which provides a unique opportunity to build tools with a broad impact in spreading phylogenetic knowledge (in the scientific community and beyond). The successful applicant will become part of a distributed, collaborative team with colleagues from IBBR as well as NMSU (Enrico Pontelli), UTK (Brian O’Meara), Open Tree of Life (Karen Cranston), and Global Names (Dmitry Mozzherin).

Applications should include
* A cover letter (include skills, suggested start date, and expected PhD date as needed)
* A CV
* A short research statement
* Contact information for two references
* Link(s) to repositories with examples of code you have written (or attachments including such code)

Salary is from 42000 to 46000 USD depending on experience. The desired applicant is expected to bring a scientific understanding of phylogeny use-cases into the design and testing process, and also to participate in implementation of tools where appropriate. Experience in scientific programming is required. Understanding how and why scientists use phylogenies will be extremely valuable. Knowledge of R or Python (the language of some of the prototype tools), though helpful, is not necessary. If in doubt, ask: please do not self-select yourself out from what might be a mutually beneficial position.

The University of Maryland, College Park, actively subscribes to a policy of equal employment opportunity, and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Review of applications will continue until the position is filled (start dates are flexible). Presubmission inquiries are encouraged.
Arlin Stoltzfus (arlin@umd.edu)
Research Biologist (NIST)
Fellow (IBBR)
Adjunct Associate Professor (UMD)

[1] www.phylotastic.org; see also Stoltzfus, et al., 2013, “Phylotastic! Making tree-of-life knowledge accessible, reusable and convenient” (BMC Bioinformatics 2013, 14:158), available at http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2105/14/158.

[2] Arlin Stoltzfus, Enrico Pontelli, and Brian O’Meara. “Collaborative Research: ABI Development: An open infrastructure to disseminate phylogenetic knowledge.”


  1. I read Chapter 1 of Mutation, Randomness and Evolution via the Philosophy of Biology discussion group of Duke University. I am interested in using the entire book for a reading course and wish to know how to obtain the whole book or the current draft.

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