UC Merced Undergraduate Students

There are many opportunities for undergraduate students both for summer research, and in-semester research. If you are interested in working in the Edwards Lab, please note the specific deadlines detailed below.

Undergraduate research in the lab is generally aimed at familiarizing students with the kind of data and projects that we work with in the Edwards Lab.  During semester projects may include genetic data collection, survey’s of fauna in the Vernal Pools Reserve, or examining museum specimens for morphological analysis, among other things. Summer research generally involves field work on the various projects we undertake. As students develop their skills, we will work together to develop a research projects that link into student interests.

Undergraduates working in the Edwards Lab can earn research credit (e.g., BIO 095, BIO 195) for time spent in the lab during the academic year.  Typically, this involves committing to 1-2 units of research credit or 3-6 hours per week, but this is flexible and project dependent.

If you are interested in undergraduate research in the Edwards Lab, please email Prof. Edwards with the following information in the form of a cover letter:

  1. Your name, major, year
  2. A 1 paragraph description of your own educational and career goals
  3. A 2-3 paragraph description of which aspects of the Edwards lab research most interests you & how this ties in with your own academic interests

To consider you for a position in the lab during the academic year we need this letter by the end of Week 1 of each semester. If you are interested in participating in summer research, I need your application 6 weeks before the close of the spring semester. No exceptions. I will review applications and determine which students will be accepted into the lab. Preference is given to Ecology/Evolutionary Biology students.

Expectations of undergraduates working in the Edwards Lab:

  • You will work on lab projects for the agreed-on number of hours
  • You will meet with Prof. Edwards at the beginning of the semester to develop your research goals, these may be periodically revised throughout the semester
  • You will work week-to-week with a dedicated mentor in the lab
  • You will write a summary/report of the work you have done in the lab and will present it to the lab group at the end of semester

Graduate Student Opportunities

Graduate students interested in joining the Edwards Lab, should take a look at the Quantitative Systems Biology Graduate Program at UC Merced.

As a PI, I am interested in working with students whose research interests intersect with my own. Please have a look through the lab website and read a few of the labs papers before contacting me so you have an idea of what we do that interests you.

Research in the lab is heavily interdisciplinary. I have interests in diverse areas including genomics, phylogenetics, population genetics, ecology, behavior, morphology and conservation. Work is primarily focused on herpetofauna, and I have a few main systems I focus on. I welcome the opportunity to work with those who have similarly interdisciplinary interests, and want to develop independent projects within the systems I focus on. I am also interested in purely genetic/genomic projects. My lab is a state of the art molecular lab, and at UC Merced we have access to a range of different core facilities, including a stable isotope lab, environmental analytical facility, microscopy facility and spatial analysis labs.

UC Merced offers competitive Teaching Assistantships, many internal fellowships (both for current and incoming students) and affordable living costs compared to other UC campuses. There are numerous competitive internal fellowships for recruits and current students at UC Merced. Merced is also very close to the Sierra Nevada, which offers ample opportunities for those who like to explore the great outdoors, including proximity to Yosemite National Park!

If you are interested in applying to graduate school at UC Merced and training in the Edwards Lab, please contact me ahead of time so we can talk about your goals and interests.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunities

I am always interested in talking with those who have an interest in joining the Edwards Lab for postdoctoral work. I occasionally have funding for postdocs, but am also interested in chatting with those that would like to apply for fellowship funding or other grant funding.

Some opportunities for fellowship funding within the UC system for postdoctoral scholars:

  • The Presidents Postdoctoral Fellowship Program offers postdoctoral research fellowships, professional development and faculty mentoring to outstanding scholars in all fields whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity across the University of California system
  • The Chancellors Postdoctoral Fellowship Program offers postdoctoral research fellowships, faculty mentoring, and eligibility for the UC-system hiring incentive to outstanding scholars in all fields whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity at the University of California, Merced

Other opportunities may exist for fellowships from other agencies. Some that may be applicable to our research:

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