Our lab philosophy: Ask important questions, read the literature, set up rigorous tests to generate answers, and critically evaluate your data (as well as that of others).

In its best form, science is fun, purpose-driven, exciting, and takes courage as well as a strong work ethic. However, scientific research can also be monotonous, frustrating, exhausting and terrifying (as you must communicate your research to others, and thus allow your work to be open to criticism). No research is wasted effort so long as it is a fair test of an important and interesting question!

Great research (and a strong research team) also requires diversity of backgrounds and interests. Past knowledge and expertise are far less important than a desire to learn and a drive to understand and contribute to the field. Indeed, seemingly irrelevant skills, life experiences, and knowledge are often the exact factor that motivate or underlie new discoveries and conceptual developments in science. If you are reading this and wondering if you too might have something meaningful to contribute, the answer is yes.

Similarities between good research and a PCR reaction
Figure: Similarities between good research and a PCR reaction

Interested in joining the lab?

I am always recruiting excellent graduate students through the Integrative Biology program here at UC Berkeley*. If interested in joining the lab, please look at the program information here. Then, please send me an email that describes your interests and experience, as well as why you think the lab and University would be a good fit for you.

*Note that Berkeley offers fee waivers if needed: https://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/apply/fee-waiver/ and does not require GREs.

I am also open to hosting postdoctoral research fellows with complementary interests in disease/microbial ecology and evolution. Please feel free to contact me to discuss opportunities for funding (some examples of fellowships can be found here and if you are from Europe there are a number of additional opportunities).

There are a number of opportunities each year for undergraduate researchers. If you’re interested in joining, please contact me with a brief statement about why you are looking for a position, what your scientific interests are, and what stage you are currently in at UC Berkeley (and if I don’t respond right away, please don’t hesitate to follow up!). There are numerous ways to join our research program, from research credit to fellowships. Most of undergraduate researchers join through the URAP program, and we have some work study spots open if you are eligible for these.

Students and researchers joining the lab should be inquisitive, independent, diligent, collaborative, driven, creative, dedicated, dynamic, conscientious and industrious (or some combination of these traits; nobody is perfect!) Working knowledge is less important than a true desire to learn and understand, and I particularly value new members with skill sets and ideas outside of my own.

If you think this describes you, and you’d like to learn more about possible positions in the lab, please send me an up-to-date CV and a description of why you are interested in joining (the more specific the better to fuel conversation).

Lab expectations:

We are a highly collaborative group of researchers, and therefore communication, honesty, and integrity are key required attributes of all lab members. We are also striving to create a truly equitable and inclusive research environment, and are actively discussing and revising our lab code of conduct, goals, and norms to reflect these values.

All data generated within the lab are considered property of the Koskella Lab and UC Berkeley, and the expectation is that all publishable datasets should be published within a reasonable timeframe of collection. Authorship is decided based on ESA guidelines, where anyone who” “(a) contributes to conception of ideas or experimental design; (b) participates actively in execution of the study; (c) analyzes and interprets the data; and/or (d) writes the manuscript” will be offered authorship, the order of which will be discussed at the start of the project and revised as needed.

We hold weekly lab meetings that all members are expected to attend (and contribute to) unless unable due to other work or classroom commitments. Attendance of and presentations at conferences are highly encouraged and supported (financially whenever possible) for members at all career stages. Also, all members are encouraged to find and apply for funding and fellowship opportunities, and the other lab members and PI are always happy to help refine ideas and drafts of proposals, as well as working drafts of manuscripts. Getting feedback early and often is important! All lab members are expected to maintain a lab notebook (either hard copy or digitally) that is intelligible to others, from methods being used through to data collection and interpretation. All data should be openly shared within the lab, and, after publication of the work, publicly through data repositories.

Koskella Lab Logo (Image White Background Complex)