Postdoctoral Researchers and Graduate students

Our lab is currently has openings for the following positions:


Researcher pipettingA 2-year postdoc is available on the evolution of butterflies and phylo/comparative genomics of sensory system evolution in bombycoid moths, as part of two, recently-funded National Science Foundation projects (NSF DEBNERC and NSF GoLife). The postdoc may also have the opportunity to work on collaborative bat-moth projects with Jesse Barber and his team at Boise State University.

The selected postdoc will work at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s McGuire Center in Gainesville, FL, USA. The selected candidate will need to be able to communicate well in verbal and written English and have the ability to train students and analyze genomic libraries for NGS, including insect transcriptomes and target capture approaches. The
selected candidate will join a team of 4 postdocs, 9 graduate students, multiple undergraduates, and staff scientists in the Kawahara Lab. The postdoc will also work closely with local and international collaborators.

Required: 1) A Ph.D. in molecular evolution, systematics, evolution, bioinformatics, genomics, or related field; 2) Strong publication record; 3) Familiarity with Next Generation Sequencing, computer programming/scripting in Python, Perl, Java, C++, R or other language. Candidates with background experience in functional/comparative genomics, genome annotation, and/or phylogenomics will be highly considered.

Salary:$47,500-$50,000 USD plus benefits. The appointment can be up to 2 years, but will be made on a yearly basis given satisfactory progress.

To ensure full consideration please email the following to Akito Kawahara at (1) a cover letter and (2) your updated CV. Specify in the email subject line: “Postdoc_KawaharaLab” or “GradStudent_KawaharaLab”.

Graduate Students

I am always looking for good students to become part of our research team. I seek highly motivated students that take their research interests seriously. I believe an integrative research approach is fundamental, and that the student should train themselves broadly and to learn and apply novel techniques in their graduate research. Students should follow their own personal research interests, but I will also provide the guidance when necessary. The lab space itself is located in the McGuire Center Building, which was built in 2006. My students are affiliated with various different departments on the UF campus, thus allowing an environment for an integrative research group.

If you are interested in pursuing graduate work in the Kawahara Lab, please email me with a statement of your research interests and a CV that provides your educational background (GPA, relevant biology, math and statistics classes), related work/field/lab experience, publications if any, and GRE scores if available.

Undergraduate Students

We are always interested in training enthusiastic and talented undergraduate students. Students should be highly motivated and organized. If you are interested in joining our lab, please email Akito Kawahara.


Volunteer positions are now available. There are also positions in the lab for talented high school students.

Volunteer project positions include:

Wing vouchers

The purpose of this project is to create a Lepidoptera Tree of Life through phylogenomics and bioinformatics. Researchers, collaborators, students and volunteers from the Kawahara Lab collect specimens in the field for this project. The specimens are preserved in ethanol, brought back to the lab, and stored at -80˚C until they can made into wing vouchers. Wing vouchers consist of the right set of the moth’s wings flattened and displayed in a coin holder with locality and identification labels on it. Once vouchers are made, tissue samples from each specimen are stored for future use to be used for DNA extraction, and their corresponding vouchers are stored for visual reference of each specimen.

Caterpillar rearing

The Kawahara Lab captively rears various species of sphingid and saturniid larvae. These caterpillars may be used for molecular, acoustic, and behavioral studies in the lab. We also maintain greenhouses that hold the host plants for the caterpillars that constantly need cared for.

If you are interested in volunteering in our lab, please contact Caroline Storer at