Research Opportunities

Our lab currently has openings for the following positions:

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 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 and research experience.

Undergraduate Students

We are always interested in training enthusiastic and talented undergraduate students. Students should be highly motivated , organized, and above all else excited to learn new things. If you are interested in joining our lab, please email Taylor Pierson or Akito Kawahara.


Volunteer positions are always 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 captive rears various species of Lepidoptera. These caterpillars may be used for molecular, morphological, and behavioral studies in the lab.

If you are interested in volunteering in our lab, please contact Taylor Pierson at