Kawahara Lab Research OpportunitiesAssistant Scientist and Postdoctoral Researchers

Our lab is currently has openings for the following positions:

The Kawahara Lab at University of Florida is hiring a full-time, fully-benefitted Assistant Research Scientist. This non-tenure track faculty member will collaborate with our research team and also have the ability to design and lead their own projects broadly related to the evolution of butterflies and moths.

1) A Ph.D. in molecular evolution, systematics, evolution, bioinformatics, genomics, or related field.
2) Strong publication record.
3) Familiarity with analyzing next generation sequencing data, computer programming/scripting in Python, Perl, Java, C++, R or other language.
4) Strong organizational skills and ability to work with colleagues, and help run a lab.

1) Experience in functional/comparative genomics, genome annotation, and/or phylogenomics.
2) An interest in insect evolution, and some lab management experience.

While we are interested in hiring someone that can lead projects pertaining to the evolution of Lepidoptera, we will prioritize candidates with a strong background in evolutionary biology, regardless of taxonomic focus.

The research scientist will join the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH), located on the University of Florida campus. The department is one of the largest university museums in the US, and a leading department in the field of biodiversity science research.

Salary: $50,000 USD plus benefits.

To apply, visit: http://explore.jobs.ufl.edu/cw/en-us/job/500646/assistant-scientist-lepidoptera
Application deadline: Jan. 15, 2017 (11:59 pm, US EST time).

A 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 kawahara@flmnh.ufl.edu: (1) a cover letter, (2) your updated CV, and (3) have letters of support sent directly to kawahara@flmnh.ufl.edu from 3 mentors/colleagues. 1 and 2 should be merged into a single PDF. The cover letter should describe your previous research and training, your qualifications for the postdoc as detailed in this advertisement, and should explain how this postdoc position will further your long-term research/career aspirations. Specify in the email subject line: “Postdoc_KawaharaLab”

Start date: Position available Feb 1, 2017 or until the position is filled.
Evaluations of applicants will begin on Jan. 15, 2017, and continue until the position is filled.

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 Samm Epstein and Geena Hill for more information.