CURRENT OPENINGS (posted April 1, 2016)
The evolution of drug resistance is one of the major challenges for 21st Century Medicine. An important solution is to use the drugs we already have in ways which slow or prevent resistance emergence (stewardship). We are interested in hiring people who are passionately interested in giving stewardship science a rigorous grounding in modern evolutionary theory. Projects include experimental work with drug resistance in malaria and with bacteria present in US hospitals, epidemiological and genomic analyses of hospital infections, statistical analyses of electronic health records, and the development and application of evolutionary models in health-care settings. There may also be options in cancer. Ideal candidates will have a PhD in cognate subjects (such as evolutionary biology, ecology, mathematics, statistics, epidemiology, public health, bioinformatics, genomics, microbiology). Post-Doc candidates must have up to 4 years postdoctoral experience, and a significant publication record. Research Associate candidates must have a proven record of extensive research accomplishments through publication, conference presentations, and seminars and will be expected to submit research proposals for self-support in due course.
We are looking for people whose interests coincide with ours but with skill sets that add to those we already have. Experience with evolution in health care settings is desirable, but more critical is a keen interest in the application of basic science to improve real-world health outcomes and the capacity to operate in a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative environment. These positions are based primarily at Penn State, but hospital-motivated projects may involve substantial time at the University of Michigan Health System and at the Geisinger Health System. They involve collaboration between the Read and Woods group.
Woods is an Infectious Disease physician with a very strong background in evolutionary biology (Woods MD/PhD). Applications must be submitted electronically here or here and must include a cover letter describing research experience, interests and ambitions, a CV, and contact information for three references. Applications must be submitted electronically here or here. Informal inquiries to Andrew Read PhD or Robert Woods MD PhD. Review of applicants will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
Potential post-docs interested in other things should contact me (Andrew) to discuss science. Make it a good pitch. I delete generic emails which show no evidence that a potential candidate actually knows what I do. I warm to people showing evidence of having read some of my papers and who have interesting ideas about how they would fit into my research interests or take me in new directions. I do not worry about ideas that are impractical or even silly, so long as they are interesting and reveal signs of serious brain function. I do worry about potential post-docs without strong publication records.
Potential CIDD graduate students are welcome to contact me in my capacity as CIDD Director about how they can fit into Penn State’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics. It’s a great community. There are people who go elsewhere, but it’s not clear why. I am happy to advise on which Faculty would best match your interests.
Potential graduate students interested in joining the Read Group need to make me a really, really, really good pitch. I only want exceptional students who will lift my game as I lift theirs, and who will become outstanding post-docs. I am not interested in graduate students who want to do lots of course work because they really enjoyed undergraduate life with defined goals and easily achievable targets, and who some how feel research can be learned in a classroom. Nor do I want students who aim to spend several years dawdling over things they might find interesting, and who might eventually spend several more years getting something done, whether or not I find it interesting, and all on my dime which I am expected to keep providing indefinitely in a funding climate which is nasty beyond belief.
If you want to do a PhD with me, you have to convince me you are fun, exciting, smart, ambitious and that you have the potential to be at least as good as my previous students and post docs, including those now on the Faculty at Oxford, Glasgow, Lausanne, Edinburgh, Exeter, Emory, Princeton, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Toronto, Imperial College London, and the University of Georgia at Athens, as well as those with lifetime luxury as CNRS scientists in Montpellier, France, and those with real-world jobs at the Institute of Marine Research in Tromsø, Norway, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the New South Wales Crime Statistics in Sydney and the Parent-Infant Research Institute in Melbourne, and those with Fellowships or post-docs at Cambridge, Imperial, Washington, Edinburgh, Lund, Kenyan Medical Research Institute, Yale, Toronto and, most impressive of all, Penn State. And you have to convince me that you want to do research from the get go, and that you are in a hurry.
If you think you match up, the important but dull stuff is as follows. The graduate programs at Penn State in which I can supervise students are:
Check those websites for formal application procedures. The main practical difference between them is the course work requirements – amount and type – and the title of the degree. I’m not fussed. I’m after brains and drive.
If you are a potential graduate student, and you’ve just read all that and thought what an ass: well, you are not for me now, and I am not for you now. But if my attitude got up your nose, and your PhD experience makes you want to reach for the stars, and most importantly, you are as interested in lifting my game as I am in lifting yours, we should talk when you are about to finish you PhD somewhere else. I want to work smarter, not more. Want to go for it? Talk to me.