Before applying to a graduate program the person should think thoroughly and be absolutely sure that it is what they want to do. I go by what the Dr. John Lombardi (ex-chancellor, UMass) told during our welcoming speech, "Graduate school is not your career, but it helps you to build one". A typical Masters program take about 2-2.5 years to complete and PhD take 4-5 years. So remember that this is a long term commitment and you have enough motivation to see it through. The candidates will be fully funded throughout their program period through a 60:40 split between research and teaching assistantships.
Accepted candidates will spend the initial year (~1.5 for PhD) digging the literature, attending meetings, trying to formulate their own research questions. During this initial year candidates will also spend time in lab and field learning about various research techniques. We strongly emphasis that research should be hypothesis-driven and not be driven by instrumentation, hence prior experience with instrumentation is desirable but NOT required!! I am pretty much open to all areas of research (but should be in a plant environment!!), and strongly encourage interdisciplinary approach in addressing the research hypothesis. Hence the accepted candidates can veer away from the current projects of the lab (see project description below). I value field and lab research equally well.
Position description: Applications are sought from motivated individuals interested to undertake basic, multidisciplinary research focusing on ecophysiology of invasive plant species in a USDA-funded project. This work is primarily focused on understanding the mechanisms of resource foraging in plant species invading resource-limited habitats.
Along with the ecosystem-level processes (litter decomposition and nutrient cycling), the project focuses on specific mechanisms that drive these processes, including the influence of litter chemistry, the associated microbial compositional shifts and allelopathy. The highlight of the project is to understand the physiology of root exudation and the role of exudates in facilitating nutrient acquisition in resource-limited environments.
Additional possible research topics include, but are not limited to, ecophysiology of resource-foraging in clonal plant species, and fate and transport of plant secondary metabolites in soil. Students will have ample opportunity to creatively pursue their own hypothesis-driven research projects within these broader themes. Interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches are strongly encouraged.
Qualification sought: Independent-minded candidates with the ability to think critically across disciplines and with good problem-solving capacities will be given priority. The candidates seeking the position should have a good plant-science background or should be willing to learn advance courses in physiology, ecology and statistics at Clemson.
Candidates will have opportunity to learn and employ various analytical instrumentation techniques including spectroscopy (FTIR, NMR, mass-spectrometry), chromatography (GC, LC) and microscopy in their research. The candidates will also have opportunity to work in some of the current projects of the lab with Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, IL, utilizing Synchrotron μ-X-ray Fluorescence (μXRF) and μ-X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (μXAS).
If you are interested in our line of research and are willing to participate in our research activities contact us. Students will have opportunity to learn various research techniques and will gain first-hand experience in serious research.
We currently have position opening for a research technician. Candidates should have good plant science background. The position is ideal for students who want to gain ecological, physiological and analytical skills in plant biology, before moving on to graduate school. Contact us for details.