Join Us

Are you interested in joining the lab? Here are some tips for how we would like to hear from you and the kinds of opportunities we have available.


We typically have a substantial group of undergraduate researchers in the laboratory – ranging from the starting level of assisting with basic projects or aquarium care to fully independent undergraduate research projects.  We advertise our open positions at this site and also through the Muser (founded by our lab – read more about this effort here!).  For students interested in working in the laboratory whether paid or unpaid, the best way to get in touch with us is through an introductory email.  Yes, we’re old-fashioned, but we like a professional email, proofread, polite, properly addressed and signed off.  Tell us a little bit about yourself and why an experience in this particular laboratory is important for your interests and training.  You don’t need to have had any experience in a laboratory – we look for motivation, curiosity, commitment and a basic appreciation for the fact that this is a professional research laboratory designed to train future scientists and develop publishable work.  We will let you know if positions are available and possibly schedule a time to meet.

Graduate students:

We are actively looking for potential graduate students to join the lab.  A good starting point for applying to this laboratory is to send an email introducing yourself, your previous research experience and with a resume or CV attached.  We only seriously consider graduate student applicants if they have had at least one substantial independent research experience.  Diving into a graduate research program without any independent research experience is too risky…so we encourage you to search out meaningful experiences and tell us about them when you apply.  We expect applicants to make a substantial attempt to search out supplemental funding, for example through a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship or other similar fellowship opportunities.  If you do not receive a fellowship, this does not preclude acceptance to the laboratory; however, applying for these funds is a good indicator of your commitment to joining the laboratory and a genuine interest in scientific research.

Our goal is to train graduate students to become independent, high quality scientists.  Thus, while we encourage collaboration with other lab members and the PI, graduate students are expected to develop their own independent research project.  The research options are many and broad; we simply look for a project that falls somewhere under the umbrella of our laboratory’s research focus in mechanisms of communication, evolutionary origins, and evolutionary biomechanics of movement.  This profile of a former Patek Lab graduate student captures many of our approaches to graduate student training in our lab.

Postdoctoral researchers:

We are always interested in hearing from outstanding potential postdoctoral researchers.  The trick here is to find funding – not an easy thing these days.  If we do have funded positions available, the job advertisements will be posted at this site and disseminated through the major list-servs.  If you have ideas for collaborations with the laboratory, then the first step is to figure out funding possibilities.  This can be accomplished through collaborative grant proposals, postdoctoral fellowships and other funding options.