All posts by mpespeni

Postdoc position in Molecular Genetics!

Join us in Vermont!

Postdoctoral Position: Genotype to Phenotype in Sea Urchins

The Pespeni lab is excited to hire a postdoc with expertise in molecular genetics and interests in evolutionary biology, linking genotype to phenotype, and working with marine invertebrates. Project possibilities are open, but we would be particularly excited to recruit someone with interest in validating/testing the function of putatively adaptive mutations identified in the model sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus.

Research in the Pespeni lab focuses on understanding the genetic bases of complex traits as well as the processes that maintain this functional genetic variation. We integrate studies of natural populations, where genetic and environmental variation is maximal, with studies in the lab, where genotypes and environmental conditions can be manipulated and controlled, respectively, to increase the power for causal inference. We work with sea urchins and copepods as models, each suited to address key gaps in understanding how evolution shapes the relationship between genotype, phenotype, and environment. We combine studies of genomic variation in the wild with experimental evolution and molecular validation in the lab. We are particularly interested in hiring a Postdoctoral Research Associate with molecular genetic expertise (e.g., reporter assays, CRISPR-Cas9) interested in linking genotype to phenotype to environmental conditions in non-traditional model organisms.

We, in the Pespeni lab, value the diversity of identities, perspectives, and lived experiences that each person brings to the group. We act with intention to nurture a collaborative and supportive environment where we can create, innovate, and thrive as individuals and as a collective. Individuals from diverse educational backgrounds (e.g., biology, mathematics, computer science, physics, environmental and health sciences), women, LGBTQIA+, first-generation college, veterans, and individuals with disabilities and from underrepresented racial, ethnic, gender, socio-economic and cultural groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

The position offers: 1) NIH Postdoctoral pay scale salary starting at $56,484 US plus benefits, 2) the opportunity to be a part of a stimulating, collaborative and collegial research group, department, and broader intellectual community at UVM, 3) the opportunity to mentor graduate and undergraduate students, guest lecture, and take advantage of other professional development trainings, and 4) the opportunity to work closely with the PI on mentoring, data analysis, and writing grants and papers. 

Required Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. by the time of start date.
  • Skills in one or more of the following fields: genetics, biology, evolutionary biology, genomics, population genetics, computational biology, bioinformatics, data science, or marine biology. 
  • The successful candidate will also have excellent writing and personal communication skills, a demonstrated desire and ability to publish in peer reviewed journals, ability to work in a team or individually, and a commitment to open, reproducible science.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience manipulating gene expression or function using molecular genetic tools in any organism.
  • Experience working with non-traditional model organisms.
  • Genomics, bioinformatics skills.

Initial appointment will be for one year, with the possibility of extension for one or two additional years, contingent on performance and funding. Start date is preferably September 2023, but can be flexible. Remote work options are normally considered, but, due to the nature of the position, being based in Vermont is preferred.

To apply, e-mail a single PDF including a cover letter, a CV, and the names and contact information of three references to Dr. Pespeni ( with the subject: “GtoP Postdoctoral Application”. The cover letter should highlight your interest in the position, your relevant expertise with respect to required and preferred qualifications, project ideas as this position has flexibility, and your short- and long-term career goals. Review of applications will begin August 1, 2023. Informal inquiries prior to applying are welcome.

Welcome Reid Brennan!

Reid Brennan just started as a postdoc in our group!  Welcome, Reid!  Reid is coming from UC Davis where he did his PhD with Andrew Whitehead studying adaptation to salinity in killifish.  He’ll be studying the adaptive capacity of copepods to multiple global change stressors using multi-gene selection experiments with genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, and fitness measures!

New Postdoc Position Available – Evolutionary/Ecological Genomics of Adaption in Copepods

The Pespeni Lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Vermont is looking to hire a postdoctoral fellow in ecological and evolutionary genomics using copepods in the genus Acartia as a model. The successful candidate will join an NSF-funded collaborative team focused on revealing potential genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of adaptation to elevated temperature and CO2 in a warm-adapted and a cold-adapted copepod species. Full-factorial multi-generation selection experiments are running in the lab of PI Hans Dam, with Co-PIs Hannes Baumann and Michael Finiguerra, at the University of Connecticut. PI Pespeni and Co-PIs are looking for applicants with expertise and interest in genomics and evolutionary biology to participate in this exciting research.

Required qualifications: Ph.D. by the time of start date in one of the following fields: evolutionary biology, genomics, population genetics, zooplankton ecology, and marine biology. Excellent communication and organizational skills.

Preferred qualifications:

– Experience generating, analyzing, and/or integrating large datasets – whole genome sequencing, transcriptome sequencing, bisulfite sequencing (or similar).

– Experience with selection experiments.

– Strong quantitative, statistical, and computational skills. Fluency in Python or Perl, and R.

– Strong written and oral communication skills.

Ideal applicants will be creative, highly motivated, and enthusiastic! They will be able to work independently and as part of a collaborative team. The fellow can expect to be a part of a supportive research environment, have the opportunity to mentor students, and work closely with the PI.

Initial appointment will be for one year, with the possibility of extension for one or two additional years, contingent on performance and funding. The salary will be commensurate with experience. Start date is preferably June 2017, but flexible.

To apply, e-mail a single PDF including a cover letter, a CV, and the names and contact information of three references to Dr. Pespeni (, with the subject line as “Postdoctoral application “. Review of applications will begin in the beginning of April and continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Informal inquiries prior to application are welcome.

Burlington is a hip, little city surrounded by the lakes and mountains of northern Vermont. The area thrives on local food, international culture, and outdoor activities year-round.