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 (mpespeni@uvm.edu), 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.

Lab Apple Picking Trip!!

Version 2

We went apple picking at the Shelburne Orchards, then took the loot to our house to make delicious apple pie and apple crisp and share in a potluck lunch!!!  It was a gorgeous Fall day; notice the Adirondack mountains in the background.

Top row: April Makukhov, Melanie Lloyd, Heidi Hargarten, and Melissa Pespeni.  Bottom row: Aurelia Lockwood.


Heidi Hargarten (foreground) and Melanie Lloyd (window seat) just joined the lab as our first technician and postdoc, respectively!  Welcome!  ….and we’re off!!!IMG_5988

Hiring an Evolutionary Genomics Lab Tech!

The Pespeni Lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Vermont is looking to hire an exceptionally motivated, organized, and skilled individual to work as a population genomics technician in our new research lab. We use genomics, developmental biology, and physiology to understand the underpinnings of resilience and vulnerability of marine species in the context of complex natural ecosystems, particularly changing climate conditions.

The technician will assist the PI in managing the lab and conducting research, with the opportunity for co-authorship on scientific publications.            Specific duties will include ordering supplies and equipment, maintaining equipment, processing samples for genetic and physiology assays, microscopy, preparing RNA and DNA samples for sequencing, performing basic data analyses, training students, and maintaining an organized, safe and productive lab environment. The lab offers an exciting, integrative and supportive work environment, with opportunities to be involved in a wide range of research projects.

Minimum qualifications:

– A bachelor’s degree in a related field or an equivalent combination of education and relevant experience in population genetics, molecular biology, or molecular ecology

– Experience preparing reagents/buffers, gel electrophoresis, and PCR

– Exceptional organizational skills and strong ability to accomplish tasks independently

– Ability to master detailed laboratory procedures

– Excellent communication and computer skills

– The ability to lift at least thirty pounds


Preferred Qualifications

– Experience with aquaculture of marine organisms either as a hobbyist or professionally

– Familiarity with scientific computing languages such as R, Python, or Perl, and working on command line

– Strong knowledge in evolutionary biology and marine biology

To apply, please visit the University of Vermont Jobs website https://www.uvmjobs.com/ and search for Posting # S231PO. Please submit a resume, three (3) letters of reference, and a cover letter that highlights your previous experience in the laboratory. Review of applicants will begin immediately and continue until position is filled. The position will ideally begin in May.

This is a full-time position, initially appointed for a period of 12 months with benefits. The position can be extended for at least one year depending on performance.

Please contact Melissa Pespeni (mpespeni@uvm.edu) if you have any questions.

Welcome to the Pespeni Lab!

The Pespeni Lab is starting at the University of Vermont (UVM)!

In the Pespeni Lab, we aim to better understand the processes that generate and impact the incredible biodiversity that exists on this planet, particularly in the contexts of complex natural ecosystems and rapidly changing climatic conditions. To make connections between genes, phenotypes and the environment, we integrate genomics, population genetics, developmental genetics, physiology, and ecology using natural populations in both field- and lab-based investigations. Conceptually, our research addresses integrative questions in evolutionary biology, ecological genomics, and global change biology, with an eye toward conservation.  Our models systems to explore these questions to date are sea urchins, copepods, and horned beetles.

Come back soon – this website is evolving!