Drosophila labs at KU are recruiting graduate students for Fall 2020

KU Drosophila Biology Graduate Student Recruitment for Fall 2020

Drosophila research labs in the departments of Molecular Biosciences (MB) and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) at the University of Kansas seek talented applicants for graduate admission to begin study in the Fall of 2020. Our strengths include evolutionary and quantitative genetics, behavior and development with labs working on specific projects including genetic conflict, mating behavior, the genetics of complex traits, the evolution of immunity and limb development.

Faculty members:

Applicants to the EEB program (https://eeb.ku.edu/prospective-students) are admitted directly to work with a specific advisor while applicants to the MB program (https://molecularbiosciences.ku.edu/graduate-program-faqs) complete a rotation cycle before choosing a laboratory. Interested candidates should peruse the MB faculty website (https://molecularbiosciences.ku.edu/faculty) and the EEB faculty website (https://eeb.ku.edu/faculty) and contact the department or specific faculty members for more information.

Application materials can be found at:

Molecular Biosciences - http://molecularbiosciences.ku.edu/admissions
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - https://eeb.ku.edu/how-apply

Deadlines for Fall 2019 admission:

Molecular Biosciences - December 1, 2019
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - December 1, 2019

EEB and MB are both diverse departments ranging from ecosystem ecology to biophysics with significant interaction within and between groups.

About KU:

The University of Kansas is located in Lawrence, KS, less than an hour from Kansas City. Lawrence, Kansas is a terrific place to live, with a vibrant downtown, fantastic restaurants, lively arts scene, and beautiful rural scenery. The KU campus is an exciting, beautiful, invigorating environment with highly active research faculty.

Unckless lab goes to the 2019 Midwest Population Genetics meeting

Tom Hill, Jo Chapman and Rob Unckless attended the Midwest Population Genetics meeting in August 2019. Both Tom and Jo gave great talks and Tom won the award for best postdoc talk. Congratulations Tom!

We are hiring!

Postdoctoral position in the Unckless Lab at the University of Kansas

We invites applications for a postdoctoral position that will focus on the evolution of immune peptides. We recently found that several Drosophila antimicrobial peptides show signatures of balancing selection (the adaptive maintenance of multiple alleles). This position would involve dissecting the mechanisms of balancing selection on these peptides using a combination of approaches including population genetics (examining signatures of balancing selection on immune genes), genetics (allele replacement using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing with subsequent fitness and infection assays), microbiology (minimum inhibitory concentrations, zone of inhibition assays) and biochemistry (structural and functional studies using circular dichroism, NMR, etc.). The goal is to understand how balancing selection maintains alleles from the ecological to the biochemical level.

Please see the Opportunities page for more information.

Several new papers and preprints from the lab

Members of the lab have published or posted preprints for several papers in the last month or two…


  • Hill, T, BS Koseva and RL Unckless. 2019. The genome of Drosophila innubila reveals lineage-specific patterns of selection in immune genes. Molecular Biology and Evolution Advanced access. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msz059 (link to MBE)

  • Zanders, SE and RL Unckless. 2019. Fertility costs of meiotic drivers. Current Biology 29:R512-R520. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.03.046. (link to Current Biology)

  • Duxbury, EML, JP Day, DM Vespasiani, Y Thüringer, I Tolosana, SCL Smith, L Tagliaferri, A Kamacioglu, I Lindsley, L Love, RL Unckless, FM Jiggins, B Longdon. 2019. Host-pathogen coevolution increases genetic variation in susceptibility to infection. eLife. 8:e46440. doi: 10.7554/eLife.46440. (link to eLife)


  • Hill, T, and RL Unckless. 2019. A Simple Deep Learning Approach for Detecting Duplications and Deletions in Next-Generation Sequencing Data. bioRXiV 657361. doi: 10.1101/657361. (link to bioRXiV)

  • Hill, T. 2019. Transposable element dynamics are consistent across the Drosophila phylogeny, despite drastically differing content. bioRXiV 651059. doi: 10.1101/651059. (link to bioRXiV)