October 06, 2015

Jeanette Grider

Philip and Sima K. Needleman Endowed Doctoral Fellowship Announced

The Missouri Botanical Garden and Saint Louis University have announced a new, five-year endowed doctoral fellowship in plant conservation genetics/genomics and are currently inviting applications. The fellowship starts in August 2016.

The Philip and Sima K. Needleman Doctoral Fellowship is made possible by a generous gift to the Missouri Botanical Garden from Philip and Sima K. Needleman to support training of a doctoral student working the field of plant conservation genetics/genomics. The prestigious Needleman Fellowship will provide stipend and health insurance for one doctoral student enrolled in the Department of Biology at Saint Louis University for a five-year period.

The position includes a full tuition scholarship from SLU. The Fellow will be co-advised by Christine Edwards, Ph.D., conservation geneticist at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and Allison Miller, Ph.D., associate professor at SLU and research associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Needleman Fellow will develop a dissertation project focused on plant diversity, evolution and conservation and will work closely with scientists at the Missouri Botanical Garden and at the University. In addition, the student will be encouraged to build on existing research ties between SLU, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Danforth Plant Science Center, and other institutions, with the goal of gaining a breadth of training in cutting-edge approaches in the plant sciences.

"This is a terrific opportunity for a student interested in plant conservation genetics and genomics to conduct research at one of the premier botanical gardens in the world," said Allison Miller. "MBG conservation geneticist Christy Edwards and I have a great working relationship. Together with members of our respective labs, we meet weekly to review recent advances in plant evolutionary biology and conservation. Currently, we have a successful ongoing project focused on conservation genetics in the persimmon/ebony genus (Diospyros) and are looking to expand into new areas."

Olga Martha Montiel, vice president of the Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development at the Missouri Botanical Garden, also commented on the new collaboration.

"We at MBG are thrilled with this partnership, which presents a perfect opportunity to train the next generation of conservation geneticists. Building capacity for conservation is one of the most important contributions we at MBG can make for conservation and this collaboration present an exciting opportunity to put together the resources of two preeminent institutions in the city to accomplish this."

Suitable candidates will be passionate about plant evolutionary biology, diversity and conservation. They must have completed an undergraduate and possibly Master's degrees in agronomy, biology, botany, conservation, ecology and evolutionary biology, ecology, forestry or related fields prior to the start date. Research experience, including both field and laboratory work, is strongly desired. To be considered for the Needleman Fellowship candidates must meet the requirements of SLU's graduate degree program in biology (see and be accepted into the program.

For more information about this position, and to discuss specific project ideas, please contact Christine Edwards (Christine.Edwards@mobot.org) and Allison Miller (amille75@slu.edu). Applicants are strongly encourage contact with Drs. Edwards and Miller prior to application.

Start date: August 1, 2016

To apply: Applications for the Saint Louis University Biology graduate program must be received by January 1, 2016. To apply for admission, candidates should follow the instructions on the Saint Louis University Biology graduate degree program website and submit a personal goal statement, current resume or CV, names and email addresses for three referees who have agreed to submit letters of recommendation, official transcripts, GRE (General) and TOEFL exams (if first language is not English), and application fee. To be considered for the Needleman Endowed Doctoral Fellowship in plant conservation genetics, applicants must include a detailed section in their goals statement explaining why the applicant is a strong candidate for the fellowship. All application materials must be submitted to Saint Louis University's centralized admissions office for Graduate Education.

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