Superorganisms: From Genes to Ecosystems

Four diverse research programs in the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois that study social insects are joining forces to form a new training initiative for graduate students and postdoctoral associates. Our interests range broadly, from conservation and ecology to molecular phylogenetics to sociogenomics. We share an important goal: to use social insects in combination with cutting-edge techniques and theories to address some of the leading questions in biology today. We are building on our depth and breadth in social insect biology to launch this new initiative.

Our interest in these intriguing organisms fits well with an exciting new thrust in the biology of the post-genome era: a vigorous comparative organismal biology combined with integrative analyses of biological problems, employing the most recent tools in bioinformatics and genomics.

This training program will take place in an interactive and supportive research community that places great value on training graduate students and postdoctoral associates to meet the challenges of the modern biology. Special emphasis is placed on developing the conceptual and technical tools of integrative biology, with extensive opportunities to work in diverse labs. There are opportunities to study the organisms in their native environments, from Illinois to the Amazon Basin. We also provide special opportunities to enhance professional development skills, including scientific writing, public speaking, and obtaining grant funding. Support is available to qualified applicants through teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships.

All trainees will be able to benefit from an extraordinary range of expertise, outstanding state-of-the-art facilities, and excellent field sites, both temperate and tropical.

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