Assistant Professor in Evolution at Washington University in St. Louis!

IMG_5315 IMG_5215 IMG_5199 IMG_3088 IMG_3048 IMG_2960 IMG_0224We have an open position in evolutionary biology right here at Washington University in St. Louis! I hope you’ll apply! We are very excited about this and hope to welcome an excellent new colleague soon to our wonderful university, department, and program. I post the advertizement below. It will soon be up on Evoldir, Ecolog, in Science and all the places we find.

When I say the position is open, I mean it. We have no one in mind. In fact, I can think of only one time when a department I was in hired someone that I already knew. I think this is common in the US and not so common in many other countries. So please apply!

You may wonder about Wash U and the biology department and program in Ecology, Evolution and Population Biology (EEPB) and the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS). You may wonder about St. Louis. I’m here to tell you it is all wonderful! Otherwise we never would have moved here after 30 mostly great years at Rice University.

I love being in a biology department. My own research crosses traditional borders and has moved all over the place with time. In a general biology department, this is fine. What would I do if I had joined an entomology department and then wanted to change to microbes? But a general department only works with respect for all fields. It would not work if evolution were viewed poorly. It is not. No discipline is. Maybe it is a Midwest thing, but we all get along very well and support strength and balance. Our department is really great under the wise leadership of our chair, Kathy Miller.

We have a graduate program in Ecology, Evolution and Population Biology that transcends our department and includes people in the medical center and other departments. As part of an umbrella organization, the Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, we have a lot more resources to draw on. It is also really flexible. A grad student in any DBBS field can work in the lab of anyone whether they are in that program or not. And faculty can be in three program just for the asking. So I’m primary in EEPB (sorry about the acronyms, defined above), secondary in Genetics and Genomics, and tertiary in Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis. If I want to change this, I can. Most of our grad students are in EEPB, but we just had one from Genetics and Genomics rotate through our lab.

Another thing I really like about Wash U is all the programs that support undergrads. I’ll just talk about the research ones. We had a great summer student who was an incoming freshman. She is joining our lab group after a successful summer project. Other programs also bring in students for the summer. There is a very competent infrastructure for this.

I love St. Louis. Love it! We have the best symbol for any city, the arch! We have Metro and can take the train to the arch or to the airport, for example.  The farmer’s market, Soulard, was begun in 1779. The zoo and the art museum are free. We have a huge park, Forest Park with ice skating, sledding, plays, picnics, ponds, restaurants, even golf. We are historic, with lots of quaint brick buildings. We have antiques cheaper than Memphis, and great restaurants and bars. We have a very active bunch of theaters, from the Fabulous Fox which brings in things like Book of Mormon to small theaters like the Gaslight and St. Louis Actor’s Studio.

We can get out of town easily. We have a modest ski hill half an hour away. We have hiking trails and national forests with camping, streams for canoeing, and great biological diversity. Wash U has a several thousand acre field station only half an hour away, Tyson. We have great bird watching, close by.

We have some really really big rivers! We have a little winter, not too much. We have really fertile soil for vegetable gardens. I dug up nearly the whole back yard.

We are inexpensive. I can walk to campus!

So, the ad is below. Please apply!

Washington University in St. Louis

Department of Biology


The Department of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis is pleased to invite applications for a faculty position in Evolution at the Assistant Professor level.  We will consider candidates from any area of evolutionary biology including but not restricted to behavioral, ecological, environmental, genetic, genomic, molecular, or systematic evolution.

Qualifications include a Ph.D. degree and strong research, mentoring, and teaching credentials.   Competitive start-up funding, laboratory development resources and ancillary support commensurate with the candidate’s needs and resource availability accompany this position.

The successful candidate will contribute to research, mentoring, and teaching at graduate and undergraduate levels. She or he will develop an exciting, externally funded, and internationally recognized research program. Duties include classroom teaching, student advising, research and writing for publication, and university service.  We offer a collaborative, intellectually stimulating, and supportive environment in which a new professor can thrive. We are strongly committed to openness and diversity and have a very welcoming climate that spans biological research areas. For further information on the Department of Biology, see 

To apply, please collate the following into a single pdf file: cover letter, curriculum vitae, and no more than four pages total on research, mentoring, and teaching.  Please send pdfs of 3 publications and arrange to have 3 letters of reference sent in support of your application.  All application information should be sent electronically to: Joan Strassmann ( is chair of the search committee.

Please see to it that we have your application and supporting material by 15 October 2013, though we may accept later material as needed to achieve a successful outcome to this search.

Washington University is committed to excellence through diversity, and we particularly encourage applications from persons from underrepresented groups. Washington University is an Affirmative Action Employer.

About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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3 Responses to Assistant Professor in Evolution at Washington University in St. Louis!

  1. Liz says:

    Hear, hear!

  2. One nice but subtle touch in the job ad: “she or he” rather than the more commonly used reverse (see for search frequency, for example). I try do to the same thing in writing in the hopes that it shifts expectations (since “A or B” could be read as “A (or [even] B)”). There are of course bigger issues facing women in science than word order, but maybe this helps a little bit in changing the culture.

  3. Rebecca Clark says:

    I’ve been scrutinizing job ads this year, and when I read the one for this job, I thought to myself, “This is a particularly well-written one that does one of the best jobs I’ve seen so far of encouraging a diverse group of individuals to apply.” Have you blogged yet about writing effective job advertisements that encourage a diverse array of applicants? This still strikes me as a point where well-qualified but underrepresented minorities drop out, partly due to a lack of encouragement.

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