I am always interested to hear from motivated students interested in developing research projects together
My goal as your advisor is to facilitate your development as a clear-thinking, independent scientist. To this end I expect lab members to take ownership of their project, to engage in the broader intellectual life of the lab and department, and to take responsibility for teaching themselves many of the skills they will need to develop. Doing these will greatly enrich your experience here. My job is to guide you through this process and help you develop deep research questions, creative approaches to answering them, and strong quantitative and communication skills. I will help you forge connections with the broader research community, and try never to be the rate-limiting step in your progress.
Some weeks are crazier than others: if I don't respond to your email in a week please feel free to send a gentle reminder.
Academia does not always feel equally welcoming to everyone. You are welcome here. We study diversity and we value diversity. We have lab equity & inclusion guidelines that we built together and revisit as a group every year. We work hard to make our lab and department a safe, welcoming and supportive place for everyone across gender, language, race, sex, and culture.
It's never too early to get involved in research and undergraduates are a core part of our lab. Every year undergraduates contribute as volunteers (possible at any stage, usually helping a grad student with their project for a few hours a week), as paid research assistants (almost always in the summer, generally doing full-time field work), and doing their own research as an honours thesis or independent research project. I generally advise 1 to 2 full-year thesis students each academic year, and many work in the lab for the summer before or after their thesis collecting or publishing their data (to see the publications that have resulted from undergraduate theses, and the theses themselves, check out the 'people' page).
If you are interested in any of these, email me your CV, description of relevant experience, transcript (thesis/study students only), & research interests.
NOTE: I will be on sabbatical Jan to Dec 2023 so am not taking Honours thesis students for the 2022-2023 academic year
More info on undergraduate research at McGill (including USRA and SURA funding) here
Important dates (when to get in touch about what)
Volunteering - any time! Positions just depend on who is doing what at a given time
Summer hiring - late Jan/early Feb, in time for USRA and SURA applications. We try to advertise positions widely but you can also just email us around this time to find out more.
Honours theses - Jan ideally as some projects benefit from data collection during the summer. But feel free to inquire any time in the winter semester.
NOTE: I will be on sabbatical for 2023 so am not accepting new students to start in 2023. I will be looking for a graduate student to start in Jan 2024, as part of a NSERC-FRQNT alliance grant held by myself, Jenny McCune, and Mark Vellend, studying the Ecology and Conservation of Rare plants in southern Canada. See the ad for that position in english or francais, applications due late March. Here is some background about the overall project.
McGill Biology is a fantastic place to be a graduate student! Montreal is a vibrant, student-friendly city, McGill is a world class university, and the Biology department in particular has a thriving research community with >20 professors working in Conservation, Ecology & Evolution.
Here is some information to get you started:
Graduate student supervision at McGill (this link leads to many good resources)
Longer explanation of how acceptance works
Then email me to get in touch! In your email, please be sure to include:
a) your research experience and interests
b) why you are interested in my lab in particular
c) your longer term career goals (important in picking the right project)
d) your CV and transcripts
e) when you are hoping to start
Note: Unfortunately I cannot accept MSc students unless they qualify for Quebec tuition rates or secure a scholarship that covers the tuition differential. For non-QC Canadian students that means NSERC or equivalent, for international students that means a merit-based scholarship from your home country that covers either tuition or living expenses (see below).
For a September start please contact me by Oct-Nov the year before (earlier is even better), as many application deadlines happen early. For a September start:
- FRQNT scholarship applications are due ~Oct 1 the year before you start
- NSERC scholarship applications are due ~Dec 1 the year before you start (earlier for PhD)
- International tuition waiver nominations are due ~Jan
- Departmental scholarship nominations are due ~Jan
January starts are also possible.
Grad student Funding
Biology grad students are guaranteed a minimum stipend + enough to cover tuition (which varies depending on whether students are from Quebec, rest of Canada, or abroad). Usually students are expected to contribute at least some of this amount via scholarships. If scholarships fall short of the minimum support level, advisors top students up to the minimum level using their research grants. Grants are finite. They must also cover fieldwork, conferences, field assistant salaries, publication fees etc, and one year of paying a single student's complete stipend + tuition eats up almost half of the average early career NSERC grant. So all students are expected to apply for all eligible funding sources, and acceptance is often contingent on having some external funding.
Potential funding sources include:
- NSERC (mostly open to Canadians only, but Vanier scholarships are open to all)
- FQRNT (some are only open to Quebec residents)
- Leadership-based McGill scholarship for MSc students
- Tuition reductions for international PhD students (nominations follow application to the Biology program).
Link to grad student funding opportunities at McGill
Link to funding opportunities specifically for international students/postdocs
The minimum stipend is a baseline salary, but is not intended as a stand-alone salary. Most students will want to take on teaching assistant (TA) opportunities to supplement the minimum stipend. Students must apply for TA positions, and the deadlines to apply are earlier than you expect: April for fall positions and May for winter positions (though there are often still positions available later, late applicants have fewer choices of courses). Incoming students need to apply as soon as they are officially accepted.
More information is on the Biology webpage: Info about Biology TA positions
Jan 2023: As part of a team grant on thermal physiology of arctic birds, we are looking for a co-supervised postdoc. We want someone who can create an SDM of two arctic bird species that incorporates data on thermal physiology (measured in lab and field) and fitness over many years of study. Here is the ad in French and English for more details and how to apply.
Email me so we can discuss how our research interests align and potential projects. I do not currently have funding to pay an entire postdoc salary, so postdocs would have to bring most of their funding independently. Here are some links to get you started:
- National & provincial postdoc funding options
- PBEEE funding for foreign postdocs (applications due July)
- LiberEro postdoc. For people interested in conservation, this is a fantastic option. These are open to anyone regardless of citizenship but require a non-academic partner, so project design needs to start well in advance of the application deadline (applications due in fall