Prospective Students

Dear prospective student or postdoctoral researcher,

Thank you for your interest in our research group. I am very interested in photosynthesis, how light interacts with living things and about membrane transport processes in general. My laboratory uses the tools of molecular genetics to answer fundamental questions in plant biology. I have been working on the algal CO2 concentrating mechanism (CCM) for a long time, and it is gratifying to now apply what we have discovered about the CCM to improve crop plants. I am interested in working with people who share these interests.

What are you interested in? Are you genuinely interested in plant science? Are you curious about how living things work? Are you persistent? I think being curious and persistent are two of the most important traits of a successful scientist. There are always long days and disappointing results to slog through before that exciting discovery is made. I am also looking for people who want to make a difference and are not afraid to say so.

What would I expect of you? In my mind, graduate school and your time doing postdoctoral research is about becoming an independent scientist, learning about your field (and as much as possible in related fields), being aware of emerging ideas and approaches, generating interesting yet answerable questions about how life works, and sharing your findings with others. All of these things require self-motivation and organization.

To succeed, then, I would expect you to read broadly in the literature, attend and present at scientific meetings and departmental seminars, and devote yourself to learning the analyses and laboratory techniques that are the tools of this trade. I will expect you to hone your oral and written communications skills. I also expect you to be a good colleague and to help maintain lab morale by contributing intellectually to the projects of others.

What can I offer you? I have extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of photosynthesis and I am still passionate about research. I can usually point you in the right direction if you are looking for something in the scientific literature. Our research is funded, and my group collaborates with some of the best photosynthesis researchers on the planet. In addition, most of my former students are still scientists, either running their own projects in academia, working with a government agency such as NASA or the USDA or working in industry.

Are we a good fit? If you think so, please contact me.


Jim Moroney