Graduate Student Assistantship in Bioinformatics / Systematics

Fri May 15 15:17:14 CDT 1998

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     The attached simple ASCII file (position.txt) contains the text of a
newly available graduate student assistantship in Bioinformatics /  Insect
or terrestrial arthropod systematics. Please distribute this announcement
to any individuals that you think may be qualified and interested.
Thank You,
John D. Oswald   (j-oswald at
Department of Entomology
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2475

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[Faculty Members, please distribute the following announcement to any
appropriate finishing undergraduate or masters students. To ensure broad
distribution, this announcement has been posted to several lists. Consequently,
you may receive multiple cross-postings. Sorry!, but this is unavoidable.]


FIELD: Insect Systematics / Biological Informatics

INSTITUTION: Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station,
Texas, USA

AVAILABLE: Immediately, must be filled for Fall Semester 1998 (beginning 31
August 1998)

LEVEL: M.S. or Ph.D.

TAXON SPECIALIZATION: Open (insects or related terrestrial arthropods)

FUNDING SOURCE: Texas Advanced Research Projects Grant
FUNDING DURATION: Firm funding through 31 December 1999

BACKGROUND AND POSITION DESCRIPTION: An exceptional opportunity currently exists
for a student with interests in both insect systematics and its interface with
computer science - the growing field of biological informatics or
bioinformatics. We seek a student who is interested in classical systematics
topics (revisionary studies, phylogeny, biogeography, etc.) and who is also
committed to the application of modern computer technologies to the storage,
organization, analysis and distribution of systematics data through the
development of databases, web sites and related digital means. The successful
candidate for this position will pursue systematics studies on a group of
insects or related terrestrial arthropods of their choice while working half-
time (20 hr/wk) as part of a team developing software to support a web-based
entomological interface for the distribution of information on the insects and
related arthropods of Texas. As part of this project, the incumbent will
initially develop database applications for the Texas A&M University Insect
Collection (in Microsoft Access), and will later work to link these applications
and/or data to the WWW. Work on this project is being undertaken in close
association with the Texas A&M University Bioinformatics Working Group (TAMU
BWG), a group of biological (entomological and botanical) and computer
scientists with shared interests in the application of digital technologies to
the collection, management and distribution of biological data. Samples of
current and past projects of the TAMU BWG can be viewed at The active participation in the
TAMU BWG of faculty, staff and students from the departments of Computer
Science, Biology, Entomology and Rangeland Ecology and Management ensures
interdisciplinary interactions that bridge the biological and computer sciences,
and provides significant opportunities for biological scientists to develop
expertise on the computer science side of the bioinformatics equation.

Strong candidates for this position will possess the following characteristics:

(1) a well-developed interest in the systematics of a group of insects or
related terrestrial arthropods;
(2) some level of prior experience in the development of databases and database
applications (preferably in Microsoft Access) related to systematics studies or
to insect/arthropod research collections;
(3) some level of prior experience in any (or all) of the following computer
languages: html, cgi scripts, Perl, C, Java, Java script

Because the taxonomic study group is open, the level of appropriate prior
experience in the development of systematics/collections-related database and/or
web products will be an important selection criterion for this position.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS: The selected candidate must meet the entrance
requirements and be accepted for graduate study in the Texas A&M University
Department of Entomology for the particular degree (M.S. or Ph.D.) that they

APPLICATION: Interested individuals should send a preliminary e-mail
inquiry/response to this announcement to the appropriate contact cited below.
This e-mail document should give the individual's background, interests and
career goals, and should clearly state his/her qualifications relevant to the
three desirable "characteristics" given above. References to supporting data,
particularly to web-sites (give URL's) or databases developed, are strongly
encouraged. In such cases, the applicant's particular contribution to each
project, and the programs/languages/techniques that she/he employed, should be
clearly stated to the extent that a reasonable assessment of the applicant's
knowledge and experience can be made.

SELECTION: Non-competitive applicants will be notified as soon as possible.
Critical evaluation of competitive applicants will begin on 15 June, and the
position will be filled as soon after 1 July as possible.

(before 16 June) Dr. John Leggett; e-mail: leggett at
(after 15 June) Dr. John D. Oswald; e-mail: j-oswald at


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