We try to get at the big picture by assembling information from smaller scales; you don’t have to work at all of these levels, but you have to think all of them are interesting and worthwhile. As a result, I look for students with broad interests and a passion for details.  Many prospective students may be excited about one part of our work, but find other aspects either uninteresting or intimidating. If you find molecular biology to be tedious or evolution to be soft, you won't like our lab. At the moment, we are moving toward combining some cutting edge tools — whole-brain imaging & automated cell counting, whole genome analyses of selection — with evolutionary and ecological analyses of behavior.


I look for evidence of a strong work ethic and independence – including an ability to seek out needed expertise and a willingness to press on when help is unavailable. Because our work is diverse, it is important that students work well on collaborative projects. Traits that help in collaboration include fastidiousness, curiosity, and a desire to see the best in others.


What are you looking for in a mentor? What kind of lab environment do you want? Do you want a graduate program with rotations? How much coursework would you like to do in graduate school?

Still interested? Please read a few of our papers. If you already have and you're not dissuaded, then perhaps you should put together a CV and write me an email introducing yourself (sphelps at mail . utexas . edu). Looking forward to hearing from you!