Post-Docs & Senior Scientists

At present, we are especially interested in people with expertise in one or more of these areas: ribozyme selection and analysis, biophysical approaches to RNA structure and RNA-protein interactions, cell SELEX, and targeted oligonucleotide delivery in vivo. Interested individuals in other related areas are also encouraged to apply.

To apply, send cv and letter of inquiry to Dr. Burke. Don't spam me generic letters. Tell me what questions, research areas and training opportunities you wish to explore in my group at the University of Missouri, and what it is about these areas that resonates with you. Also please provide contact information for 2 to 4 people who can comment meaningfully on your creativity and research potential.

While having your own fellowship is not a pre-requisite, it gives you greater flexibility and adds important distinction to your dossier. Postdoctoral fellowships are available from the NIH (Ruth L. Kirschstein F32 program) and various private foundations. In addition, because our lab has funding from NASA (Exobiology), they are also available through the NASA Astrobiology Postdoc Program.

Graduate Students

PhD students enter my lab from three different graduate programs: Molecular Pathogenesis and Therapeutics (MPT), the Department of Biochemistry, and the Genetics Area Program (GAP). MPT is a joint program encompassing both the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in the MU School of Medicine and the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology in the MU School of Veterinary Medicine. GAP is a campus-wide program in Genetics. I expect to take on one or two new PhD students each year, including the 2014-2015 academic year.

Fundamentally a PhD is about putting yourself at the frontier of knowledge and moving that frontier forward. Although the programs differ in the details of their degree requirements, you should expect to take classes your first two years, to write several grant proposals, to transition from classroom-based learning to getting your information from research seminars and the primary literature, and to spend most of your time developing your original research.

To apply, visit the home pages of the programs above, decide which one best matches your goals and preparations, and submit your application through their respective sites. Successful applicants usually have a strong combination of overall GPA, appropriate science-related courses, GRE scores, significant undergraduate research experience, and letters that provide additional details on these elements. For applicants currently in the US, most of the leading candidates will be invited by their respective program to visit campus during the campus-wide Joint Recruiting Weekend, which is usually either the last Friday/Saturday of January or the first Friday/Saturday of February.

Undergraduate Interns

Undergraduates are a vital part of our overall team, providing both research and infrastructural support. I pair undergrads with senior members of the lab, and often also with other undergrads. Working in teams encourages everyone to support and learn from each other and to strengthen their communication and time management skills. Because undergrads are fully integrated into the process of designing, carrying out, and analyzing original research, reliability, reproducibility, attention to detail and communication are paramount.

To apply, contact Dr. Burke. Also contact the MU Office of Undergraduate Research and your home department to inquire about potential sources of funding through campus programs such as LS-UROP, EXPRESS and McNair Scholars.

High School Students

For the last few years, our research team has included exceptional students from Rock Bridge and Hickman High School who work half-to full-time during the summer before their senior year and up to around 10 hours per week during the school year.

To apply, contact Dr. Burke. Also contact your guidance counselor and science teachers, so that they can provide additional guidance on how best to integrate your MU research experience into your college application process.

Technical Staff

We are not currently looking to hire technical staff. Check back with us in 3-6 months.