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The Wilbanks lab is a new group and we are currently recruiting at all career stages: undergrads, research assistants, graduate students (Ph.D. / Master's), and postdoctoral fellows.   


We are staunchly committed to creating an equitable and inclusive research group representative of the communities (from local to international) who support our work and benefit from our research.


Research projects during the school year are facilitated through UCSB FRAP; see listings under EEMB and the Marine Science Institute. Summer undergraduate research opportunities are occasionally available. Please contact Lizzy to discuss and provide a description of course history and why you are specifically the work we do and your goals in joining our group.   

During the year, you have the option to conduct research for credit. There are several possible routes for this: EEMB 84/184 (Internship in Biological Sciences), EEMB 99 (Introduction to Research), EEMB 197 (Directed Studies), EEMB 199 (Independent Studies).  Read more about these options here, as the appropriate course to register for depends on whether you have lower- or upper-division standing, your major, GPA, and previous course work.  After getting approval from Lizzy, follow up with the undergraduate Biology advisers regarding registration details.

We recognize that volunteer research positions can cause financial hardships for students with full course loads and other part-time jobs.  We are committed to making research experiences in our group accessible to undergraduates, regardless of their financial means, and offer the option of paid positions or work study whenever funds allow.  

Some funding opportunities for undergraduates are listed here, but there are many more!

Summer research fellowships that can provide summer stipends for work in our lab (a woefully incomplete list!):


We are currently searching for postdoctoral fellows to lead projects on marine aggregates and biofilms.  Research experience in marine microbiology is desired; however, creative, interdisciplinary thinkers are also encouraged to apply.  The successful candidate will have technical expertise in one or more of the following areas: microscopy, fluorescence in situ hybridization, bioinformatics, microsensor geochemistry.  Prospective fellows should contact me to discuss specific areas of interest or project ideas and discuss funding opportunities (see below).


Current graduate students interested in pursuing postdoctoral work in the lab are encouraged to contact me as early as possible to discuss potential projects and explore funding opportunities (see list below).

Join us overview

I will be accepting 1-2 graduate students to start in Fall 2018 at either the Master’s or Ph.D. level.  Please note that graduate students must have some form of prior research experience. 


Prospective students should begin by looking through this website carefully, and then reading through relevant papers of interest.  Then, email me directly and include:  1) your CV, 2) an overview of your research interests, 3) why you are specifically interested in joining our group.

Applications are due in mid-December, but the sooner I hear from you, the better.

Graduate Programs

I can accept students through either the Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB) graduate program or the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science (IGPMS). I encourage students to learn more about the two options, and afterwards I am happy to share my perspectives on the different opportunities. Applications are due in mid-December

Graduate Student Support

I am fully committed to providing support and financial security to my students during their graduate studies. I take my job as your mentor and sponsor very seriously.  Your tuition and full-time stipend throughout your time at UCSB will be supported by a variety of sources which may include department funds, my grants and start-up funds, your independent fellowships, and teaching assistantships.


Students are required to actively identify and pursue independent funding opportunities, such as research grants and graduate fellowships, at appropriate times throughout their studies.  The reasons for this requirement are more important than just our lab’s financial bottom line: it hones both your scientific ideas and your writing skills, and helps establish your intellectual independence early in your career.  I will mentor you through the different stages of this process, from researching appropriate opportunities (look below for a start), to researching and brainstorming your ideas, to proposal writing and editing. 

Graduate Fellowships
For incoming & first year students

Note – deadline for submission is mid October and NSF GRFP has recently made it such that you may only apply once after entering grad school.  However, this limit does not apply to applications submitted BEFORE entering your Ph.D. program (e.g. right now, while you’re applying to grad schools).


This makes it particularly advantageous for you to submit a strong proposal along with your graduate applications. Contact Lizzy to discuss opportunities for mentorship on these fellowship applications.

Career development opportunities (under construction!)
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