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Two 3-year postdoc positions available!

We have two postdoctoral positions! The first one has a deadline of 25 Jan 2024 (maybe extended in case enough applications are not received by then). The second position will open up soon. We are looking for highly motivated candidates with a proven track record in the form of good publications. There is a degree of flexibility in terms of the research questions. We work on various aspects of evolutionary ecology and behaviour. The preferred research themes are listed below. However, the postdoc(s) will have the flexibility of designing projects that complement existing research areas in the lab, or work on something new that enriches research in our group (see www.vanasiri/research)


- Anti-predatory strategies
- Life-history trait evolution
- Insect-plant interactions
- Phenotypic plasticity

We have used multiple model organisms, including insects, plants and reptiles. We do both field-based and lab-based research. However, butterflies are the main model system in the lab and the lab has good facilities for butterfly experimental work. Contact Ullasa for more information.

    Join our research team

Although research in our group is biased towards butterfly evolution, we are open to other questions in the broad field of evolutionary ecology. We currently work on several questions on taxa ranging from plants to insects. Students and postdocs joining the lab can work on current research themes or bring in new themes to our lab. Our campus is an excellent location for research in the ecology & evolution. You can get an idea of the scope of research in our lab by looking at current projects in the lab, my graduate and postdoctoral work, and publications. You can join our lab as a



PhD student

I encourage potential PhD students to contact me to express interest. Drop me an email with your CV and subject line 'Interested in a PhD with your group'. The ideal PhD candidate will be in touch with me before the formal interviews, and come up with a short research proposal which will allow me to evaluate the candidate better. The proposal can be fairly broad, but I will be more impressed if there are specific, testable hypotheses. The proposal is meant mainly for evaluation of the student, and need not necessarily be part of the PhD thesis eventually.

IISER TVM has two routes of admissions to its PhD programme.

1. 'Regular' route: Involves call for applications twice a year, for the Vasanth semester (starting Jan) and Varsha semester (starting Aug). You will have to apply directly to IISER TVM when the call for applications is open. Candidates will be shortlisted for interviews by the School of Biology. Interviews are usually in May-Jun and Oct-Nov. Shortlisting is based on multiple criteria, and qualification in one of the many national level entrance helps. Selections will be based on performance in the interviews and whether or not the candidate has their own fellowship. Selected candidates join at the beginning of the semester. More information available here.

2. 'Direct' route: Those with their own fellowships for a PhD programme- (CSIR-JRF, UGC-JRF, DBT-JRF, INSPIRE Fellowship, etc) can apply at any time of the year. You can write directly to me and in your email mention that you have your own fellowship. If I find you promising, I will forward your application to the School of Biology, and you will have to go through an interview to assess your candidature. If your application is approved, you can join at any time of the year.



Postdoctoral Fellow

Postdoctoral candidates can contact me directly with their CV and ideas for projects, under an email with subject 'Interested in a postdoc with your group'. Do keep in mind that it is highly unlikely that I will accept a postdoc without good papers as first author from the PhD period, or those who have taken too long (≫5 years) to complete their PhD. For postdoctoral applicants, I generally (but not always) ignore middle-author publications where I am not clear what exactly the contribution of the applicant was (this could be something as small as supplying a sample or collecting some data without intellectual participation, or something much more significant). In your mail, please mention what publications have resulted, or are expected in the next 6 months, from your PhD work. Obviously some projects take much longer than others and the quality of the paper in many cases depends on the duration of the study, all of which I take into account. But, I place a lot of emphasis on productivity per year. If you took ≫5 years to complete your PhD without publications commesurate with the time period, I will likely not consider you strongly.



Masters student (including IISER-TVM Major projects)

If you are an IISER-TVM student and want to do your Major project with me, send me an email with subject line 'Interested in doing my Major project with your group', along with a brief writeup of what research topic(s) you would like to work on, include a list of courses taken, with grades obtained.

I support Masters projects of students from other institutions only when I find the student exceptional. If interested, send me an email with subject line 'Interested in doing my Masters project with your group', along with a brief writeup of what research topic(s) you would like to work on. Include a list of courses taken, with grades obtained.



Semester student (including IISER-TVM Minor Project)

Undergraduate students, especially from IISER-TVM, keen to get some research experience during the semester are also welcome to contact me. When you write to me, use the subject line 'Interested in a semester project with your group', include a list of the courses taken with grades obtained, and a writeup about what you would like to work on.

IISER-TVM students who want to do their minor projects, folow the same instructions, but use the email subject line 'Interested in doing my minor project with your group'. Mention why you want to do your project in our lab.



Summer or Winter Intern

IISER-TVM has a summer internship program, which includes a scholarship for those without other funding. All interested students outside IISER-TVM, including those with independent funding, are encouraged to apply through this program. You are welcome to email me about your interest beforehand, with the subject 'Interested in a summer internship with your group', along with a writeup of what research question you would like to work on. but I will only be able to take a decision after all applications have landed in. Include a list of courses you have taken and grades obtained.

IISER-TVM students interested in summer internships can also write to me using the same subject line along with information about grades obtained, but do keep in mind that I may not be able take a decision until I go through all applications.

For students who want to do a winter internship, write to me with the subject 'Interested in a winter internship with your group'