Research Opportunities in the Sork Lab


Students who would like to conduct independent study in our lab can consider projects in one of the topics below. Students normally begin by assisting in an ongoing project and then advance to more independent study.

  • Stephanie_greenhouseGenomics and bioinformatics of oak populations (lab and computer)
  • Conservation genetics of oaks: lab work (DNA extractions, Polymerase Chain Reactions) and field work (sampling oaks from various natural populations)
  • Foraging behavior of jays and woodpeckers: fieldwork
  • Pollination biology in desert or tropical ecosystems: fieldwork
  • Tropical seed dispersal: fieldwork and labwork
  • Database development, data management and workflow design (lab)
  • Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) providence study at the Institute for Forest Genetics in Placerville, CA: fieldwork and labwork.

: Coursework in ecology, evolution, and/or experience with field research, molecular techniques, or bioinformatics.

In addition to independent study, we have a limited number of funded positions available. To check for availability, please email


International Visitors

Oak_seedling_Measuring_Placerville_2Our lab has a strong tradition of international scientists, postdocs, and doctoral students who visit the lab for 2-12 months to collaborate on specific research projects. Normally, these visits are funded by the visitor, with research support from Victoria Sork.

If interested, please email




Postdoctoral scholarstubes_and_leaves


We have a post-doc opening to join an oak genomics project funded by the NSF Plant Genome
Research Program to provide a complete, high-quality sequence of the valley oak genome with
structural and functional annotations of genic regions and repetitive elements. The project will
develop and implement innovative genome assembly tools for the valley oak genome using
PacBio sequencing. The postdoc for this position will play a major role in the annotation
component of the project and will also conduct gene expression experiments with the goal of
improving identification, validation, and annotation of genes underlying phenotypes associated
with local adaptation to climate response. The post-doc will design his/her experiments with
access to greenhouse, growth chambers, and two common gardens of ca.7000 trees planted at
two sites maintained by the US Forest Service. The post-doc should be willing to assist in
outreach projects and/or student training.

The post-doc will work in the laboratory of Victoria Sork at UCLA and join a collaborative
multi-institutional team that includes Steven Salzberg (Johns Hopkins University Center for
Computational Biology), Matteo Pellegrini (UCLA Institute of Quantitative and Computational
Biosciences) and Paul Gugger (University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences,
Appalachian Laboratory), as well as a bioinformatic scientist in the Sork lab, researchers with
computational biology expertise in the Pellegrini lab, and computational engineers in the
Salzberg lab. For more details of the project see the valley oak genome project website: Individuals with strong bioinformatic expertise will be eligible to apply for
fellowships from the Collaboratory at the Institute of Quantitative and Computational
Biosciences (

Key Requirements: The applicant should possess a PhD or equivalent in the biological sciences,
preferably with empirical, analytical or bioinformatics training in molecular or evolutionary
genetics. Previous experience in molecular techniques, next-gen sequence analysis, and variant
calling are preferable. Candidate should have a research track record with relevant publications
in peer-reviewed journals. Interest in plant evolutionary biology or evolutionary genomics of
local adaptation is desirable.
This position will begin September 1, 2016 (flexible), and with possibility of renewal for 1-2
years, based on performance.

Applicants should email their CV, pdf’s of 3 publications, statement of research interests, and
email information for three referees to Cover letter should include a short
personal statement describing your research experience and interests that would match this
project. Please also include any outreach activities or other broader impacts associated with your
previous research or education. Review of applications will begin 15 April 2016 and continue
until position is filled
. For informal queries, please contact Victoria Sork by email,

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified
applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex,
sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, or
any other characteristic protected by law.