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PhD and MSc Studies in XiaLab

Thinking of joining a group of bright students in Xia Lab? PhD and MSc positions are available.

You need to be interested in solving some particular biological problems. You then (1) identify professors who would be interested in collaborating with you in solving the problems and (2) get ready to communicate your biological problems to the identified professors. You contact me if you feel fairly confident that I am such a professor.

General information

  • Minimum requirement:
    • PhD applicants: Have made a significant scientific discovery in prior research
    • MSc applicants (currently limited to Canadians and permanent residents): Research experience through an honors research project.
    • Success in an interview on your research experience. You need to do a presentation of a research project you have participated in.
    • You need to be passionate about something in biology, which could be either a particular group of organisms or genes, biological processes, regulatory mechanisms, theories, hypotheses, challenges, controversies, algorithms or data (e.g., data hosted in NCBI databases such as Gene, Nucleotide, Genome, SRA).
  • Graduate students registered in Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, will have a minimum salary of $21,172/year (PhD candidate) or $20,172/year (MSc candidates) which is made of research assistantship from my research grant and teaching assistantship from the department.
  • Review the application guide and apply through our grad office
  • Our graduate programs are research-intensive. In your first term of registration (when you are heavily burdened with settling down and teaching assistant duties), you need to assemble your graduate advisory committee in consultation with me, and to present your research project to the advisory committee (me and two other professors). The research proposal typically includes three inter-connected components, ideally built on top of previous publications from my laboratory (Every good paper would point to new directions of research). You need to convince the advisory committee members that completion of the research proposal will lead to significant scientific discoveries materializing in about three publications. In the first or second term of your registration, you need to defend your research project in a comprehensive exam with about four examiners. If you are interested in one particular topic, develop your research plan focusing on that topic, and then contact professors working in this topic. Some applicants tend to think that they could worry about research proposals AFTER they are offered admission. We do not consider such applicants.

How to improve your ranking

  • My program DAMBE is used extensively in research and teaching worldwide in molecular biology, evolution, genomics and phylogenetics. You need to know DAMBE and to have used it to solve a practical research problem. Here are links to scientific publications that have cited various versions of DAMBE. Many of them used DAMBE to solve their research problems.
  • Research projects that are built upon what we have done will have priority in consideration
  • Here is a list of fields in which my students and I have done research in:
    • Evolution and optimization of translation control in bacteria and phages
    • Mammalian viruses
    • Evolution of gene families
    • molecular phylogenetics (of deep phylogenies)
    • Large-scale phylogeographic patterns and processes
    • Evolution of splicing machinery and alternative splicing
    • Evolution of cellular response to internal and external perturbations, e.g., unfolded protein response, acide-resistance.
    • Protein structure and function
    • bioinformatics: algorithms and software development
  • Check out publications from our lab of which many are by graduate students. If you have many questions upon reading those papers, then you are likely a good fit to our lab.

Local information

  1. Our Biology Department
  2. University of Ottawa
  3. Ottawa: the Canadian capital
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