lab positions

General information about the Sears Lab and the University of Illinois

Members of the Sears Lab have a diverse range of interests and backgrounds, but we are united by our use of an interdisciplinary approach (incorporating paleontology, embryology, developmental genetics, etc.) to study how development has influenced evolution and human health. As such, we welcome applications from anyone (developmental biologists to paleontologists, embryologists to genomicists) who shares this goal.

The Sears Lab is affiliated with the School of Integrative Biology and the Institute for Genomic Biology, and has lab space and equipment in both. The environment at Illinois is very warm and supportive, and the physical resources are exceptional. Illinois is also home to several excellent paleontologists, physical anthropologists, computer scientists, mathematicians, genomicists, and developmental biologists, several of whom we are already collaborating with.

graduate students

Graduate students in the Sears Lab generally develop their own project on a topic relevant to developmental evolution and/or human health. Dissertations usually incorporate data from several fields, including morphometrics, embryology, and developmental biology. Financial support for graduate students is provided through a combination of teaching and research assistantships; a full tuition waver and paid health insurance are also included. Students coming into the lab are also expected to apply for external funding.

MS and Ph.D. students can be accepted into the lab through either the Department of Animal Biology (granted degree is “Biology”), or the Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation. Graduate students interested in joining the lab should contact Dr. Sears (ksears at before applying.

postdoctoral fellows

Postdocs work with Dr. Sears to develop projects that further their careers while contributing to the goals of the lab. Although the range of potential projects is therefore very broad, some potential projects include the development and evolution of artiodactyl limbs, marsupial development and evolution, identification of regulatory elements driving mammalian development and evolution, etc. Individuals are expected to apply for funding from external sources. Interested candidates should contact Dr. Sears (ksears at