Join Us


email kheath at and check out the links page for information on life in Champaign-Urbana.

Graduate Research

Graduate students in the Heath lab have opportunities to:

  • Ask exciting, big questions that illuminate general concepts in ecology, evolution and genetics!
  • Work on fascinating fungal, bacterial, and/or plant systems!
  • Travel to beautiful locations (France, Panama, just to name a few)!
  • Learn a range of techniques from classical microbiology, quantitative genetics, and ecology to cutting-edge genomic, metagenomic, and transcriptomic methods!

Multiple graduate programs with slightly different, but overlapping, focal areas exist here at Illinois. We have multiple ways of funding you, including training grants (e.g., a recent DOE GAANN), university fellowships, grant-funded RAs, and TAs. Students are typically funded with a mix of these during their time in graduate school. If you’re interested in graduate school, and you think what we do is interesting, it’s best to contact me before you put in an application so we can discuss potential projects, funding options, etc.


GEMS: Genomics and Eco-Evolution of Multi-Scale Symbiosis: A NSF Biological Integration Institute, with opportunities for graduate and postdoctoral funding:

Plant Biology graduate program:

Program in Ecology Evolution and Conservation (PEEC) graduate program:       

Microbial Evolution and Ecology Research at Illinois:

Microbiome Initiative at Illinois:

Infection Genomics for One Health (IGOH), research theme at the IGB and home base of GEMS:

PBAGS (Plant Biology Association of Graduate Students):

GEEB (Graduates in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology):


Undergraduate Research

Get in touch if you are interested in starting a research project in the lab. I expect that you will be: enthusiastic, motivated, and most importantly, interested in figuring out if a career in research (graduate school) is right for you. Undergraduate projects in my group could focus on plant-rhizobium mutualisms, plant-fungal interactions (including mycorrhizae and endophytes), or any number of topics related to species interactions and ecological and evolutionary genetics/genomics. These projects will generally last at least one year and have the potential to include summer work.

See the Plant Biology undergrad page for more info:


Independent Research Projects for IB Majors (IB 390 and IB 490)

Special Undergraduate Research on the Environment (SURE)

Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP)