So... you might want to do research with us?
The best way to join our group as a postdoc is to do great work as a graduate student that attracts my attention,
to remotely collaborate with me on a project, to write a grant or postdoctoral fellowship in consultation with me, or some combination of the above.
- Graduate students
If you are thinking of coming to Caltech for graduate studies,
please apply to any department at Caltech that suits your interests
and academic needs. I participate in the
Computation and Neural Systems (CNS),
Computer Science (CS), Computing + Mathematical Sciences (CMS), and
Bioengineering (BE) graduate options
-- so if you discuss your interest in our lab's research in your
research statement, your application will come to my attention. But
I also have worked with students from Applied Physics (APh), Physics
(Ph), Biology (Bio), Systems Biology (SB), Control and Dynamics Systems (CDS), Chemistry
(Ch), Chemical Engineering (ChE), and possibly by now also other graduate options.
I am interested in working with students who share my fascination
with computation, circuitry, molecules, biology, and evolution --
and who think deeply and independently about it but who also are a
joy to collaborate with. Show me a bit of your work, something
you're proud of, something that gives me a sense of who you are
intellectually. Come talk about doing a rotation project if you're
already at Caltech.
- Undergraduate students
The lab typically has a few Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows
(SURFs) each summer. Applications are typically due in February,
but planning should start well before then, as a well-thought-out
research project must be described.
To get started, it's best to read a few research papers from our web
site. Ask yourself questions about it, make notes, explore ideas.
Consider contacting members of our group to find out what they're
working on now. Taking my class on Biomolecular Computation
(BE/CS/CNS/Bi 191a) is becoming de rigueur.
If you remain enthusiastic, send me an explanation of why you're
interested in this research and a few ideas that you might be
interested in exploring, as a starting point. Also, send a CV and
informal transcript and an example of some work you've done that
gives us a sense of what you can do and who you are intellectually.
I'll shop it around to potential student mentors in my group, and
if someone takes an interest, we'll meet to discuss possibilities.
If you want to prepare yourself for a SURF, the most important
criteria are an avid curiosity, energy to explore, and insistence on
self-skepticism. One can find out a lot with those tools. But with
respect to classes, consider those of interest to you from the BE
requirements, the theory of computation, and anything taught
by Rob Phillips, Michael Elowitz, Niles Pierce, Lulu Qian, Shuki Bruck, or
Richard Murray. And of course, my courses!
- High school students
Occasionally we host high school students to do summer projects.
It's my opinion that almost everything we do can be done by a
talented and motivated high school student -- but I expect the same
kind of independent thinking and exploration as I would from a
undergrad or graduate student. So although there's no formal
application process, the guidelines above remain a good suggestion
for how to proceed.
Erik Winfree, 7/23/2014, 7/29/2022