Positions in the Frank Lab

Postdoctoral Position

Consequences of urban and global warming for forest and human health

A postdoctoral position is available to work in the Frank Lab in the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University, in collaboration with Rob Dunn in the Department of Applied Ecology as well as a broader group of scholars studying cities at NCSU. Funding will be partially or fully to examine how urban heat islands and global climate change affect urban and natural forest health. We are interested in the influence of urban heat islands and, more generally, climate on tree pest physiology, symbionts (of diverse sorts), trophic interactions, and the distribution of tree associated taxa. We also consider how changes in urban tree health and density affect human health.

For context, the warmest parts of Raleigh, North Carolina and Manhattan, two current study areas, are up to 10 degrees C warmer than adjacent natural areas. Within urban heat islands tree pests become 300 times more abundant and tree health and services decline. Herbivore abundance increases due to greater fecundity, phenological mismatch with parasitoids, changes in plant quality, and many other reasons. We have also found herbivores respond similarly in natural areas due to climate warming so one of our goals is to predict the effects of climate change using cities as a proxy for future warming due to climate change. In this light, the postdoc can do new research based on large observational studies, metagenomic analyses (of herbivores, parasitoids or other taxa), or controlled experimental manipulations to uncover new ecological or health responses to warming and their mechanisms. Candidates should have documented experience acquiring and analyzing metagenomic data, landscape composition and climate data, or responses of human health to the environmental along with general ecological training.

Minimum Experience, Education:
Ph.D. in ecology, evolution, biology, entomology or related fields. The applicant’s CV should indicate evidence of strong scholarship, including peer-reviewed publications in high ranked journals. A valid driver’s license is required. NC Driver’s license required within 30 days of hire.

Preferred Experience, Skills, & Training: Expertise in arthropods, urban ecology, or climate change of particular interest. The candidate should be able to take projects efficiently from conception to peer-reviewed papers and other products.

Length of appointment: Review of applications will begin January 29, though applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate is found. Appointment is planned for two years pending annual performance review.

Application Procedure: Submit CV, cover letter, and email addresses of three references to Steve Frank (sdfrank@ncsu.edu). Cover letter should include a description of research interests and experience and how they could contribute to the lab and project goals.

North Carolina State University is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, NC State welcomes all persons without regard to sexual orientation. The University strongly encourages all qualified applicants to apply. Individuals with disabilities desiring accommodations in the application process should contact Steven Frank (sdfrank@ncsu.edu) or (919) 818-4150.

Undergraduate Research Assistant: Climate Change and Plant-Pollinator Interactions

Job description:
This position will assist with research that addresses the effects of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions. Specifically, it addresses whether elevated temperature, atmospheric CO2, and nitrogen deposition alter floral scents, floral traits, or the nutritional value of pollen and nectar consumed by bees. The undergraduate researcher will assist with the following activities:

  • Maintaining experimental plants in growth chambers in the NCSU Phytotron
  • Measuring floral traits
  • Collecting floral scents for chemical analysis
  • Collecting nectar and pollen for chemical analysis
  • Measuring nectar sugar concentration
  • Counting pollen grains using a microscope and image analysis software
  • The undergraduate assistant will have the opportunity to be involved in the analysis, interpretation, and presentation of resulting data.

Up to 20 hours/week, availability at a consistent time of day preferred.

Prior experience is desirable but not required. Relevant background and skills include:

  • Microscope use.
  • Background or interest in ecology and climate-change research.
  • Experience maintaining plants in greenhouse or research setting.
  • Background in biology, ecology, plant biology, or related field.

To apply:
Submit resume and cover letter to Elsa Youngsteadt (ekyoungs@ncsu.edu) with the subject line “Climate Change and Plant-Pollinator Interactions.”

In your cover letter, please indicate why you are interested in the position; describe any relevant skills or experience; and list the times you are potentially available to work each day of the week.

Applications will be considered as they are received; the position will be filled no later than September 16.

Other Undergraduate Positions

Spring and Summer employment in Entomology. Valuable research experience!

Assist with research on Integrated Pest Management, Biological Control, and Insect Ecology in a fun, educational environment.

Job description:

  • Assist with greenhouse and outdoor research on insect pests of ornamental plants
  • Assist in laboratory work including insect rearing, counting, and experimentation
  • Maintain plants in greenhouse and outdoor research sites
  • Possible travel to other U.S. cities for insect sampling fieldwork


  • Spring 8-24 hours/ week
  • Summer 40 hours/ week


  • Must have a valid driver’s license
  • Must be able to work outdoors in all weather conditions
  • Must be available full time during the summer

Entomology or prior experience is not required. Interested students should send a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three references to Steve Frank (sdfrank@ncsu.edu).

Cover letters should:

  • indicate why the applicant is interested in the position
  • describe any prior research experience or relevant skills, if applicable
  • indicate whether full-time (paid) or part-time (for course credit) work is sought