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JOHN L. COFFIN

Hi folks!

I’m a PhD candidate in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University, and I'm looking for a postdoctoral position in a lab focused on evolutionary ecology and speciation biology. So far in my PhD, my work has focused on understanding the mechanisms that generate and maintain the incredible array of biodiversity that we see around the world. I'm particularly interested in how reproductive isolation can evolve as a byproduct of adaptation (i.e., ecological speciation), and I use livebearing fishes inhabiting extreme environments to understand the interplay between multiple reproductive barriers at various points in the speciation process.

I am also passionate about teaching undergraduate students and mentoring the next generation of scientists in the lab! I aim to continually improve my teaching abilities by incorporating multiple teaching strategies into my lesson plans so that ALL students, regardless of their background or previous abilities or knowledge, can succeed in my class. My ultimate goals for teaching are to improve the scientific literacy of my students to make them more informed citizens, and to inspire them to consider careers in evolutionary biology.


I'm glad you've found my page! Here, you’ll find all the details of my ongoing PhD program, from research to outreach efforts to some of my vain attempts into photography. I’d love to hear what you think! 

 

EDUCATIONAL HISTORY

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY, BIOLOGY
KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY

August 2017 - date

Advised by Dr. Michael Tobler

3.84 GPA

Thesis: In Progress

Currently deciphering mechanisms of ecological speciation in extreme environments by identifying and quantifying reproductive isolating barriers in populations of Atlantic mollies (Poecilia mexicana) experiencing divergent selection due to toxic hydrogen sulfide.

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE, ECOLOGY
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

August 2013 - May 2017

Advised by Dr. Jeb Byers

3.62 GPA

Thesis: Predicting oyster larval settlement and growth using remotely sensed data.

Studied spatial interactions between two ecosystem engineers, the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and marsh grass (Spartina alterniflora). Developed sensors for field deployment to predict oyster larval settlement and survivorship.

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE, INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES: MARINE SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

Advised by Drs. Merryl Alber and Brian Binder
3.62 GPA
Completed concurrently with the B.S. degree in Ecology.

August 2013 - May 2017

 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

2017 - date

GRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANT
KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY, DIVISION OF BIOLOGY

Supervisor: Dr. Michael Tobler

Currently working to understand the evolution of reproductive isolation between sympatric populations of Atlantic mollies (Poecilia mexicana). Rotated for my first semester, comparing oxidative stress in freshwater, live-bearing fish in response to heavy metal pollution and identifying orthologs of transposable element suppression pathways to understand genome size evolution in sunflowers (Helianthus annuus).

2016-2017

UNDERGRADUATE ASSISTANT
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE

Supervisors: Drs. Savithri Nambeesan and Anish Malladi
Aided in greenhouse breeding experiments to improve shelf-life, nutrient concentration, and fruit size in apples, bell peppers, and tomatoes.

2013-2017

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHER
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, SCHOOL OF ECOLOGY

Supervisor: Dr. Jeb Byers
Studied spatial interactions between two ecosystem engineers, the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and marsh grass (Spartina alterniflora). Developed sensors for field deployment to predict oyster larval settlement and survivorship.

2015-2016

POULTRY ANIMAL CARETAKER
POULTRY DIAGNOSTIC AND RESEARCH CENTER

Supervisor: Brent Lovern
Managed health and care of poultry animals involved in population health studies for the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

 

SKILLS

STATISTICAL ANALYSES AND PROGRAMMING

I have extensive experience analyzing large multivariate datasets, using primarily the R programming language, but also have experience with Python and Matlab. I also am proficient in general unix-based command line operations for remote high performance computing.

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MENTORING

I have successfully mentored numerous undergraduate students since beginning my PhD at Kansas State. Students whom I mentor gain valuable skills in field-based data collection, programming for data analysis, and presentations.

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LABORATORY TECHNIQUES

I have been trained in many basic laboratory techniques for the analyses of RNA and DNA from live animals. My experience is particularly substantial in relation to animal care and dissections, DNA and RNA extractions, PCR and elecrophoresis, and RNA-seq library preparation.

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