Priority Recruitment Area for Fall 2016 Admission

The Finzi and Dietze [] labs are seeking to recruit one Ph.D. student [matriculation, Fall 2016] with interests in modeling, data-assimilation and meta-analysis related to soil biogeochemical cycling. Applicants with a well-developed background in mathematics, statistics, and/or programming [e.g., R, Matlab, Python] are especially encouraged to apply. The student will continue the development of the DAMM-MCNiP model of exoenzyme activity & microbial physiology [Drake et al. 2013 Biogeosciences, Davidson et al. 2015 GCB] by adding to it root and rhizosphere processes [Finzi et al. 2015 GCB] and eventually wrapping it into a new version of the Ecosystem Demography II model [Medvigy et al. 2009 Biogeosciences]. The student will utilize the Predictive Ecosystem Analyzer Data Assimilation workflow system [] to estimate parameters, their uncertainties and their sensitivity in the model in an effort to identify key areas for future field research. The student will have access to a number of significant data sets already compiled from the literature. The student will be housed in the Department of Biology in the Finzi lab group and will be co-advised by Dietze in the Department of Earth & Environment. Questions regarding the research and graduate admission should be addressed to Adrien Finzi [afinzi at bu dot edu or 617.353.2453].



Students are admitted to Boston University with a guarantee of 5 years of support via a teaching fellowship. The first semester of their first year is covered by a fellowship. All BU funding includes access to full medical and dental benefits. It is my expectation that students will apply for PhD fellowships (NSF, DOE, USDA, EPA) prior to and during their tenure at BU. Receiving a fellowship is prestigious and a good line on your CV. It also helps use existing funding to support undergraduate students who are critical to supporting your PhD research as well as freeing up additional funds for more research.


About the Lab Group

My PhD students complete their theses within 5-6 years of beginning. There may be an exception for students who are post-masters but only if they are continuing on work they started previously. I run a moderate-size research group that typically includes:
1 full-time research technicians
1 postdoctoral scholar
2-4 PhD students
1-2 Honors thesis undergraduate students
~5 Undergraduate student employees

We often work as a group, and I make every effort to recruit students capable of productive collaboration. The spirit of team effort is a must! I meet with all my students regularly, but it is important to schedule a repeating time on the calendar. The days of a fully open-door policy have passed as I have taken on greater administrative responsibilities and collaborative research projects. This said, I take graduate education very seriously and give my students the attention they need to be successful. Please feel free to contact any of the following [many former] students for discussions on my advising style:

Rose Abramoff — BU PhD 2015, now postdoctoral Scholar at LBNL
Edward Brzostek — BU PhD 2008, now Assistant Professor, U. of West Virginia
Allison Gill — Ph.D. Candidate Boston University
Patrick Sorenson — Ph.D. Candidate, Boston University
Mustafa Saifuddin — Ph.D. Candidate, Boston University
John E. Drake — BU postdoc 2010-2012, Presently at University of New South Wales, Australia
Colin Averill — BU Undergrad 2004-08 & lab manager 2008-2010, PhD U. Texas 2015, presently postdoc in Tablot lab at BU.


Biogeoscience @ Boston University

Most students in my lab will participate in an interdisciplinary PhD program in Biogeoscience. Please visit for more information. We currently have ~30 students in the program and a large number of discipline-specific PhD courses on climate, biogeochemistry, biogeophysics and statistics. We therefore have critical mass, a great venue for sharing research ideas and learning the skills needed to be successful during your PhD program and thereafter. This program is nationally unique.

If you would like additional information, please email Adrien Finzi to set up a time to talk over the phone or via Skype.