Join the Lab

A note on diversity and inclusion


We are an equal-opportunity group, committed to enacting anti-racist and anti-sexist policies to promote inclusivity in our lab, the biological sciences, and the academy. We believe that black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, and no life is illegal. Applicants from underrepresented backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and lifestyles are enthusiastically encouraged to apply to any of the positions outlined below.


Additionally, as a result of our NIH DP2 award, we are currently eligible to apply for an NIH Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research. These supplements can support individuals at the high school, post-bacc, graduate, or postdoc level. If you are interested in joining the lab and believe you might be eligible for one of these supplements, please reach out to Cara Brook directly.


PhD Positions

The Brook lab is recruiting new graduate students to join our lab in fall 2024. I have already solicited statements of interest from prospective students, who I will be contacting for informal zoom meetings in the last week in October. Please stay tuned for more information.

I’m looking for motivated students with broad interests in disease ecology, conservation biology, and/or epidemiology who are eager to undertake a multi-faceted PhD involving some combination of field study, molecular work, and dynamical modeling.

For recruits to start in AY2024-2025, I am particularly interested in students with a strong interest and/or background in international field work and a desire to spend extensive amounts of time in Madagascar. There are also potential opportunities for a field-capable graduate student to lead efforts to launch new bat virus-focused research projects at pilot field sites in the Southwestern US (in collaboration with the Laverty Lab at NMSU) or in Cambodia (in collaboration with the ICER Program).

I am also interested in students with strong wet lab skills in molecular detection of viruses in biological samples (PCR + NGS) or serological detection of antibodies in field-collected serum. Finally, I am always interested in students with a background or interest in building and fitting dynamical, mechanistic transmission models to infectious disease data and/or matrix population models to abundance data.

Formal applications are due to the University of Chicago Division of Biological Sciences on December 1, 2023.


All funded postdoc positions in my lab are full at this time. However, independent postdoctoral fellows are always welcome, and I am happy to advise any interested individuals on related fellowship or grant applications. I have previous experience as both a Miller Fellow and a Branco Weiss Fellow myself and would be delighted to help strategize an application. The University of Chicago Fellows program in the Biological Sciences (applications due annually in December) is one exciting opportunity specific to our university. Please feel free to reach out at if you are interested in developing a fellowship application to join the group.


We have several University of Chicago undergraduate researchers in the lab at any given time and many small projects available for an interested student. As a policy, I do not allow undergrads to intern without pay, a practice that has been shown to exacerbate inequities in opportunity and access. We do not currently have any specific positions available at this time; however, the University of Chicago abounds with opportunities for proactive undergrads to acquire funding to carry out mentored research.

Undergraduates wishing to conduct summer research should look out for a mid-April deadline for grants through the Quad Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars program. Rising fourth years interested in pursuing honors thesis research in Ecology and Evolution over the summer should additionally watch for an email from Professor Cathy Pfister soliciting applications every ~March/April. During the academic year, the Quad Undergraduate Research Grants program additionally offers grants directly to students who must submit to application cycles in early October or early January. Finally, the Quad Faculty Research Grant program has an early September deadline. Under this initiative (which funded Vera Soloview and Margot Bolaños-Gamez in AY 2022-2023), Professor Cara Brook would submit the application with a specific student and project in mind.

Additionally, students may apply for support to offset living expenses both during the academic year and during the summer through one of the University of Chicago’s Metcalf Internship Programs, which offers multiple deadlines throughout the year. However, research in an on-campus lab is not the primary goal of this program, and students are encouraged to clarify their intentions with the program’s advisors before submitting an application. The Quad Scholars programs outlined above are a better fit overall.

If you are an undergrad with an interest in applying for one of these opportunities to conduct research in the lab, please email me at to set up a meeting to discuss! The earlier you reach out prior to these deadlines, the better.

Post-Baccaulaureate Fellows

We periodically host post-baccaulaureate research fellows for a full year through the NIH-sponsored University of Chicago PREP (Post-Baccaulaureate Research Education Program), which funds underrepresented minority students to carry out a full year of research in a host lab. PREP students also receive financial support and mentoring through the graduate school and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship application processes. Freddy Gonzalez was a PREP scholar in AY 2021-2022 and is now a PhD student in Dr. Paul Turner’s lab at Yale. Mars Woodward ia a current PREP scholar in our group.

Applications for PREP are due internally to UChicago annually in March or April–watch for deadlines here.

Field Technicians

We typically employ two, Madagascar-based Field Technicians in one-year positions based in Madagascar. These technicians work with Association Ekipa Fanihy to undertake bat capture and collection of biological samples for our longterm project, as well as rudimentary laboratory processing. These positions are targeted towards American post-baccalaureate students eager to work with Malagasy PhD students on Ekipa Fanihy. I have found this to be a rewarding experience for both American and Malagasy students in the past, allowing both parties to engage in scientific and cultural exchange.

Application submissions for our newest Madagascar-based Field Technician position to join the Fanihy from November 2023-November 2024 have now closed and will not renew again until spring 2024, for a likely August or September 2024 start date. This year, due to limitations imposed by our funding sources, we specifically solicited applicaitons for a Chicago Post-Baccaulaureate Field Fellow who must either be a native of the Chicagoland region or a recent graduate of a Chicago region university. Please see Chicago field fellow for a job description of past opportunities.

Outside of my lab, if you are interested in finding research positions in the field, you may want to explore the following job boards or research opportunities: