Working at a lab bench

Student Perspective: Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

Lab: Dr. Dmitri Petrov

Why did you choose to come to graduate school at Stanford University? What attracted you to the Biosciences PhD Programs?

Stanford—and, more specifically, the Biosciences Home Programs—has a lot of collaboration between related departments. For students, departmental lines do not present any hindrance to working with professors outside your Home Program. In this sense, one does not feel "stuck" in one department or another but rather part of a collective, collaborative group of academics. I personally work with professors in Genetics and Applied Physics while my thesis advisor is in Biology.

Describe your research.

I study the population genetics of adaptation, specifically how demography can influence genetic patterns of natural selection.

Why did you choose to join your lab?

The people. My advisor attracts not only the best and the brightest from around the world, but people with whom it is fun to work. In my final graduate school decision process, there were three labs across the country, each of which could have provided me with an excellent training in population genetics; however, there was only one lab where I actually felt like I would be joining a group of supportive scientists who had a personal investment in my success.

What do you like about living in the Bay Area?

I live in San Francisco, and the cultural mixture in the city is almost unparalleled. There is always something interesting to do. Food and entertainment are diverse and wonderful. I also appreciate the high level of progressive activism in the Bay Area. There is an overall sense of community, and we are always at the forefront of progressive change.

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