Title PhD candidate to work on the conservation of critically endangered iconic mountain gorillas
Salary research costs and partial salary (in add to a governmental stipend) covered by a grant by Czech Science Foundation.
Location Institute of Vertebrate Biology Czech Academy of Sciences and University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Science Brno
Job Information

The Laboratory for infectious diseases common to humans and (non-human) primates based at the Institute of Vertebrate Biology Czech Academy of Sciences and University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Science Brno is searching for a PhD candidate for highly ambitious topic with applications to conservation of critically endangered iconic mountain gorillas.

Title: Epidemiology of helminth infections in great apes with emphasis on mountain gorillas in Virunga Massif in Rwanda

Background: In non-human primates gastrointestinal parasites are typically asymptomatic, but habitat reduction and fragmentation can alter the transmission and increase host susceptibility, which may exacerbate the effects of infection. There is considerable concern that in fragile or threatened non-human primate populations, these cascading effects can significantly affect species survival. Due to effective conservation efforts, the population of critically endangered mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) at Virunga has been steadily increasing. Fast increase of the whole population and increase in the home range overlap in particular can lead to elevated risks of changes in pathogens’ epidemiology.

Project: The student will investigate the dynamics of parasite-host system and impact of parasites in several gorilla populations at individual and population level and causal-effects events with focus on mountain gorillas at Virunga in Rwanda as recent increased fatalities among gorillas have been preliminarily linked to strongylid and tapeworm infections. The study will benefit from (i) complex sampling design conducted on Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese populations of mountain gorillas in collaboration with Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and (ii) our previous long-term research on western lowland gorillas, providing extensive set of genomics/metagenomics data for planned statistical analyses.

Funding: research costs and partial salary (in add to a governmental stipend) covered by a grant by Czech Science Foundation.

Qualifications: Applicants with master degree in biological, veterinary or possibly agricultural sciences should have fair background in statistics and at least basic knowledge of molecular methods. Parasitological background, experiences with processing of next generation sequencing data are highly advantageous, but not requested. Previous experience with ape or non-human primate research is not needed. We expect strong motivation and commitment, willingness to quickly learn new methods, analytical thinking, good communication skills and ability for both independent and team-work. The successful candidate will participate in a PhD program at Masaryk University in Brno ( parasitology). The starting date is fall 2018.

Important note: this is not a PhD with a strong field component, most of the work is focused on laboratory and data analyses.

Starts October 2018

Mgr. Klara J. Petrzelkova, Ph.D.
Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Czech Academy of Sciences
Kvetna 8
603 65 BRNO, CZECH REPUBLIC
phone:+420-543422549
fax:+420-543211346
http://www.ivb.cz
http://www.hpi-lab.com/en

 

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