We are seeking a motivated PhD student to start fall of 2019 or early 2020 in the Department of Entomology. The student will be co-advised by Dr. M. Eric Benbow and Dr. Jennifer Pechal.
Research will focus on collecting and processing environmental samples from aquatic invertebrates, fish and macrophyte biofilms to characterize microbiomes (using HTS). The project is part of a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional team examining how Mycobacterium ulcerans has evolved a novel molecular weapon that allows it to persist and disperse in environments where human contact and possible transmission is at highest risk.
The student will have the opportunity to conduct field and laboratory studies to develop their expertise in disease ecology focusing on Mycobacterium dynamics related to environmental and host persistence and interactions with microbial communities that lead to transmission/risk pathways of this neglected tropical disease agent. The candidate will have the opportunity to integrate with the MSU Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Program and work with French collaborators with expertise in mathematical modeling and pathogen evolution. Applicants must possess integrity, enthusiasm, high motivation, creativity, organization, and effective communication (oral and written) in a collaborative setting. Applicants will need to work independently and as an effective member of our diverse teams.
1. MS in ecology, entomology, biology, or a related field; or equivalent field work/research experience.
2. Extensive field work research experience, ideally under remote and/or challenging conditions or ecosystems.
3. Willingness to travel to South America (French Guiana) for field work, use of boat transportation along rivers and camping outside in a tropical rainforest.
4. Working experience with molecular laboratory techniques, ideally with experience in nucleic acid extractions, PCR, and related analyses.
5. Experience with insects, zoology or related discipline.
1. Experience and/or strong desire working with high-throughput sequencing, coding, bioinformatics, and multivariate statistics.
2. Demonstrated effective communication in writing and oral forms, including peer-reviewed publications and presentations at scientific meetings.
3. Conversational fluency in the French language.
4. Military veterans are highly encouraged to apply, as MSU is developing a Veterans In Science program to facilitate veteran success in graduate school.
This position is fully-funded (competitive graduate stipends, benefits, and tuition) through a 4-year NSF Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases grant.
Method of application for the PhD studentship
Applicants should submit a cover letter describing research experience and career goals, curriculum vitae, names and contact information for three references to [email protected]
Please send application materials as soon as possible, as we would like to have a student by Fall 2019 for field collection trips in early 2020