PhD position in Evolutionary Genomics /Behavioural Ecology (Norway) ~

15 de febrero de 2014

PhD position in Evolutionary Genomics /Behavioural Ecology (Norway)

Evolution and functionality of antimicrobial defences in passerine seminal fluid
Animals are constantly exposed to pathogens, and the ability of individuals to combat microbial attack is an important component of fitness. Sperm cells are not immune to microbial exposure; sperm encounter pathogens in the testes and ejaculate, during mating and in the female reproductive tract. Bacteria can cause reductions in sperm quality and compromise male fertility. Moreover, ejaculate-borne pathogens can be transferred during mating (i.e. STDs), with negative consequences for female fertility. Thus, ejaculate-borne bacteria are predicted to generate intense selection for the evolution of antibacterial substances in seminal fluid that minimise bacterial-induced sperm defects and limit the transmission of STDs.
This project brings together expertise in avian ecology, sperm biology, microbiology, immunology, genomics and proteomics to investigate the role of bacteria in the evolution of avian seminal fluid. The aims of the project are to: 1) characterise the immunity proteome of avian seminal fluid and test the functionality of antimicrobial substances, and 2) quantify the impact of positive selection on immunity components of the seminal fluid proteome. The successful candidate will also be encouraged to develop additional, complementary avenues of research.  

This project is affiliated with the Natural History Museum (NHM) and Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) at the University of Oslo (Norway), and will include a significant period of time based in the laboratory of Dr Steve Dorus (Syracuse University, USA). Some fieldwork may also be undertaken during the course of the research. The project will also involve collaboration with Dr Jan Lifjeld (NHM, University of Oslo), Drs Nils Christian Stenseth, Glenn-Peter Sætre and W. Ryan Easterday (CEES, University of Oslo) and Dr Gábor Á. Czirják (Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin).
This project is supported by funding from the Research Council of Norway. Funding is currently available for three years of salary (with the potential for an additional year of support). In addition to salary, the grant supports direct research expenses and a small amount of funds will be available for attending international conferences.
 The applicant:
As this project integrates molecular and organisms approaches, we seek a motivated student who is interested in evolution, behavioural ecology and evolutionary genomics. The chosen candidate must be admitted to the Natural Sciences PhD program (UiO):
 Informal enquiries are welcome, and should be addressed to Dr Melissah Rowe, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Norway ( A formal application process will follow.

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