Fascinante tema para hacer un doctorado! Y en Nueva Zelanda! ~ Bioblogia.net

29 de marzo de 2017

Fascinante tema para hacer un doctorado! Y en Nueva Zelanda!

PhD Project Opportunity

Parasitic Puppeteers - How do They Pull the Strings?
We are currently seeking at least one, but potentially several PhD students with interests in genetics, evolution, parasitology and neuroscience to investigate the molecular mechanisms through which
parasitic worms alter the behaviour of their insect hosts.

Project Description
Parasites can have profound effects on the animal hosts they invade,
manipulating host biology with exquisite precision to enhance host-to-host
transmission. One of the most extraordinary of these host manipulations
is the water-seeking behaviour that some nematodes and hairworms induce
in their hosts so that the worms might exit the host and reproduce. The
process is the stuff of science fiction; the worm hijacks the host’s
central nervous system forcing it to seek water. Once water is found the
adult worm, often many times the size of the host, emerges, sacrificing
the host. This amazing alteration in behaviour is induced by parasitic
worms spanning two phyla (Nematoda and Nematomorpha) and is observed
in a variety of arthropod hosts, notably crickets, weta, earwigs,
and sandhoppers, leading us to hypothesise that a common and conserved
mechanism is being utilised by the parasites to induce this behaviour in
their hosts. Here we propose to couple field and laboratory studies of
two phylogenetically distinct hosts and their parasites, with powerful
genomic and bioinformatic comparisons to elucidate the trigger and
genetic cascade through which these parasitic puppeteers elicit this
highly conserved, yet astonishing behavioural response.

The project emerges from a new Marsden Grant headed by Professor Neil
Gemmell (Anatomy) in collaboration with Professor Robert Poulin (Zoology)
and will be based in the Gemmell laboratory at the University of Otago.

The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate will possess experience in molecular
genetics/genomics, evolutionary biology and bioinformatics. Knowledge
of NGS approaches and analyses us desirable, while past work in
comparative genomics and an interest in parasitology and neurobiology
may be helpful. They candidate will be motivated and organized, with a
demonstrated capacity to master the broad skill set necessary for the
successful completion of a research project. They will be collegial and
able to work alongside a wide variety of people. In addition they will
have a strong commitment to academic and research excellence. Minimum
qualifications: B.Sc. (Hons) and/or M.Sc. in Genetics, Genomics, Molecular
Biology or equivalent with an A average or better.

Scholarship Funding: Financial support is expected to be
available for a high achieving student with an A average or
better via a University of Otago or Departmental scholarship see

Eligibility: The University of Otago and Departmental
scholarships are open to all nationalities. However,
overseas candidates for whom English is not a first language
must satisfy the English Language Requirements of the University
to be eligible for study (see). Other
international eligibility criteria are here

How to Apply: Interested applicants are encouraged to make informal
enquiries to Professor Neil Gemmell. Please send your Curriculum Vitae,
a copy of your academic transcript, a sample of your written scientific
work and the names of three referees with a covering letter to:

Professor Neil J. Gemmell
e-mail: neil.gemmell@otago.ac.nz

Further information
Gemmell lab <http://gemmell-lab.otago.ac.nz/>

Applications close on the 28/4/2017. It would be desirable if the
successful applicant were able to start by mid 2017.

Neil Gemmell <neil.gemmell@otago.ac.nz>

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