Un postdoc de lo más futurista: microrobótica y polinizadores ~ Bioblogia.net

16 de octubre de 2022

Un postdoc de lo más futurista: microrobótica y polinizadores

Oferta compartida por Nuria

A position as a postdoctoral researcher in evolutionary ecology/biomechanics is available at the Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution Program.

This postdoctoral position forms part of the Human Frontier Science Program project “Bridging robotics and buzz pollination: Reconstructing a bee’s buzz through microrobotics” (2022-2025). It represents a collaboration between the research groups of Dr. Mario Vallejo-Marin (Uppsala University, Sweden) and Dr. Noah Jafferis (University of Massachussetts, Lowe, U.S.A.). Our project exploits new advances in micro-robotics to study a fundamental interaction between bees and flowers during buzz pollination, a phenomenon that includes thousands of plant and bee species around the world. During buzz pollination, bees from as many as 11,000 species use their indirect flight muscles to generate vibrations to shake pollen out of flowers. Buzz pollination captures one of the most striking and widespread examples of floral convergence, occurring in more than 20% of flowering plant families, including crops, such as tomatoes, which depend on vibration-producing bees.

Our project’s main goal is to develop new micro-robotic approaches combined with experiments in laboratory and field settings to study the vibrations produced by diverse bee species and their effect on pollen release. We will address the central question of how diversity of bee vibrations translates to functional variation in pollen release of buzz-pollinated flowers.

The postdoctoral researcher based at Uppsala will work on measuring bee vibrations in both field and laboratory settings, growing buzz-pollinated flowers, and testing the dynamics of pollen release triggered by micro-robots developed by the U.S.A. team. Both teams will work in close collaboration with each other to develop and test the micro-robots and compare them with bee vibrations on flowers.

The multidisciplinarity of the project makes it suitable to highly motivated candidates from a variety of research backgrounds and interests, from pollination, botany, behaviour, and evolution to biomechanics and biophysics, among others. The project has opportunities to expand the research directions in conjunction with the research team.

These include plant growth and care, animal (bees) maintenance and behavioural observations, fieldwork locally and overseas, laboratory work with mechanical and electronic devices, computer work (e.g., data entry, analysis, programming), manuscript preparation, supervision of students, participation in lab activities such as journal clubs, discussions, attendance to conferences, and presenting the results of the study in talks and posters.

Qualifications required
To qualify for an employment as a postdoctoral researcher you must have a PhD degree or a foreign degree equivalent to a PhD degree in a relevant field (e.g., evolutionary biology, biology, botany, entomology, biomechanics). The PhD degree must have been obtained no more than three years prior to the application deadline. The three-year period can be extended due to circumstances such as sick leave, parental leave, duties in labour unions, etc. Ability to work with plants and bees, ability to travel and conduct fieldwork overseas during the summer months, and experience with statistical analyses (e.g., R) are required. We attach great importance to personal qualities such as independence, initiative, flexibility, ability to cooperate, creativity, and problem-solving analytical skills. Candidates must be able to express themselves fully in spoken as well as written English.

Qualifications desired
Knowledge of programming and scripting languages (e.g., MatLab, LabView, Mathematica, Python), and expertise in one or more fields including evolutionary biology, botany, ecology, entomology, biophysics, biomechanics, and electrical engineering are highly desirable. Expertise with working with bees and plants in field and lab settings is also desirable. Experience on biomechanics or a willingness to learn are welcome.

The application should include 
  1. a letter of intent describing yourself, your research interests and motivation of why you want to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the advertised project, 
  2.  short description of what specific expertise or skills you can bring to the project, 
  3. a CV,
  4. name and contact information to at least two reference persons (e-mail address). 
The application should be written in English. 
You are welcome to submit your application no later than 1st November 2022. UFV-PA 2022/3604.

Other information
Starting date: 2022-12-01, or as agreed.
Type of employment: Temporary position for 24 months, with a possibility to an extension up to a maximum of 36 months, according to central collective agreement.
Scope of employment: 100%.

For further information about the position please contact: Associate Professor Mario Vallejo-Marin, mario.vallejo-marin@ebc.uu.se.

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