08/12/2019
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

PhD position for an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) in insect pathology - Impact of multiple biotic and abiotic stressors on pathogenesis in mealworms and wax moths

This job offer has expired


  • ORGANISATION/COMPANY
    UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • RESEARCH FIELD
    Biological sciences
  • RESEARCHER PROFILE
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE
    17/01/2020 23:00 - Europe/London
  • LOCATION
    United Kingdom › Wallingford
  • TYPE OF CONTRACT
    Temporary
  • JOB STATUS
    Full-time
  • HOURS PER WEEK
    37
  • OFFER STARTING DATE
    03/05/2020
  • EU RESEARCH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
  • MARIE CURIE GRANT AGREEMENT NUMBER
    859850

The objective of this PhD study is to investigate how abiotic (climatic changes) and biotic (pathogens) stressors may severely impact arthropod cultures for food and feed, especially those in semi-open and outdoor production facilities. It is known that climate change provokes physiological responses in insects which in turn affect population growth. Coupled to this, is the threat of emerging infectious disease(s), which can severely impact cultured/managed populations of invertebrates where high densities facilitate disease transmission.

This PhD study will examine the impact of a number of these multiple stressors using in vivo model insect mass culture systems. Primarily, experiments will focus on Coleopteran larvae of the mealworm Tenebrio molitor which is mass reared for food and feed (bacteria, fungi, microsporidia). The project will then extend and challenge some of the insights gained in this system to examine comparable issues in a different insect order, namely the wax moth Galleria mellonella (fungi, viruses, microsporidia) and further, to include an established model aquatic arthropod system using amphipod spp. (viruses, microsporidia) as a proxy for shrimp/crayfish arthropod cultures used for food and feed.

 

The specific aims are to:

1) measure host fitness responses (growth, survival and development time) and immune responses (immunity assays) of insects/crustaceans reared in multi-factorial treatments (infection; elevated temperature; elevated CO2);

2) model the impact of multiple stressors (parameterised from empirical experiments) to provide best culture practice

 

Approach and Expected results:

The experiments will be completed in a ‘tiered’ approach, with T. molitor being used as the exemplar experimental species throughout experiments but with additional experiments building upon the results in this system to challenge the outcomes in different terrestrial and aquatic hosts.

Through this, the PhD will establish: 1) the effects of climate stress on pathogen transmission and host immune responses and identify 2) the effect of multiple stressors of pathogen (biotic) and climate (abiotic) on individual host fitness. They will also deliver a model that shows the impact of combined stressors at the population level to provide recommendations to industry of best culture practice and key points of intervention to reduce disease outbreak risks.

The objective of this PhD study is to investigate how abiotic (climatic changes) and biotic (pathogens) stressors may severely impact arthropod cultures for food and feed, especially those in semi-open and outdoor production facilities. It is known that climate change provokes physiological responses in insects which in turn affect population growth. Coupled to this, is the threat of emerging infectious disease(s), which can severely impact cultured/managed populations of invertebrates where high densities facilitate disease transmission.

This PhD study will examine the impact of a number of these multiple stressors using in vivo model insect mass culture systems. Primarily, experiments will focus on Coleopteran larvae of the mealworm Tenebrio molitor which is mass reared for food and feed (bacteria, fungi, microsporidia). The project will then extend and challenge some of the insights gained in this system to examine comparable issues in a different insect order, namely the wax moth Galleria mellonella (fungi, viruses, microsporidia) and further, to include an established model aquatic arthropod system using amphipod spp. (viruses, microsporidia) as a proxy for shrimp/crayfish arthropod cultures used for food and feed.

 

The specific aims are to:

1) measure host fitness responses (growth, survival and development time) and immune responses (immunity assays) of insects/crustaceans reared in multi-factorial treatments (infection; elevated temperature; elevated CO2);

2) model the impact of multiple stressors (parameterised from empirical experiments) to provide best culture practice

 

Approach and Expected results:

The experiments will be completed in a ‘tiered’ approach, with T. molitor being used as the exemplar experimental species throughout experiments but with additional experiments building upon the results in this system to challenge the outcomes in different terrestrial and aquatic hosts.

Through this, the PhD will establish: 1) the effects of climate stress on pathogen transmission and host immune responses and identify 2) the effect of multiple stressors of pathogen (biotic) and climate (abiotic) on individual host fitness. They will also deliver a model that shows the impact of combined stressors at the population level to provide recommendations to industry of best culture practice and key points of intervention to reduce disease outbreak risks.

Benefits

We offer

  • A full-time PhD position (37 hours per week) for 3 years,
  • You will primarily be based at UKCEH Wallingford in the United Kingdom. During your PhD study, you will also spend 6 months at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and 12 months at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.
  • A double degree PhD programme involving the University of Leeds, United Kingdom and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • As a PhD candidate, you will participate in the INSECT DOCTORS training program. Additional courses, tailored to your desires and those of the supervising team, will be offered via the Universities of Leeds and Copenhagen and by UKCEH.
  • As a postgraduate researcher at UKCEH you will benefit from diverse laboratory facilities, field sites and data centres to support your research. UKCEH supervisors work together in multi-skilled teams to offer a unique breadth of experience and knowledge to advise and assist you throughout your training in a multi-disciplinary environment.
  • UKCEH offers bespoke training for postgraduate researchers through early-career Skill Shares, Seminar Days and workshops including ‘Essential Skills for Research Excellence’, ‘Finishing Your PhD on Time’ and ‘Careers: What Next?’. All postgraduate researchers are able to request one-to-one support in completing a personal training needs analysis.
  • Postgraduate Researchers at UKCEH are also eligible to attend a variety of specialised training courses developed for UKCEH staff and ecological and hydrological professionals.
  • In addition to your UKCEH supervisor, you will be supported by the Researcher Development Coordinator, Local Welfare Officers, Student Liaison Officers and your local Postgraduate Representatives. Together, they will provide opportunities for you to reflect on your PhD, to receive wellbeing support (e.g. the annual PhD ‘MOT’) and to gain personalised mentoring for your career development.
  • Salary - Up to £43,000 per annum (living and mobility allowances)

    Remuneration is in line with EC rules for Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN projects: https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/wp/2018-2020/main/h2020-wp1820-msca_en.pdf

  • For more information on this position and to apply please visit: https://ceh.wd3.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/CEH_Careers/job/Wallingford/Marie-Curie-Fellow_JR26

Eligibility criteria

In order to be eligible for a place within INSECT DOCTORS, strict rules are set out by the European Commission. So please make sure you comply with these rules when applying.

1. You must be an Early-Stage Researcher (ESR), meaning that at the day of your recruitment (= start date of your contract) you must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career, after obtaining your MSc degree.

2. You have not been awarded a doctoral degree before.

3. Mobility Rule: You must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the day of your recruitment. For this particular PhD position the country of the recruiting organisation is the United Kingdom. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention 1, are not taken into account.

Please note, that these rules are not negotiable.

Selection process

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student.

Offer Requirements

  • REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVEL
    Biological sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
  • REQUIRED LANGUAGES
    ENGLISH: Excellent

Skills/Qualifications

A master degree in a relevant field such as Ecology, Biology or Zoology would be preferable

• Ideally, you will have an interest in invertebrate pathogen ecology and will be comfortable with handling insects and insect pathogens.

• Eagerness to participate in the INSECT DOCTORS training programme and willingness to carry out research in the United Kingdom and Denmark.

• Ability to work effectively and communicate well within an international research team in a collaborative spirit.

• Eligibility based on the rules set by the European Committee (see above).

 

Specific Requirements

Applicants should hold an MSc degree related to the subject area with good results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience.

PGRs are not expected to demonstrate all the skills required to complete a PhD, as it is a training position, but they are expected to demonstrate an ability to acquire any missing skills. Candidates are also expected to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the personal skills needed to complete a PhD successfully.

 

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically.

 

Please include

  • Motivation Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and stating your suitability for applying for the specific PhD project.
  • Please indicate in your motivation letter why you are particularly interested in this project and whether you have applied or intend to apply for another PhD position in the INSECT DOCTORS network.
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees

Please be advised that this information will be shared with Project Office and the recruiting teams.

We will provide feedback soon after the application deadline is over. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
United Kingdom
Oxfordshire
Wallingford
OX10 8BB
Benson Lane

EURAXESS offer ID: 470902

Disclaimer:

The responsibility for the jobs published on this website, including the job description, lies entirely with the publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and selection processes.

 

Please contact support@euraxess.org if you wish to download all jobs in XML.