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Ornithology Exchange
  • MSc or PhD in avian neurobiology

    • Employer: University of Lethbridge
      Location: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
      Country: Canada
      Last Date to Apply: 02/28/2020
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Funding is currently available for an outstanding MSc or PhD student interested in avian/comparative neurobiology. The successful applicant will have opportunities to engage in both field and lab based research aimed at understanding neuroanatomical and behavioural diversity within and across bird species (http://scholar.ulethbridge.ca/iwaniuk/home). This includes access to one of the largest anatomical collections of bird brains in the world, with over 170 species representing a diverse array of orders and families. To support lab work, we have dedicated microscopy facilities, including a stereology system and high-resolution slide scanner allowing us to create "virtual slides". Our lab facilities are housed with the new Science Commons building, a state-of-the-art building with ample wet lab space and animal holding facilities. To support fieldwork, we have a dedicated 4x4 field vehicle and mobile lab for preparing samples and storing field equipment (e.g., Song Meters, traps, nets, etc.). Our fieldwork takes us to the Rocky Mountains, foothills and prairie regions of western Canada, depending on the species being studied. Opportunities are also available for students to collaborate with researchers at other institutions in Canada, the USA, Australia and elsewhere, work at museums, and travel to national and international conferences. 

    Recently completed student projects include: the effects of domestication on the chicken brain, evolution of the cerebellum in birds, endocast reconstruction of endangered parrots, and several non-avian projects focused on ground squirrels. Some examples of potential projects for new graduate students are: hippocampal neurogenesis across pigeon breeds, sensory ecology of an extinct ibis, and the evolution of cochlear nuclei and hearing abilities across birds. However, specific projects in avian neuroanatomy can be tailored to a student’s interests.

    The University of Lethbridge offers competitive scholarship funding, including tuition waivers, for applicants based on grades and research experience. Potential students must have a background in biology, psychology or neuroscience, research experience (of any kind) and a valid driver’s license.

    Located in southern Alberta and very close to the Rocky Mountains, Lethbridge offers a sunny, dry climate, which is surprisingly mild for the prairies, excellent recreational amenities, including birding, and a reasonable cost of living. The University of Lethbridge is a top-ranked Canadian university that is home to several major research centres, including the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience and the Water Institute for Sustainable Environments as well as a recently renovated field station in the Crown of the Continent region of the Rocky Mountains.

    To apply, send: 1) a c.v.; 2) unofficial copies of academic transcripts; and 3) a brief description of your research interests to: andrew.iwaniuk@uleth.ca.  Applications will be evaluated as soon as they are received.  Start dates are flexible, but the application deadlines set by the School of Graduate Studies are Feb 1st and May 1st of 2020.

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