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  • Ph.D. Assistantship: Host-parasite interactions in Alaskan grouse

    Drew Sweet
    • Employer: Arkansas State University
      Location: Jonesboro, AR
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 01/01/2023
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    We are seeking a candidate for a Ph.D. assistantship in Molecular Biosciences or Environmental Sciences at Arkansas State University. The student will use an integrative approach to study the relationships between Alaska grouse and their parasites. The project will incorporate field-based assessment, genomics, transcriptomics, and molecular screening to assess infection of parasites and evolutionary responses to infection in different populations of grouse species in Alaska. The successful candidate will be involved in field (sampling grouse), laboratory (genetic screening, genomic extractions and sequencing), and bioinformatics work. The project will be part of a longer-term collaborative project focused on the dynamics of novel parasite infection in Arctic grouse populations. Therefore, the successful candidate will also work with collaborators at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, along with a team of private landowners and biologists at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

    The successful candidate will work under a Research Traineeship called UandI-DEECoDE (pronounced “You and I decode”), which stands for Understanding Invasion and Disease Ecology and Evolution through Computational Data Education. This Research Traineeship aims to address the absence of interdisciplinarity across invasion biology, disease ecology, and data science by effectively bridging these disciplines and improving the pace and magnitude of scientific discovery across these fields (https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=2151820&HistoricalAwards=false).

    As a funded doctoral trainee in the UandI-DEECoDE program, the successful applicant will have access to funds for travel and research, along with a one-year stipend. This stipend can be used to cover graduate school fees and living expenses. Continuing support for salary and tuition will come from university program funds or other external grants from academic mentors.

    Trainees will be able to participate in a student leadership committee to help ensure the program’s longevity and that students’ needs are being met. Additionally, annual winter data bootcamps and summer professional development institutes will be organized. These will be opportunities for funded and non-funded students to collaborate on scientific case studies, hear guest speakers, and present research ideas or findings.

    Qualifications: Master of Science (preferred) or Bachelor of Science in evolution, ecology, wildlife, or other relevant discipline. Experience with molecular techniques, bioinformatics (especially R or Python), and field work is desirable but not required. However, the successful candidate must exhibit a willingness to work hard, learn new skills, and be able to work well in a team. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

    Contact: To apply, pleased send the following to Drew Sweet (asweet@astate.edu) with the subject line “NRT PhD application”: 1) One-page cover letter detailing your interest in the position, 2) CV, 3) unofficial transcripts, 4) a writing sample (if possible), and 5) contact information for three professional references.

    Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled, but priority will be given to applications received by January 1, 2023. Selected finalists will then be directed to apply for the UandI-DEECoDE program, which has a deadline of January 15, 2023. The position starts August 2023.


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