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  • Postdoc: Waterfowl Movement Ecology, Avian influenza and Spatial-temporal Models

    • Employer: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and University of Oklahoma
      Location: Laurel, Maryland
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 12/03/2020
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    We seek a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to join our international, interdisciplinary research team studying waterfowl movements and avian influenza threats in the changing agricultural landscape of eastern China. The position will be stationed at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland via the University of Oklahoma (OU). A One-Health, Big Data framework approach will be taken, with collaboration among federal, academic, and international agency partners under this multi-year NSF-funded project. We aim for the selected candidate to begin work in January 2021, with some flexibility related to COVID-19 precautions.

    Position Description: The postdoctoral researcher will focus on conducting geo-spatial analyses and simulation modeling projects to examine the role of waterfowl in the transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in China, an endemic region and epicenter of novel HPAIs. Modeling efforts will include developing agent-based models (ABMs) for wild waterfowl species and applying compartmentalized susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered (SEIR) disease models for highly pathogenic avian influenza transmission at the wild bird-domestic bird-human interface. Waterfowl movement ecology, species distribution modeling, and forecasting for the bird components will be inputs integrated with phylogenetic analyses investigating virus evolution and changes in agricultural systems in eastern China. 

    This postdoctoral researcher position will be hired through the University of Oklahoma and will be based at PWRC as the off-site employee of the University of Oklahoma, under the supervision of Dr. Diann Prosser (USGS PWRC, Co-Investigator of the project). The selected candidate will work with Dr. Diann Prosser, Dr. John Y. Takekawa (Consulting Waterfowl Expert), and Dr. Xiangming Xiao (OU, Project Director). The PWRC is a world-renowned wildlife research center located in Laurel, Maryland, 30 minutes north of Washington D.C. The PWRC in-lab interactions will include other post-docs, long-term technicians, graduate students, and interns.

    Required Expertise and Skills: The ideal candidate will have a proven publication record with a doctoral degree in Ecology, Wildlife Biology, Mathematics, Epidemiology, GIS, Statistics, or a related field. We seek a candidate who is highly motivated, able to work independently, and good at communicating within an international team with diverse scientific expertise. Candidates with Bayesian, Spatial, Movement Ecology, and Machine-Learning experience will be preferred. Proficiency using R is required.  Experience using high performance computing, Python, ArcGIS, NetLogo, and related statistical software is a plus.

    Salary: Starting salary will be $50,000 per year with university employee benefits including medical, dental, and life insurance. Hiring is contingent on a background check. This position will be appointed on an annual basis with potential renewal up to four years, dependent upon candidate's performance and fund availability.

    Application Materials: Interested candidates should send the following materials in a single PDF file to Dr. Diann Prosser at pwrc_application@usgs.gov: (1) a letter of research interest, (2) a CV, (3) a writing sample (preferably published), and (4) and contact information for three references. Please add “NSF Postdoc” in the subject line and name your file with your name (e.g. DoeJohn.pdf). Applications will be reviewed as received with a closing date of December 3, 2020.

    Contact Person: Diann Prosser (pwrc_application@usgs.gov --- submit application here), and Xiangming Xiao (xiangming.xiao@ou.edu).

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