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PhD position: Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Disease Vectors

November 24, 2023

PhD position: Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Disease Vectors

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment

Place of position: Bilthoven, the Netherlands
Duration of contract: 48 months
Hours per week: 36
Entry level: Master / doctoral

Job description:
Are you ready to unravel the intricate dynamics of ticks and mosquitoes, contributing to groundbreaking research at RIVM? As a PhD candidate in Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology, delve into the complexities of vector-borne diseases, bridging scientific curiosity with real-world impact. At RIVM, over 2400 colleagues collaborate daily to contribute to tomorrow’s healthcare. The Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology Center, part of the domain of infectious diseases and vaccinology, aims to analyze and monitor the health of the Netherlands in the field of infectious diseases. In the Animal & Vector department (A&V), approximately 30 colleagues work on detecting and combating zoonoses (diseases of animals that are transmissible to humans). It’s a self-directed, international, and professional team characterized by expertise and respect for each individual’s input and personal values.

Purpose of the Position:
As a result of climate and environmental changes, the risks of diseases transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes are evolving. Due to the fluctuating populations of these vectors, their distribution and risks for humans are challenging to measure. We are seeking a PhD candidate/Researcher who, using the latest DNA techniques, can map the population dynamics and distribution of both ticks and mosquitoes. By combining this information with genetic data of pathogens like the Borrelia bacterium and the West Nile virus, our goal is to better understand the spread and public health risks. This enables us to predict the effects of climate change and adaptation on the occurrence of vector-borne diseases.

Roles and Responsibilities:
You will participate in a 4-year scientific PhD trajectory focusing on the prevalence of ticks, mosquitoes, and their pathogens in various European habitats. The project aims to contribute to the improvement of monitoring emerging vector-borne infections, such as Lyme disease and West Nile fever. Your tasks include collecting ticks and mosquitoes through fieldwork, obtaining information about their pathogens and genetics using the latest DNA techniques in the laboratory. You will conduct various
population-genetic and bioinformatics analyses to make statements about the spread of vector-borne diseases. Presentation of findings at scientific meetings and in articles is part of the role. Collaborating closely with RIVM and Wageningen University (WUR), where the PhD position is located, is essential. Over time, you will independently initiate research and maintain contacts with (international) partners. You will undergo training at WUR to facilitate your Ph.D. completion. You will have the flexibility to determine your workplace, either at RIVM or WUR, with an estimated split of 50/50.

Please click on the following link for more details and application: Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Disease Vectors