Diseases may cause mortality, yet wild populations contain individuals that vary in their resistance. Why is there variation? What is the molecular basis of resistance? How does resistance function in the wild?
Applications are invited for a four-year PhD student position in the research group of Anna-Liisa Laine, part of the Centre of Excellence in Metapopulation Research at the University of Helsinki.
The project is focused on the interplay between ecology, genetics and evolution in shaping resistance of host plant Plantago lanceolata against its pathogens. Host plant P. lanceolata and its fungal pathogen Podosphaera plantaginis have been intensively studied in the Åland Islands. With 12 years of epidemiological data from over 4000 host populations and solid experimental protocols, this system offers unique opportunities for testing classic hypotheses regarding host–pathogen co-evolution with direct links to epidemiological dynamics.
In practice, you will carry out field work in the Åland Islands archipelago (SW Finland) and conduct experimental work in the laboratory and under semi natural field conditions. There is also potential to develop and use genomic tools to identify genes involved in disease resistance. The work may involve extended periods in the field sites in Åland and working with international collaborators in Europe and Australia. You are expected to present your findings in scientific meetings and workshops, as well as prepare publications for international scientific journals.
Motivated students with a MSc degree in ecology, evolutionary biology or molecular biology (or other related fields) are encouraged to apply. Prior expertise in experimental design, statistical analysis, bioinformatics or molecular laboratory work are a bonus but your most important assets are enthusiasm for research, motivation to learn new things, and ability to work independently while being an active member of a research team.
Please send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 8th of January 2014 with title PhD RESISTANCE. Attach a CV (with possible publications included), a copy of your transcript records (= printout of the courses you’ve completed during your MSc), contact details of two references (e.g. MSc thesis supervisor), and a letter (MAX 1 page) with a description of your researcher interests and why you would be a suitable candidate for the project.
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