The overreaching objective of AvecNet is to develop new tools for malaria vector control in Africa. The mandate includes a commitment to develop research capacity in this field and as a result we will be offering a number of PhD studentships to outstanding young scientists who wish to pursue a career in malaria vector control in Africa.
Organisation: Liverpool School of tropical Medicine
Location of PhD: NIMR Tanzania and LSTM, UK. Registered for PhD at LSTM
Duration: 3 years, commencing October 2011
Closing date for applications: 18th June 2011
A new multi-partner, interdisciplinary consortium, AvecNet, has recently been established with funding from the European Commission (www.avecnet.eu). The overreaching objective of AvecNet is to develop new tools for malaria vector control in Africa. The mandate includes a commitment to develop research capacity in this field and as a result we will be offering a number of PhD studentships to outstanding young scientists who wish to pursue a career in malaria vector control in Africa.
The effects of residual insecticide treatments on the host seeking and resting behaviour of endophilic malaria vectors are not well understood. The possible range of behavioural responses that such insecticides might elicit is great, with each response potentially influencing how effective any insecticide might be, how resistance might develop and how rapidly such a process might take. Moreover, insecticide resistant populations might exhibit different responses. This aspect of insecticide action is rarely investigated and lags behind our knowledge of the genetics of insecticide resistance.
Using state-of-the-art techniques, being developed in collaboration with the Mechanical Engineering Department at Leeds University, we are investigating these behaviours in the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae in the laboratory and in the field. Working with other groups within the multidisciplinary research consortium AVECNET (we aim to characterise behaviour in insecticide susceptible populations from Tanzania prior to studies on resistant populations. Work will be undertaken in unique laboratory experimental facilities in UK and in experimental huts in the field in Africa.
The student will be responsible for building quantifiable and reproducible profiles of a series of behaviours in mosquitoes that will provide a basis for the detection of any potential changes that might occur with insecticide resistance.
1. To investigate approach and landing responses of Anopheles gambiae to residual treatments of insecticides at the micro and macro-behavioural level, using new tracking technologies, in the laboratory
2. To develop these protocols for use in similar studies and in experimental hut studies on natural mosquito populations in the field in Tanzania
3. To determine how insecticides, deployed by various standard methods in houses, impact on mosquito behaviour and how mosquito behaviours might influence the efficacy of individual insecticides
4. To investigate the association between behavioural profiles and molecular markers of resistance in different susceptible and resistant mosquito populations in Africa
This PhD will combine cutting edge insect tracking technology with field entomology. During initial studies at Liverpool, the student will learn how to undertake laboratory studies quantifying behaviour prior to work in Tanzania. The student will receive training in insect behaviour experimental techniques and associated technology. Liaising with collaborators investigating the same mosquito populations at the genetic level, there may be additional opportunities for molecular investigations.
• Previous experience working with malaria vectors in the field
• Good understanding of vector behaviour
• BSc/MSc in biological sciences
• Scientifically inquisitive with a commitment to learning and applying complex laboratory and statistical techniques
• Willingness to spend part of PhD in UK
• Commitment to a career in malaria vector control in Africa
Capacity building in malaria endemic countries is a key objective of the AvecNet project. Although there are no nationality restrictions on this PhD position, applications from African nationals with demonstrated interest and commitment to developing a long term career in malaria control in Africa are particularly encouraged.
Further information on this PhD can be obtained email@example.com
This PhD is currently open to applications. To apply please send a CV and cover letter explaining your reasons for applying to firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date for applications is 18th June 2011.