Graduate position – Ecology and Evolution of Host-parasite Interactions

A graduate research position (PhD) is available in Dr. Lien Luong’s research group (https://grad.biology.ualberta.ca/luong/) at the University of Alberta. Students interested in the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases and/or parasite-host interactions are encouraged to apply.

Levels of parasitism vary continuously in nature, with some species shifting along a continuum from benign to pathogenic over ecological and evolutionary time scale. One of our aims is to investigate the ecology and evolution of parasites that express variation in host exploitation strategies, a form of phenotypic plasticity. Facultative parasites present a unique and interesting opportunity for addressing these questions because they regularly shift from free-living to parasitic lifestyles depending on the environmental conditions. The facultative ectoparasitic mite, Macrocheles subbadius feeds and reproduces on highly ephemeral habitats. Mites become parasitic under certain circumstances by attaching to and feeding on Drosophila fruit fly hosts. Our research group also utilizes insect respirometry to investigate the physiological ecology of exposure to and infection by mites and a nematode parasite.

The Department of Biological Sciences at U of A is one of the largest and most scientifically diverse departments of its kind in Canada. We offer research-orientated, thesis-based graduate programs at both the MSc and PhD levels. Study programs are tailored individually to graduate student needs and emphasize interdisciplinary thinking. All students accepted into our MSc program have guaranteed funding for at least 2.3 years and 5 yrs for the PhD program. Teaching training is provided and is mandatory for all students on graduate teaching assistantships. With ~200 graduate students, >65 full-time faculty, excellent support facilities and ample research funding, a vibrant and exciting learning environment is provided. For more information about applying to the graduate program: http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/programs/graduate/prospective/

To apply, please send a brief explanation of your research experience and interests and a copy of your curriculum vitae to lluong@ualberta.ca. For more information, please contact Dr. Lien Luong (lluong@ualberta.ca).