Postdoctoral position in Epidemiology, University of Montreal. Closing date: March 1st 2018.

Epidemiology of Zoonoses and Public Health Research Unit (GREZOSP)
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montreal

As part of a multi-disciplinary research program aimed at assessing and predicting the risk of exposure to wildlife diseases of importance to public health, we are looking for a motivated postdoctoral research associate in modelling and epidemiology.

Project: Modelling raccoon rabies variant re-incursion and spread in southern Québec and Ontario

The raccoon rabies variant (RRV) circulates in reservoir raccoon (Procyon lotor) and skunk (Mephitis mephitis) populations. First incursions of RRV from the United States occurred in late 1990s early 2000s in both Ontario and Québec. Although Oral Rabies Vaccination campaigns contributed to successfully eliminate the variant in both province by 2009, the threat of reintroduction was still present as rabies cases continued to circulate in adjacent New York and New England states. In 2015, RRV re-emerged in southern Ontario creating a large epizootic in the Hamilton area. Although no outbreaks occurred in Quebec, rabies control activities are still conducted to prevent any reintroduction. Until the RRV epidemic front is pushed back from the Canadian border, the challenge is to predict when and where new incursions of RRV will occur and what will be the dynamics of new outbreaks.

The objective of this project is to parameterise and adapt the Ontario Rabies Model (ORM), a spatially explicit individual-based simulation model, to evaluate the benefit-costs of current and future control activities with respect to the risk of RRV northward re-emergence and spread. Simulations using vaccination scenarios (e.g. bait location and density, vaccination barrier width, immunity levels) will be developed to identify areas at risk of RRV outbreaks and evaluate the effectiveness of rabies control strategies on complex landscapes (e.g. heterogeneity in host habitat quality and availability).

Research team:

A multidisciplinary research team, working in the fields of epidemiology, public health, modeling, ecology, and pathology, will offer a rich and stimulating work environment. The research team consists of professors and researchers of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Montreal, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and United States Department of Agriculture , Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Guelph.

Candidate’s profile:

Diploma:

  • PhD in Epidemiology, Mathematics, Ecology, or other relevant field
  • Master’s and/or First degree in veterinary medicine, medicine, science (Epidemiology, Public health, Biology, Ecology, Mathematics), engineering

Abilities:

  • Interest in mathematical modelling
  • Knowledge of epidemiology
  • Good knowledge in statistics
  • Experience using statistical (R, SAS, STATA) and geomatics (ArcMap, Qgis) software
  • Good scientific writing and communication skills

Skills:

  • Ability to review, synthesize and analyze large amounts of scientific literature and complex information/data
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to take initiative and work independently as well as part of a team

Terms:

Duration: 1 to 2 years starting May 1st, 2018

Home institution: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montreal

Funding: This position is funded for at least 1 year. The researcher will be expected to complete scholarship applications from granting agencies to supplement and prolong their position.

Salary: Competitive salary offered commensurate with experience.

Directors: The project is codirected by Patrick Leighton (U. de Montréal) and Erin Rees (Public Health Agency if Canada) 

To apply:

Please send a cover letter (one page), CV, latest university transcript, and a list of two references (name and contact details) to patrick.a.leighton@umontreal.ca.

Closing date: March 1st 2018.

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