PhD Studentships in the Field of Ecology of Infections, University of Antwerp [Belgium]

The University of Antwerp is a knowledge centre with 3.600 co-workers that performs ground-breaking and innovative research of international standing. The university takes special care to ensure optimum support and supervision of students, and pays constant attention to educational innovation. The university is an autonomous pluralistic institution that is committed to the enhancement of an open, democratic and multicultural society, and it pursues an equal opportunities policy.

Faculty of Sciences, Department of Biology

The Evolutionary Ecology Group has the following position available:

Ph.D.-student in the field of Ecology of Infections (m/f)

Position Description and Information
Applications for a Ph.D.-student fellowship at the University of Antwerp are welcomed from persons with a master’s degree in Biology or other Life Sciences.

The Ph.D.-student will join a group of researchers working on rodent-borne diseases and population dynamics, in the framework of a project entitled “Infectious disease models: wildlife ecology, ecological disturbance and transmission to humans.”This project is a collaboration with the UAs Centre for Health Economics Research & Modeling Infectious Diseases. Changing environmental conditions (e.g. climate) are likely to affect the ecology of infections, through changes in the abundance of susceptible natural host populations or by affecting transmission rates (directly or through vectors). The project investigates these effects, through observations, experiments and mathematical modeling, for five model infections selected for their different characteristics (hantaviruses in voles, plague in gerbils, arenavirus in African mice, dengue fever in humans, rotaviruses in vaccinated humans). The Ph.D.-student will focus on the hantavirus and/or arenavirus model systems.

Your profile:

Essential criteria:

  • M.Sc. in Biology or similar degree in other Life Sciences,
  • Excellent study results (top 10%).
  • Willingness to combine intensive field work in Belgium and/or Tanzania with routine laboratory diagnostics, statistical data analysis and mathematical modeling.
  • Ability to use English as a working language.

Desirable criteria

  • Courses taken in population ecology, wildlife disease ecology, mathematical modeling.
  • Experience with rodent trapping, routine serology and PCR diagnostics, mathematical modeling.

We offer
An initial 1-year contract, extendable to 4 years after positive evaluation. During the first year, a grant proposal has to be completed. The position can be taken up immediately, preferably from October 2009, but timing can be discussed.

A challenging and rewarding research fellowship in a dynamical and flexible international research environment, where you receive a significant freedom in developing your own research interests.

A stimulating international collaborative network, with opportunities for study visits abroad


Application deadline: August 20, 2009

To apply, complete the mandatory application form, with as attachments your curriculum vitae and a brief (250 words) summary of your motivation and relevant knowledge.

More information and a full project description can be obtained from Prof. dr. Herwig Leirs, herwig.leirs[ at ], phone: +32 3 2653469