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IUSSI North-west European section

International Union for the Study of Social Insects

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Vacancies

Here you will find details of social insect related job vacancies, studentships and grants currently available. If you have any social insect related vacancies that you would like to have advertised here, please e-mail to INSECTS@bio.ku.dk. All advertisements must include either a closing date for applications, or a date on which they may be removed from the web site. This page was last modified on Monday, May 7, 2018


Overview of vacancies on this page:

Student Interns, Social Immunity in Ants, IST Austria

Postdoc: Metabolomics of termite fungus cultivars and microbial communities, Copenhagen

Postdoc: Antimicrobial defences in fungus-farming termites, Copenhagen

Social Insect Fieldwork Assistants in West Sussex, UK

Research Technician, Insect Evolution, North Carolina State University

Field assistant, lifespan and fecundity in Temnothorax ants, Mainz

Associate Editors, Insectes Sociaux

PhD & Postdoc, Bee microbiota, Lausanne

Postdoc: Genomics of convergence and social symbiosis, CalTech

PhD: Circadian rhythms and social organization in bumblebees, Jerusalem


Student Interns, Social Immunity in Ants, IST Austria

We are seeking highly motivated students, who would like to get engaged in experimental work on collective disease defence in ants. Students will work together with PhD students and postdocs to perform experimental work, and learn our approaches and research questions. Our work comprises experimental exposure of ants to insect pathogens, behavioural observations, as well as lab work.

No a priori knowledge is needed, but the work requires a very exact working style in the laboratory, persistence and reliability. Salary is provided and subsidised housing on campus is offered.

Students should be able to stay for 2-3 months, with individual time arrangements. Preferred starting date: end May / beginning of June 2018

In case of interest, send your application incl. CV and a short motivation letter to:

Dr. Sylvia Cremer
Professor
IST Austria
Klosterneuburg
Austria
http://ist.ac.at/research-groups-pages/cremer-group/
email: sylvia.cremer@ist.ac.at

Posted 7/5/2018


Postdoc: Metabolomics of termite fungus cultivars and microbial communities, Copenhagen

Postdoctoral fellowship on comparative metabolomics of termite fungus cultivars and microbial communities

A four-year postdoctoral fellowship on comparative metabolomics of termite fungus cultivars and microbial communities is available from October 1, 2018 in the Section for Ecology and Evolution within the Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

The fellowship will be part of a 5-year research project titled Disease-free social life without antibiotic resistance, financed by an ERC Consolidator Grant to Assoc. Prof. Michael Thomas-Poulsen (http://www1.bio.ku.dk/english/staff/?pure=en/persons/227714). The project will be based at excellent research environment of the Centre for Social Evolution (http://socialevolution.ku.dk/) and will involve comparative metabolomics of fungal cultivars and termite guts and fungus combs across the evolutionary history of the termites and their fungal and bacterial symbionts. The work will involve fieldwork in Comoe National Park, Ivory Coast (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Como%C3%A9_National_Park). The successful applicant will have experience and interest in antimicrobial compounds and their evolution, microbial ecology, and metabolomics techniques, and will work closely with a PhD student, who will use genomics and metagenomics approaches to computationally determine antimicrobial evolution.

Project Overview
The application of antimicrobial compounds produced by hosts or defensive symbionts to counter the effects of diseases has been identified in a number of organisms, but despite extensive studies on their presence, we know essentially nothing about why these antimicrobials do not always trigger the rampant evolution of resistance in target parasites. Fungus-farming termites have evolved a sophisticated agricultural symbiosis that pre-dates human farming by 30 million years and, in stark contrast to virtually any other organism, does not suffer from specialised diseases. The evolution of defensive compounds from the termite host, its fungal crop, and gut bacterial communities have remained effective for over 30 million years. Recent advances in antibiotic discovery suggests that certain types of antimicrobials may have mechanisms (modes of action) that do not induce resistance evolution, for example if they prevent the formation of new cell walls and thereby restrict cell division. This work will test using comparative analyses of the evolutionary histories, rates of sequence evolution, and modes of action of antimicrobials produced in the symbiosis, whether they have properties that are predicted to not induce resistance.

Qualifications
a) PhD in chemistry, biochemistry or biology.
b) Experience with metabolomics techniques, e.g., LC-MS, LC-MS/MS and NMR.
c) Experience with microbiological techniques.
d) An interest in fieldwork and symbiotic interactions.
e) Creativity and ability to be both team-oriented and independent.
f) Embrace of an international research environment and interdisciplinary research.
g) A proven record of excellent English speaking, reading and writing skills.

Procedures and shortlisting
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointments Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether an expert committee will assess their application. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself. The Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee, will make the final selection of the successful candidate.

Place of employment and principal place of work
University of Copenhagen, Department of Biology, Section for Ecology and Evolution, Universitetsparken 15, Building 3, DK-2100 Copenhagen East. The University of Copenhagen provides a top-notch research environment and the city of Copenhagen provides a vibrant cultural scene.

Terms of employment

The successful candidate will be offered a full-time position for a period of four years, contingent on a satisfactory performance, with the specific intent that it results in production of scientific publications.

Terms of appointment and payment according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. While negotiation for salary supplement is possible, the starting salary is currently up to 419,771 DKK/year (+ pension up to DKK 71,780) including annual supplement and pension.

Further information can be obtained from Dr. Thomas-Poulsen (e-mail: mpoulsen@bio.ku.dk).

How to apply

Applications must include: (1) a cover letter, (2) statement of research interests and reasons for applying to this position (max 2 pages), (3) curriculum vitae (including a list of publications), (4) copies of relevant diplomas (Master or Science and PhD), and (5) the names, e-mails, telephone numbers and addresses of 3 referees. In addition to the fulfilment of the above-mentioned qualifications, the main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant, the match with the project, and good interpersonal skills.

Please forward your application via the job portal of The University of Copenhagen at http://employment.ku.dk/faculty/?show=147143. Press “APPLY NOW” to fill in the application form.

Deadline for application is June 3, 2018 at 11:59 PM CET. Applications received after the deadline, not using the online application form, or not including the required documents will not be considered.

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Posted 7/5/2018


Postdoc: Antimicrobial defences in fungus-farming termites, Copenhagen

Postdoctoral fellowship on antimicrobial defences in fungus-farming termites

A four-year postdoctoral fellowship on antimicrobial defences of termite fungus cultivars and microbial communities is available from October 1, 2018 in the Section for Ecology and Evolution within the Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

The fellowship will be part of a 5-year research project titled Disease-free social life without antibiotic resistance, financed by an ERC Consolidator Grant to Assoc. Prof. Michael Thomas-Poulsen (http://www1.bio.ku.dk/english/staff/?pure=en/persons/227714). The project will be based at excellent research environment of the Centre for Social Evolution (http://socialevolution.ku.dk/), and will involve development of fungus-growing termite colony rearing, infection experiments and sampling for chemical and genomic analyses. The work will involve fieldwork in Comoe National Park, Ivory Coast (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Como%C3%A9_National_Park). The successful applicant will have experience and interest in social insect rearing, infection experiments and defensive symbioses, and will work closely with a microbiologist/molecular biologist PhD student, who will use experimental evolution approaches to explore resistance evolution in target pathogens.

Project Overview

The application of antimicrobial compounds produced by hosts or defensive symbionts to counter the effects of diseases has been identified in a number of organisms, but despite extensive studies on their presence, we know essentially nothing about why these antimicrobials do not always trigger the rampant evolution of resistance in target parasites. Fungus-farming termites have evolved a sophisticated agricultural symbiosis that pre-dates human farming by 30 million years and, in stark contrast to virtually any other organism, does not suffer from specialised diseases. The evolution of defensive compounds from the termite host, its fungal crop, and gut bacterial communities have remained effective for over 30 million years. Recent advances in antibiotic discovery suggests that certain types of antimicrobials may have mechanisms (modes of action) that do not induce resistance evolution, for example if they prevent the formation of new cell walls and thereby restrict cell division. This work will test using comparative analyses of the evolutionary histories, rates of sequence evolution, and modes of action of antimicrobials produced in the symbiosis, whether they have properties that are predicted to not induce resistance.

Qualifications
a) PhD in biology.
b) Experience with insect rearing.
c) Experience with microbiological techniques and infection experiments.
d) An interest in fieldwork and symbiotic interactions.
e) Creativity and ability to be both team-oriented and independent.
f) Embrace of an international research environment and interdisciplinary research.
g) A proven record of excellent English speaking, reading and writing skills.

Procedures and shortlisting
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointments Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether an expert committee will assess their application. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself. The Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee, will make the final selection of the successful candidate.

Place of employment and principal place of work
University of Copenhagen, Department of Biology, Section for Ecology and Evolution, Universitetsparken 15, Building 3, DK-2100 Copenhagen East. The University of Copenhagen provides a top-notch research environment and the city of Copenhagen provides a vibrant cultural scene.

Terms of employment
The successful candidate will be offered a full-time position for a period of four years, contingent on a satisfactory performance, with the specific intent that it results in production of scientific publications.

Terms of appointment and payment according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. While negotiation for salary supplement is possible, the starting salary is currently up to 419,771 DKK/year including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 71,780).

Further information can be obtained from Dr. Thomas-Poulsen (e-mail: mpoulsen@bio.ku.dk).

How to apply
Applications must include: (1) a cover letter, (2) statement of research interests and reasons for applying to this position (max 2 pages), (3) curriculum vitae (including a list of publications), (4) copies of relevant diplomas (Master or Science and PhD), and (5) the names, e-mails, telephone numbers and addresses of 3 referees. In addition to the fulfilment of the above-mentioned qualifications, the main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant, the match with the project, and good interpersonal skills.

Please forward your application via the job portal of The University of Copenhagen at: http://employment.ku.dk/faculty/?show=147139 . Press “APPLY NOW” to fill in the application form.

Deadline for application is June 3, 2018 at 11:59 PM CET. Applications received after the deadline, not using the online application form, or not including the required documents will not be considered.

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Posted 7/5/2018


Social Insect Fieldwork Assistants in West Sussex, UK

We seek two fieldwork assistants to help research social behaviour in the ground nesting sweat bee, Lasioglossum malachurum, from the start of June until mid-end of July 2018.

The assistants will be working alongside a Postdoctoral researcher and a PhD student at a rewilding estate in West Sussex, UK. L. malachurum is a small bee that nests in very small colonies (fewer than 10 individuals) in the ground, and has an insignificant sting. Work involves: observing foraging behaviour, handling and marking bees, setting up video cameras, uploading video footage and excavating nests from the ground. In warm weather, field assistants will work long days in the field; in bad weather there will be tasks to carry out back at the accommodation/opportunity for time off. Because the work involves recording colour marks on individual animals, the job would not be suitable for someone who is colour-blind. See our research group website for more information about the kind of work we do (http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Jeremy_Field).

Experience of working with insects and a Degree (or working towards a Degree) in a Behaviour/Evolution/Ecology-related topic are desired. Flexibility around the start and end date of the assistant position is required. The successful applicants must have enthusiasm for fieldwork and be prepared to work hard. They will obtain excellent experience of cutting-edge social insect research.

Shared accommodation in Sussex is provided, but assistants are required to pay for their own food/personal expenses. Assistants receive £125 per week to cover costs.

Please contact Dr Tanya Pennell (t.pennell@exeter.ac.uk) and CC Prof. Jeremy Field (j.p.field@exeter.ac.uk) to discuss these positions further.

Posted 7/5/2018


Research Technician, Insect Evolution, North Carolina State University

A Research Specialist position is now open in Bonnie Blaimer’s lab in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University. The successful candidate will assist in conducting molecular genomics laboratory work and data analyses, as well as support field sampling and collection-based research for several ongoing projects on the diversity and evolution of ants and other Hymenoptera.

Molecular genomics work includes (but is not limited to) library preparation and target enrichment of UCEs, and the processing of UCE sequence data using bioinformatics and phylogenetic tools. The individual will also be involved in field work in natural habitats in North Carolina, employing standard sampling protocols for insects, and will be responsible for the processing of insect samples, including sample sorting and identifications, labeling and databasing. Further expected are contributions to research design and evaluation, publication and grant writing, and the training of students in laboratory techniques.

Candidates must have a B.S. in Biology, Entomology or related discipline (MSc. preferred). Prior work/research experience in a molecular laboratory, knowledge in insect identification (or a strong interest to learn) and basic experience with linux/mac command line and the R environment are further required. Preference will be given to candidates with bioinformatics skills, such as experience with Python or a different programming language, and advanced knowledge of collection-based research techniques in Entomology, such as specimen identification, preparation, imaging and databasing. We seek an individual with good organizational, interpersonal and verbal communication skills, as well as good physical fitness and willingness to perform field work under variable conditions.

Start date is July 1, 2018. This position is initially for one year, with potential for renewal for up to two additional years. Unfortunately, we can consider only US-citizens or non-citizens with existing work authorization for the US at this point.

To apply: Submit 1) a cover letter outlining your motivation and research experience, 2) CV, and 3) the contact information for three references at https://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/100271.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Posted 7/5/2018


Field assistant, lifespan and fecundity in Temnothorax ants, Mainz

The Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution at the University of Mainz is searching for a field / research assistant (65% TVL E13) for the research project

The functional basis of lifespan and fecundity in Temnothorax ants

We invite applications for a field / research assistant (2 months, extension possible) for an ant collection trip to the Chiricahua Mountains Arizona followed by transfer of ant colonies to lab nests at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. Our project aims at understanding the evolution of life history traits such as lifespan and fecundity and their functional transcriptomic basis. Our model systems are Temnothorax ants, in which workers and queen lifespan vary between one to over twenty years. Field work includes searching for ant colonies in rock crevices and transfer to vials with an aspirator.

The position requires a Master degree in Biology. Candidates with an interest in an academic career in Evolutionary Biology will be preferred, as it is likely that the successful candidate could may be able to continue to work on this project for his / her PHD. In this project, we will use experiments, RNA-seq and RNAi gene knockdowns and epigenetic inhibitors to study the regulation and connectivity of gene regulatory pathways linked to longevity and fecundity. We are searching for a highly motivated student with a strong background in evolutionary genetics and behavioral ecology. Previous research experience with social insects, ant collection, transcriptomics are advantageous, but not required. Students from every nationality are encouraged to apply. The working language of the laboratory is English.

For more information on the position, especially the long-term perspectives, please contact us.

Interested candidates should send an application (as a single pdf e-mail attachment) containing a letter of motivation, a brief statement of their research experience and interests, a curriculum vitae (including grades of their B.Sc and M.Sc), and the names and email address of 2 potential referees to Prof. Dr. Susanne Foitzik (foitzik@uni-mainz.de) or Dr. Barbara Feldmeyer (barbara.feldmeyer@senckenberg.de).

Deadline for applications is May 25th 2018.
Skype-interviews will be scheduled on June 5th 2018, on-site interviews about 2 weeks later. Fixed starting date due to the field season in Arizona will be August 11th 2018.

Posted 25/4/2018


Associate Editors, Insectes Sociaux

Insectes Sociaux, the official journal of the IUSSI, is looking for two to three Associate Editors. 

Insectes Sociaux publishes papers dealing with various aspects of the biology and evolution of social insects and other presocial arthropods; these include ecology, ethology, morphology, population genetics, reproduction, communication, sociobiology, caste differentiation and social parasitism.

Associate Editors solicit reviews of submitted papers and make recommendations to the Editor-in-Chief about the acceptability of submissions.  The submission load for an Associate Editor is usually 20-25 manuscripts per year.  Applications from scientists studying any aspect of social insect biology are welcome, although the most immediate editorial needs are for expertise in bee behavior, wasp behavior and ecology, termite biology, and the biology of presocial arthropods. Nominations are also welcome.  Associate Editors must be mid-career or senior scientists who have strong publication records and active research programs.  Associate Editors are paid a small stipend per manuscript handled.

Insectes Sociaux seeks to have an editorial team that reflects all aspects of the diversity of its membership.

Applications and nominations should be sent to: Prof. Michael Breed, Editor-in-Chief, Insectes Sociaux at: michael.breed@colorado.edu.
Applications should include a current CV and a letter of interest.

Posted 31/3/2018


PhD & Postdoc, Bee microbiota, Lausanne

1. PhD position in gut microbiota research/microbial genomics

In the framework of our ERC Starting grant ‘MicroBeeOme, we are looking for an outstanding and self-driven PhD candidate interested microbial symbiosis, microbiota research, genomics, and evolution. The project consists of experimental and computational work packages. But, the focus of the project can be tailored to the interests of the applicant. To apply and for additional information go here. For questions contact: philipp.engel@unil.ch.

2. Postdoc position in gut microbiota-host interaction

The aim of this project is to understand the molecular cross-talk between the bee gut bacteria and the host. Applicants should have one or more first-author publications in major peer-reviewed international journals and a strong background in at least one of the following fields : microbial community ecology, microbiota research, microbe-host/microbe-microbe interactions, insect sciences. Prior research experience with high-throughput sequencing and/or metabolomics would be desired.To apply and for additional information go here. For questions contact: philipp.engel@unil.ch.

The closing date for both positions is 30 May 2018

Posted 31/3/2018


Postdoc: Genomics of convergence and social symbiosis, CalTech

A postdoctoral position is available to study the genomic basis of evolutionary convergence in the lab of Joe Parker at the California Institute of Technology.

Work in the Parker lab is focused on the evolution of complex phenotypes, principally in the context of symbiosis. We use a unique system to explore this phenomenon: the convergent evolution of symbioses between rove beetles and social insects. Rove beetles (family Staphylinidae) are the largest metazoan family, and include multiple remarkable lineages that have evolved to become "social parasites" stealth impostors that infiltrate ant or termite societies, employing radical behavioral, anatomical and chemical adaptations. We have found that many of the most extreme symbiotic phenotypes have evolved convergently numerous times in distantly related lineages. We are a now seeking a postdoctoral candidate to probe the genomic basis of complex phenotypic convergence in this system. Our goals are twofold: i) Pinpoint shared or unique molecular changes that drive the evolution of social symbiosis in rove beetles; ii) Make basic inferences into the long-standing question of how c omplex phenotypic changes can arise repeatedly and predictably over deep evolutionary timescales.

Aspects of this work will involve two study systems: 1) A deep-time system encompassing symbiont lineages from across the rove beetle subfamily Aleocharinae that are separated by up to 100 million years. 2) A recently-evolved system in which multiple rove beetle lineages have convergently evolved symbioses with a single ant genus in the South Western US. This latter project involves potential fieldwork at sites in Southern California and Arizona. The successful candidate will spearhead genome sequencing of free-living and symbiotic species from across phylogeny, and use comparative genomic tools to understand patterns of genome evolution. There is potential for collaboration with Caltech labs using machine learning and single cell profiling, and the candidate will also lead genome/transcriptome assembly and annotation of several higher quality reference genomes to facilitate functional genetic studies in laboratory model rove beetle species. Depending on the candidate, the pr oject may involve wet lab work to functionally test loci with possible causal roles in symbiosis, or involve collaboration with others to this end.

The following papers illustrate the rove beetle-ant system:

  1. Parker, J., Eldredge, K.T., Thomas, I.M., Davis, S., Coleman, R.T. (2017) Hox-Logic of Preadaptations for Social Insect Symbiosis in Rove Beetles. bioRxiv, 198945
  2. Maruyama, M., and Parker, J. (2017) Deep-Time Convergence in Rove Beetle Symbionts of Army Ants. Current Biology, 27, 920-926 PMID: 28285995
  3. Yamamoto, S., Maruyama, M. and Parker, J. (2016) Evidence for Social Parasitism of Early Insect Societies by Cretaceous Rove Beetles. Nature Communications, 7: 13658 PMID: 27929066

Candidates
Applications are encouraged from talented and motivated individuals who have a Ph.D. or are nearing completion of their Ph.D. with experience in genome and transcriptome sequencing, genome assembly, annotation, comparative genomics and genome evolution. Interest or experience in machine learning and/or single cell profiling are desirable. Top candidates will have a strong track record of research productivity, excellent communication skills, enthusiasm for basic research and a collegial approach to science. Candidates should send a cover letter, a detailed curriculum vitae, and names and contact details for three references to joep@caltech.edu

The California Institute of Technology
Caltech is consistently ranked among the top research universities in the world and hosts a diverse and collaborative scientific community. Caltech is located in Pasadena, California, a vibrant city 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles and minutes from the Parker lab's fieldwork sites in the San Gabriel mountains. More info about the Parker lab: https://www.bbe.caltech.edu/content/joseph-parker

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Posted 31/3/2018


PhD: Circadian rhythms and social organization in bumblebees, Jerusalem

The interplay between circadian rhythms and social organization in bumblebees. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Temporal coordination is crucial for the organization of insect societies. The aim of this project is to understand the interplay between circadian clock genes and complex social behaviours in the model bumblebee Bombus terrestris. The circadian clock of bees influences complex behaviours such as time-compensated sun-compass navigation, time sensing, social synchronization, division of labour, as well as the response to agrochemicals. However, a genetic approach has not been attempted in order to definitively link the clock to these phenotypes. This PhD project will build on recent circadian transcriptomic analyses and development of methods (i.e., CRISPR-Cas9, RNAi) for manipulating genes in bees. We will examine the temporal and spatial expression patterns of clock genes in the bee brain under different environmental conditions and generate clock mutants to determine their effects on these complex behaviours.

This project is part of the CINChron - Comparative Insect Chronobiology project that is funded by Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network Program (ITN). CINChron offers:

I am looking for a candidate that:

For more details on CINChron and its eligibility rules visit https://cinchron.org/application/

For more information on the research in our group please contact:

Guy Bloch (PhD)
Professor of Biology
Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, 91904
Israel
E-mail: guy.bloch@mail.huji.ac.il
Website: http://guybloch.huji.ac.il/

Posted 31/3/2018


Vacancies will be advertised on this page until the closing date for applications, or, where no firm closing date is given, for a maximum of 3 months. If a position has been filled in the meantime, please let the webmaster know.

This site is maintained and promoted on the Internet by David Nash. email to: DRNash @ bio.ku.dk
Last modified Monday, May 7, 2018