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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 Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Overview of vacancies on this page:

Postdoc: modelling ant transport networks, York

Postdoc: Bumble bee larval development, University of California, Riverside

Postdoc: Regulation of body size-based social organization in bumblebees, Jerusalem

PhD: Toward an hymenoptera epigenetic molecular model, Liverpool

Post-doctoral position in termite functional genomics, Paris/South Africa


Postdoc: modelling ant transport networks, York

We are recruiting the first of 2 postdocs to join the team of the National Science Foundation project “Dynamic ant networks: How environmental constraints and ecological context shape resource transport systems”. This international team is led by Matina Donaldson-Matasci, Harvey Mudd College, USA, Scott Powell, George Washington University, USA, and Elva Robinson, University of York, UK. This post-doc position will be based in the Department of Biology at the University of York under direct supervision of Elva Robinson, Senior Lecturer in Ecology.

The goal of the project is to develop a general theory for how environmental constraints and opportunities shape dynamic transport networks in biological systems. The project seeks to create a unifying modelling framework predicting how biological transport systems respond dynamically and adaptively to environmental pressures, balancing competing priorities such as cost, efficiency and robustness. This new model will be parameterised with existing data from Formica wood ants and newly collected data from Cephalotes turtle ants, and used to make broad testable predictions about the organisation of biological transport systems.  

The successful candidate will conduct research under the supervision of senior colleagues and to contribute to the production of research by developing the broad model, applying it to specific cases, generating predictions and comparing results with empirical data. The modelling will use a dynamic network approach; you will be expected to play a core role in developing the modelling framework. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to visit the Florida Keys field site to make direct observations of Cephalotes turtle ants and will work closely with a second research associate, who will focus on empirical data collection.

For more information and to apply see:
https://jobs.york.ac.uk/wd/plsql/wd_portal.show_job?p_web_site_id=3885&p_web_page_id=358865
or contact Elva Robinson (elva.robinson@york.ac.uk)

Posted 1/8/2018


Postdoc: Bumble bee larval development, University of California, Riverside

The Woodard and Yamanaka Labs in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside are seeking to recruit a postdoctoral researcher to study bumble bee larval development. The postdoc will use a variety of molecular methods (including but not limited to RNAseq and RNAi) to explore the proximate factors that control caste and body size determination in bumble bees. The project is supported the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture, the US-Israel Agricultural Research and Development Fund, and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation.

The position will be located in Riverside, CA and the postdoc will also work with collaborator Guy Bloch at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with opportunities to travel to Israel for training and research. All appointments are initially for one year and renewable based on performance. Salaries are commensurate with experience and based on minimums set by the University of California postdoctoral union. Additional support is available for conference and other travel. Start date is Fall 2018. Information on benefits is available at http://clients.garnett-powers.com/pd/uc/.

Candidates must have experience with RNAseq (including library preparation and bioinformatic analysis of sequence data) and must have effective written and oral communication skills, with a demonstrated ability to publish peer-reviewed papers and a PhD pending or obtained within the last five years. Previous experience performing manipulative experiments with bees and/or flies is preferred.

To apply, please send a cover letter, current CV, and names and contact information for three references to Hollis Woodard at hollis.woodard@ucr.edu. The application deadline is September 1st, 2018.

For more information, visit the Woodard Lab (woodardlab.com) and Yamanaka Lab (yamanakalab.com) websites, and please email Hollis Woodard with any additional questions. UCR is a world-class research university with an exceptionally diverse undergraduate student body. Its mission is explicitly linked to providing routes to educational success for underrepresented and first-generation college students. A commitment to this mission is a preferred qualification.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer with a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Posted 1/8/2018


Postdoc: Regulation of body size-based social organization in bumblebees, Jerusalem

Diversity in body size underlies two of the organization principles of bumblebee societies: worker division of labor and caste determination, but little is known on the proximate mechanisms regulating body size and how they are socially regulated. This project explores how social cues such as pheromones, behavior, and queen regurgitates, interact with endocrine and epigenetic processes to regulate genes involved in larva development in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. To meet these goals we integrate sociobiological, behavioral, physiological, and molecular approaches. The molecular methods include but are not limited to RNAseq and RNAi. The position will be located at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with opportunities to travel to the US for training and research.

Required qualifications

The position is for 2-3 years but appointment is initially for one year and renewable based on performance. Salaries are commensurate with experience and based on standard postdoc fellowships in Israeli universities.

We offer a strong, internationally recognized and interdisciplinary working environment with an open academic atmosphere. Location in the beautiful city of Jerusalem. The project is part of a collaboration with the Woodard and Yamanaka Labs in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside and is supported by the US-Israel Agricultural Research and Development Fund, and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation. The position will start on 1 September 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.

To apply, please send a cover letter, current CV, and names and contact information for three references to Guy Bloch (guy.bloch@mail.huji.ac.il). The application deadline is September 1st, 2018. For more information on our research please visit our lab page at https://guybloch.huji.ac.il/ or contact Guy.

Posted 1/8/2018


PhD: Toward an hymenoptera epigenetic molecular model, Liverpool

This project will develop the first insect epigenetic model by creating jewel wasp, Nasonia vitripennis lines that have altered levels of methylation at single loci. The study of epigenetics has been hampered by a lack of the ability to easily alter epigenetic molecular markers (e.g. methylation). This project will provide this ability in a tractable insect model.  

The study of epigenetics has for the most part been correlational. Epigenetics is defined as the heritable change in expression of a gene without any change in the DNA sequence1. The methylation of the fifth position of cytosine’s ring is one of the most widespread epigenetic markers2. A common correlational research strategy is to examine the methylation differences between two phenotypes and hypothesise that the differences found are the causes of the phenotype. What is rarer is a strategy analogous to reverse genetics, whereby the methylation is changed and the resultant phenotype studied to confirm methylation’s role. Until recently, reverse epigenetics has been of a general, crude sort. For example, early studies of the role of methylation in mammalian development, simply knocked out DNMT3, the enzyme responsible for the production of new methylation marks3. This reduced methylation throughout the genome and the resultant phenotype was measured. A number of labs have very recently developed altered CRISPR Cas9 systems to change the DNA methylation status of a given loci in mice4-5. Liu et al.5 fused Tet1 (decreased methylation) or Dnmt3a (increased methylation) with a catalytically inactive Cas9 (dCas9) to enable targeted DNA methylation editing.  

This proposal will develop the same system which allow targeted DNA methylation editing in an insect model. The wasp Nasonia vitripennis is a prime contender as an insect model for epigenetics. The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has long been the predominant insect model for genetics. However Drosophila, for the most part, lacks CpG methylation6. Nasonia, like all hymenoptera, has a functional methylation system7 and replicates many of the abilities of the Drosophila model. Recently, CRISPR/Cas9 technology have been used to induce site specific mutations on the cinnabar gene in N. vitripennis adding a new powerful molecular tool for reverse genetics for this insect8. The proposed project will use CRISPR/Cas9 mediated precise homology-directed repair (HDR), cloning, methylomic assays and phenotypic analysis to generate transgenic Nasonia lines in order to establish Nasonia as a functional epigenetic molecular model system. The transgenes lines will express either dCas9-Dnmt3a or dCas9-Tet1CD and specific guide RNA (sgRNA) for target specificity. The targets methylation and expression level will be measured using a variety of methods including qPCR of bisulphite converted DNA and exon specific qPCR. The progeny changes in phenotype will also be correlated to the site specific methylation changes.  

The project will involve molecular biology and bioinformatics coupled with behavioural analysis and would suit a student with a strong genetics/molecular biology background, but with a keen interest in whole animal biology, behaviour and development. Students with a zoology/organismal biology background but who can demonstrate strong molecular biology knowledge and skills may also be considered. A first or good 2:1 degree is essential.

References

  1. Goldberg, A. et al., Cell 128, 635 (2007).
  2. Glastad, K. M. et al., Insect Molecular Biology 20, 553 (2011).
  3. Okano, M. et al., Cell 99, 247 (1999).
  4. Huang, Y.-H. et al., Genome Biology 18, 176 (2017). 
  5. Liu, X. S. et al., Cell 167, 233 (2016).
  6. Lyko, F. & Maleszka, R., Trends in genetics 27, 127 (2011).
  7. Pegoraro, M. et al., Genome research 26, 203 (2016).
  8. Li, M. et al., Scientific Reports 7, 901 (2017). 

For more details, and to apply, see: https://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=98832

Deadline for applications: 31 August 2018

Posted 4/7/2018


Post-doctoral position in termite functional genomics, Paris/South Africa

Human Frontier Science Program

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral researcher to join our consortium bringing international laboratories of H.S Sul from Berkeley-USA, W. De Beer from Pretoria-South Africa, E. Bornberg-Bauer Muenster-Germany and M. Vasseur-Cognet iEES-Paris-France.

The successful candidate will join the project “defying the reproduction-maintenance trade-off: role of diet in long-lived termite reproductives”. We are seeking a motivated person, speaking French and English, autonomous, with education and experiences in entomology, in social insect biology (about termites would be the best), some experiences in the field and with a good background in genetic/molecular biology. The position is supported by HF grant by September 2018. The contract is for one year located in W. De Beer laboratory (South Africa), renewable once.

Applicants should send a CV and a cover letter summarizing their past experience and motivation to Dr. Mireille Vasseur-Cognet (mireille.vasseur@inserm.fr). They should also provide at least two letters of reference.

Mireille Vasseur-Cognet,
Chargé de recherche INSERM
Institut d'Ecologie et des Sciences de l'Environnement de Paris (iEES-Paris)
UMR UPMC 113, CNRS 7618, IRD 242, INRA 1392, PARIS 7 113, UPEC 7618

Posted 24/5/2018


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 Wednesday, August 1, 2018