ESRC funded PhD opportunity in Anthropology at the University of BristolTopic: The socio-ecology of human-primate contact, and disease exchange in Western UgandaStart date: 1st October 2012An opportunity has arisen for an anthropology/ or social science student to study for a Ph.D. at the University of Bristol, as part of an ESRC/NIH funded UK/US/Ugandan collaborative research project entitled "Biological and Human Dimensions of Primate Retroviral Transmission." The parent project examines the bio-social dimensions of disease transmission between people and primates living around Kibale National Park in Uganda. Further information on the parent project can be found at http://svmweb.vetmed.wisc.edu/KibaleEcoHealthThe advertised Ph.D. studentship will focus on human migration networks and movement patterns, centring on the social factors driving local population change and increased human-primate contact. This studentship will address questions such as:· How has the establishment of the National Park influenced human movement and local livelihood strategies?· What are the individual social and economic factors which fuel these behavioural changes? And how do these influence the risk of human-primate contact, and disease transmission?· What is the nature and scale of contact networks between individuals living in these and other communities across Uganda?This studentship will be supervised by Dr Mhairi Gibson and aligned with the ESRC South Western Doctoral Training Centre. The student will also collaborate with Dr Simon Frost (Cambridge), Professor Tony Goldberg, director of the The Kibale EcoHealth Project, and a strong team of international collaborators. Funds to cover both university tuition fees and maintenance are available for 3 years. Additional funds to support fieldwork in Uganda and project meetings in the US are also available.Applicants should have a Masters degree in social or human sciences, experience using quantitative methods and analyses, as well as having a keen interest in undertaking rural fieldwork. Due to funding restrictions only UK/EU applicants are eligible. Previous experience working overseas, particularly in the less developed world, is advantageous.The closing date for applications is April 16th, 2012.A current curriculum vitae, and a cover letter, including why the candidate believes they are well suited for the post and an outline of relevant experience (< 1000 words) should be sent to Dr Mhairi Gibson by this date. Shortlisted candidates will be identified, and will be expected to submit a full University of Bristol postgraduate application by April 27th, 2012. Interviews will be held in early May. Enquiries should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.PhD Positions Available in Orangutan Behavioral Ecology and Parasitology, Masaryk UniversityApplication deadline 31 March, 2012Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic has openings for several students to conduct research on orangutan parasitic infections.This is the first research project to investigate special behaviours and ecological conditions necessary to maintain health in wild orangutans. In addition, it is the only on-going and long-term orangutan health research project being conducted in the world at this time. This is partly due to the complexity of self-medicating behaviours of the orangutan and the astonishing variety of flora in the rainforest, as well as geographical and seasonal variations.The primary focus of this research investigates how wild orangutans combat parasitic infections by the use of specific rainforest plant species. Main topics of research are:1. Orangutan parasite infections, including the effects of certain ecological factors2. Diversity and host specificity of the Orangutan malaria parasite3. Anti-parasitic properties of extracts isolated from Indonesian plants and their effect on selected parasitoses.Possible field work may include sampling and data collection from several sites in Sumatra (Langkat and Aceh Tengara) and Kalimantan (Sebangau and Mawas area).The PhD program usually consists of four years of coursework and supervised dissertation research. In addition, the faculty encourages students to conduct part of their dissertation research at partner institutions in other countries or to participate in collaborative research projects. All doctoral study programs at the Faculty of Science are accredited in both Czech and English languages; prospective students may thus apply in either language.Candidate RequirementsCandidates are expected to have strong backgrounds in the fields of parasitology and animal population ecology, as well as sufficient English language skills (both spoken and written) to fully understand the study materials. Applicants are required to hold a corresponding degree from a university, and be capable of working both independently and as part of a team.Candidates are expected to have:o Experience with coprological methodso Experience with molecular methods of isolation and PCRFurthermore, the following skills are advantageous:o Experience with parasite culturing techniqueso Experience with data analysis in community ecology, statistical analysis of biological data and multivariate statistical methodsApplications Please enclose a cover letter expressing motivation, Curriculum Vitae, and contact information for 3 references by 31 March, 2012 For more information or for questions, please contact Dr. Ivona Foitova at: email@example.com.Two Post-Doctoral Positions Available in Orangutan Behavioral Ecology and Parasitology, Masaryk UniversityApplication deadline 31 March, 2012Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic has two post-doc positions available for three year contracts.Position 1: Self-medicating behaviour in orangutans and natural antiparasite compounds found in orangutan diets.Research objectives include:o Evaluating the hypothesis that the eating of specific plants or their parts by orangutans corresponds to a decrease in parasite load.o Identifying biologically active plant extracts, and to isolate compounds with potential anti- inflammatory and antiparasitic properties in the orangutan diet.Position 2: Relationship between medicinal plants and parasites; development of in vitro and in vivo systems suitable for investigating antiparasitological, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity of selected plant extracts on known orangutan parasites, including malaria.Research objectives include:o Developing comparable in vitro and in vivo systems suitable for studies on selected parasites.o Testing selected compounds for antiparasitic activity on selected parasite cultures through application of biologically active compounds (to both in vitro and in vivo systems), and subsequent evaluation of the parasite's pathogenic impact and host immunological status.Candidate RequirementsCandidates are expected to have strong backgrounds in the fields of parasitology, animal population ecology, molecular biology, and immunohistochemistry, as well as sufficient English language skills (both spoken and written) to fully understand the study materials. Applicants are required to hold a corresponding degree from a university, and be capable of working both independently and in a team. Candidates should posses:1. Knowledge of techniques for parasite assays and identification in faecal samples (preferably with orangutan and or primates faecal samples)2. Experience with molecular methods of isolation and PCR3. Experience with parasite culturing technique4. Experience with data analysis in community ecology and statistical analysis of biological data and multivariate statistical methods5. Knowledge of automatic sequencing (Sanger), and ability work with phylogenetic programmesApplications and Terms of Employment To apply, please enclose a cover letter expressing motivation, Curriculum Vitae, a list of publications, and contact information for 3 references. The contract is for 3 years, with a salary of 55,000 CZK per month. For more information or for questions, please contact Dr. Ivona Foitova at: firstname.lastname@example.orgSTEPS Centre Linked Studentship for October 2012: Social dimensions of zoonotic disease in AfricaThe STEPS Centre is offering a Centre-linked PhD studentship to begin in 2012, based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). IDS is one of the world's leading institutions for development studies and training, with a large and lively doctoral programme (see www.ids.ac.uk). Now entering its second five-year phase, the STEPS Centre is a flagship initiative of the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The STEPS Centre is a joint initiative of IDS and SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research). Founded in 2006, the STEPS Centre works with partner institutes in twenty countries across five continents, and across the domains of health and disease, food and agriculture, water and sanitation, and energy and climate change. It has pioneered a number of cutting-edge, interdisciplinary and highly policy-engaged initiatives aiming at radical rethinking of the contributions made by knowledge and innovation towards social equity, democratic empowerment and environmental integrity. PhD students linked to the STEPS Centre are considered full members, encouraged to participate in a range of Centre activities and to contribute to its development of cross-disciplinary concepts, analytical frameworks, empirical methods and policy strategies.This particular studentship will be linked to the Health and Disease domain of the STEPS Centre. Focusing on zoonotic disease (transmitted from animals), the studentship invites attention to its social dimensions - in relation, for instance, to risk and knowledge, transmission processes, ecological and environmental drivers, diagnosis, public health, and policy and politics. In the context of growing research and policy interest in 'One Health' approaches that consider human, animal and ecosystem health together, this studentship offers a unique opportunity to bring new interdisciplinary insights and critical perspectives to bear.In conceptual and methodological terms, the project will be able to employ, adapt and further develop a range of ethnographic and 'narrative' approaches to the understanding of epidemics and disease dynamics, and the politics of policy processes, already pioneered by the STEPS Centre (Dry and Leach 2010). In this way it will complement and add value to the Centre's phase 2 project cluster on the social-ecological dynamics of disease. Projects within this cluster are focusing on a range of disease case studies and settings, including Rift Valley Fever in Kenya, Lassa Fever in Sierra Leone, Trypanosomiasis in southern Africa, Henipa viruses in Ghana, and livestock-transmitted zoonoses in Asia. In each case there are strong networks of international partners from multiple disciplines involved. This linked studentship represents an exciting opportunity for a committed student to develop their own project which will both stand alone, and yet be positioned to draw on and contribute to these wider networks and debates. 2One option which prospective students might want to consider is a focus on viruses transmitted to people from bats, in an African setting such as Ghana or Kenya. Further details of this research area are indicated below, and preference will be given to applicants whose interests fall within it. However within this broad remit, the selected student will be encouraged to work with their supervisors and other Centre members with interests in this area - particularly Hayley MacGregor, Linda Waldman and Melissa Leach - and other Centre members to develop their research in ways that suit their own backgrounds and interests.The studentship is open to applicants of British nationality. The student will be expected to follow a 1+3 pathway. From a base at IDS, the first year of training will involve participating in the research training programme in Science and Technology Policy held at SPRU, as well as the opportunity to engage with relevant IDS activities and literatures with the support of STEPS members. From October 2013, students will focus fully on their particular research project, with the expectation of a period of fieldwork to start in early 2014, lasting 12 months. Students will be able to apply for fieldwork costs to cover overseas residence and travel.It is expected that this process of precise project definition will be undertaken during the latter part of the first year of the studentship. However it would be helpful if candidates could state in their application not just why they are interested in this particular topic and would be suited to studying it, but also any particular perspectives that they would envisage bringing to bear in developing their research.Possible research focus:From bats to humansIt is now recognised that particular challenges to human health arise from emerging infectious diseases, the majority zoonotic – originating especially from wildlife reservoirs (Jones et al. 2008, King et al. 2006). Some of the most threatening pathogens are RNA viruses, with unparalleled ability to adapt to new hosts and environments. With the increasing encroachment of people and livestock into wildlife habitat; growing movement of wildlife from environmentally-degraded areas into urban and peri-urban regions; massive aggregations of people in huge cities and rapid global movement of humans, animals and their products, there is justifiable concern about the emergence and spread of novel highly infectious diseases and pandemics. In this multi-faceted context, Old World fruit bats offer a vital focus at the human-wildlife interface. They are associated with RNA viruses and zoonoses of potentially great global public health impact, including lyssavirus (which causes rabies) and Henipah virus (which causes encephalitis) (Cunningham 2008, Epstein et al. 2006). These bats live in very close and increasing proximity to humans, often in huge numbers. They illustrate a growing complexity and intensity of interactions between viruses, wildlife hosts, domestic animals, and human lives and livelihoods that influence actual and potential spillover of disease to human populations; yet these processes and interrelationships are poorly characterised and understood. The need for interdisciplinary understandings is now recognised (Parkes et al. 2005, Wilcox and Colwell 2005). In several African contexts (notably Ghana and Kenya) there is now ongoing natural scientific work to understand the medical, epidemiological, virological and ecological dimensions of these interactions. Much of this work is being undertaken by existing collaborators of the STEPS Centre, for instance at the Cambridge Infectious Diseases Consortium and the Zoological Society of London, 3and their African partners, all of whom see social science contributions as vitally needed and who are keen to collaborate with social scientists. The proposed studentship would help to fill this gap, and enable social science work in a welcoming multi-discipline field setting.The project could focus on rural and/or urban sites in Ghana and/or Kenya. Possible questions to be pursued as part of a PhD project might include:• Study of human-bat interactions including living, livelihood and ritual practices. How do people perceive bats? What social processes bring different people into contact with them? Who becomes exposed to disease threat and how?• Understanding public health impacts and detection. What social practices and health system factors influence whether and how bat-borne diseases are detected?• Investigating political, cultural and policy framings. How do different people in communities and local/national government agencies and NGOs understand and represent disease dynamics and risks? What contestations emerge? How do framings shape policy responses? Who gains and who loses?ReferencesCunningham, A. A. (2008) 'Evidence of Henipavirus Infection in West African Fruit Bats', PLOS One vol 3 no 7, e2739Dry, S. and Leach, M. (2010) Epidemics: Science, Governance and Social Justice. London: EarthscanEpstein J. H., Field, H. E., Luby, S., Pulliam, J. R. and Daszak, P. (2006) 'Nipah Virus: Impact, Origins, and Causes of Emergence'. Curr Infect Dis Rep. vol 8, no 59 p6Jones K. E., Patel, N., Levy, M. A., Storeygard, A., Balk, D., Gittleman, J. L. and Daszak, P. (2008) 'Global Trends in Human Emerging Infectious Diseases', Nature vol 451 no 990 p3King, D. A., Peckham, C., Waage, J. K., Brownlie, J. and Woolhouse, M. E. J. (2006) 'Infectious Diseases: Preparing for the Future', Science vol 313, p1392Parkes, M. W., Bienen L. et al. (2005) 'All Hands on Deck: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Emerging Infectious Disease', Ecohealth vol 2 pp258-72Wilcox, B. A. and Colwell R. R. (2005) 'Emerging and Remerging Infectious Diseases: Biocomplexity as an Interdisciplinary Paradigm', EcoHealth vol 2 pp244-574Expressions of InterestExpressions of Interest are invited from candidates eligible to apply for ESRC studentships (nationals from the UK and EU. Studentships are not open to applicants who are liable to pay academic fees at the international rate. See ESRC guidelines on University of Sussex Doctoral School website for further information: www.sussex.ac.uk/doctoralschool/esrc/apply).Deadline for Expressions of Interest: 5pm on Friday 30 March 2012.Please send the following documents attached to one email to STEPS Centre Coordinator Harriet Dudley at email@example.com. Outline of your proposed research topic and approach (max. 1 page)2. CV (max. 1 page)3. Contact details (including phone and email) of two referees (academic or professional)If you have queries or would like to discuss this PhD opportunity further before submitting your EOI, please email Hayley MacGregor (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Linda Waldman (email@example.com).Please note that your EOI will be acknowledged by return email. If your EOI is selected you will be sent details of how to apply fully for the studentship through the ESRC-funded Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Sussex.--
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