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International Union for the Study of Social Insects

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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 Friday, March 25, 2022

Overview of vacancies on this page:

Assistant Professor: Molecular Evolutionary Biology (Social Evolution), Freiburg, Germany

PhD: Ant transport networks, York

PhD: Effect of temporal activity cycles on disease transmission dynamics in ant colonies, Bristol

Postdoc: Honey bee health, stress resistance, and aging. North Carolina, USA

Postdoc: Developmental genetics and evolution of obligate sterility in ants, Texas Tech University

Assistant Professor: Molecular Evolutionary Biology (Social Evolution), Freiburg, Germany

Application deadline: 15 April 2022

The Faculty of Biology at the University of Freiburg (Germany) invites applications for an Assistant Professorship (Akad. Rat*Rätin auf Zeit) in the field of Molecular Evolutionary Biology

The Institute of Biology I is seeking highly motivated candidates with experience and research interests in the area of evolutionary biology.

The candidate should have a strong background in evolutionary biology and molecular genetics/genomics. The applicant should be familiar with genomic analyses and molecular genetic techniques. Ideally, the candidate should work on social evolution in its broadest sense (including, social microbes, mutualism, parasitism, selfish genetic elements etc.).

The position is part of the group led by Prof. Dr. Judith Korb ‘From Gene to Ecosystem’ at the department of Evolutionary Biology and Animal Ecology.

The University of Freiburg is a top research location in Germany. Freiburg is a university town, located in one of the warmest regions of Germany, next to the black forest and close to Alsace and Switzerland. The vibrant town offers a living environment surrounded by beautiful scenery, plenty of entertainment and cultural activities.

Candidates for the position must hold a PhD and should establish externally funded projects, supervise students, contribute to the teaching mission of the department (4 hours/week) and will have the opportunity to obtain the ‘Habilitation’ (a German qualification supportive in applications for professorships). The civil servant requirements must be fulfilled.

Funding of this position is initially secured for three years and can be extended for another three years.

Interested candidates should send an application (as a single e-mail attachment) containing a complete CV, reprints (pdf-files) of three representative papers and a concise description of current and future research concepts. Applicants should also arrange for two letters of reference to be submitted on their behalf to the address below.

The salary will be determined in accordance with A13.

We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.

Please send your application in English including supporting documents mentioned above citing the reference number 00002136, by 15.04.2022 at the latest. Please send your application to the following address in written or electronic form:

Institut Bio I
Prof. Dr. Judith Korb
79104 Freiburg



For further information, please contact Frau Prof. Dr. Judith Korb on the phone number +49 761 203-2546 or E-mail judith.korb@biologie.uni-freiburg.de

General and legal remarks
Full-time positions may generally be split up into two or more part-time positions, provided that there are no formal or legal barriers. Candidates are selected in accordance with the provisions of the AGG (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – German General Equal Treatment Act).
Applicants with disabilities (Schwerbehinderte Menschen) will be given preferential consideration in case of equal qualification.
The department offering the position is liable for the content of this job posting. Textual errors do not constitute a basis for any claims or rights. The relevant human resources department has sole responsibility for all legal transactions made within the context of the selection and hiring process.
Please note that breaches in privacy and unauthorized access by third parties cannot be excluded in communication by unencrypted email.

Posted 25/3/2022

PhD: Ant transport networks, York

Application deadline: 25 April 2022

Fully Funded EPSRC Studentship: Dynamic resource flow in ant transport networks, University of York.

Supervisors: Elva Robinson, Department of Biology, University of York and Dan Franks, Department of Computer Science, University of York

Project Overview
Engineering efficient transport systems that deliver resources from many suppliers to many consumers is a challenging problem. With dynamic supply and demand, the challenge is magnified, and if the transport network is disrupted, (e.g. local lockdowns, supply failures), system resilience relies on dynamic restructuring to mitigate changes. While we grapple with these engineering problems nationally and globally, biological systems have already evolved efficient, resilient network systems for dynamic resource transport under similar spatial constraints. Certain ant species form networks of connected nests, between which resources are shared. Nests differ in resource supply, and ants create a network to redistribute resources effectively, while remaining robust to local failures, e.g. nest destruction. This system shares many features of complex multi-source multi-sink human transport networks. This project will model resource flow in these complex transport networks, informed by 10 years of detailed empirical data on ant network structure and usage. The modelling results will identify core underlying processes involved in dynamic network restructuring, and will generate solutions to complex transport problems.

Funding Notes
This is a 3.5 year funded EPSRC PhD project. This studentship covers:
(i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£15,840 for 2022 entry but typically increases annually in line with inflation)),
(ii) research costs, and
(iii) tuition fees at the UK rate.

The application deadline is April 25, 2022. More information about the project, student training, and how to apply is available at: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/fully-funded-epsrc-studentship-dynamic-resource-flow-in-ant-transport-networks/?p142482.

Posted 25/3/2022

PhD: Effect of temporal activity cycles on disease transmission dynamics in ant colonies, Bristol

Application deadline: 28 April 2022

Dear colleagues, 

The Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Bristol is currently offering 5 fully-funded PhD studentships for international students, with one available project to work in my lab to study how temporal activity cycles affect disease transmission dynamics in ant colonies. The studentships are specifically aimed at non-UK students who do not qualify for UK/Home tuition fees, and will fully cover a personal stipend, international tuition fees and bench fees for 4 years. It is a great opportunity for students from all-over the world to study in the UK.

A blurb for the project is provided below and more information can be found here (https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/temporal-activity-cycles-and-disease-transmission-dynamics-in-ant-colonies/?p142922 for my own project; https://www.findaphd.com/phds/program/5-fully-funded-phd-studentships-for-international-students/?p5658 for the studentships in general).

Our lab looking for candidates with a background in animal behaviour and/or computational biology, and an eagerness to learn and apply a variety of approaches (automated behavioural tracking, writing own code to analyse data, experimental design, lab work). I would be very grateful if you could forward this email to your colleagues and students in relevant programmes (in particular MSc or BSc programmes), or anyone who may be interested.

Many thanks in advance for your help!

Best wishes,

Nathalie Stroeymeyt

Project Blurb:

4-year PhD studentship for international students

A fully funded 4-year PhD studentship for international students available in the research group of Dr Nathalie Stroeymeyt in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, to study the effect of temporal activity cycles on disease transmission dynamics in ant colonies.

Group living offers favourable conditions for the spread of infectious diseases, because high population densities and frequent social contacts facilitate pathogen transmission. To mitigate that risk, social animals have evolved a variety of defence mechanisms to prevent the entry and propagation of pathogens within the group, ranging from a raised investment in personal immunity to highly coordinated collective sanitary actions (‘social immunity’). Recent studies have shown that social groups can also adopt organizational features, such as the subdivision into well-separated subgroups, which reduce epidemic risk through transmission bottleneck effects. However, the importance of organizational immunity features in disease risk management by real animal groups is still poorly understood. Our research adopts an empirical approach based on the experimental manipulations of garden ant colonies (Lasius niger) to (i) quantify the effect of social organization on disease transmission and test key predictions from network epidemiology, and (ii) evaluate the relative of importance of personal immunity, collective sanitary actions and organizational features under different environmental conditions and at different stages of development (for more detail see https://stroeymeyt-lab.co.uk/research).

The project
Whilst recent experimental work has highlighted the importance of spatio-social organisation in shaping interaction networks and determining epidemic risks in ants [1], the prediction that temporal heterogeneities in activity should also have a strong impact on disease transmission within social groups has received very little attention [2, 3]. This PhD project will aim to use experimental manipulations to investigate the effect of short-term temporal activity cycles on transmission dynamics in ants. Using an automated behavioural tracking system [1, 3], the candidate will quantify short-term activity cycles within Leptothorax acervorum ant colonies and design reliable methods to manipulate these activity cycles (e.g. either disrupt them, accelerate them or slow them down). These methods will then be used to carry-out fully-controlled experiment testing the effect of experimental manipulations of the colony’s activity cycles on the transmission dynamics of both pathogenic and non-pathogenic agents through the colony. This project should provide the first formal empirical test of whether coordinated bursts of activity within a social group slows down the propagation of disease through ant colonies, and whether activity synchronization may be used as a strategy to fight diseases.

Desired profile
We are looking for candidates with a background in animal behaviour and/or computational biology, and an eagerness to learn and apply a variety of approaches (behavioural tracking, writing own code to analyse data, lab work). Candidates should be creative and motivated, have good oral and written communication skills, and be at ease working both independently and as part of a team. Candidates must be eligible for ‘home’ fee status in the UK.

The position
The position will be part of an overall project team consisting of three PhD students and three post-doctoral researchers and will be fully funded for four years (stipend + overseas tuition fees + bench fees) by the University of Bristol. Only international students that do not qualify for home fee status may apply.

Expected starting date: September 2022.

How to apply
If you are interested in applying, please get in contact with Dr Nathalie Stroeymeyt (nathalie.stroeymeyt@bristol.ac.uk) and consult the official add on FindAPhD (here). Formal applications should be submitted on the online application portal (here) by Friday April 28th 2022 23:59 GMT. More information on the Faaculty of Life Science studentships and other available projects can be found here.

1. Stroeymeyt, N., et al. Science, 2018. 362(6417): p. 941-945.
2. Richardson, T.O. and T.E. Gorochowski. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2015. 12(111).
3. Richardson, T.O., et al. PLOS Computational Biology, 2017. 13(5): p. e1005527.

Posted 25/3/2022

Postdoc: Honey bee health, stress resistance, and aging. North Carolina, USA

Review of applications will begin 15 February 2022 (but open until filled).

This position in honey bee health, stress resistance, and aging and associated research projects are quite open and we are interested in a variety of potential studies in the broader field of honey bee health. However, those applicants that address genetic and environmental variation in stress resistance and its relation to life expectancy in honey bees will be particularly well-suited. The applicants should have some molecular or suborganismal research experience and be comfortable working with live honey bees. The applicant will primarily be part of David Tarpy's research group at North Carolina State University but they will also be mentored by Olav Rueppell (University of Alberta), and Micheline Strand (Research Triangle Park).

We are looking for one PhD-level scientist to join a collaborative research team on a project studying honey bee health, stress resistance, and lifespan. The postdoctoral researcher will be mentored by Dr. David Tarpy (NC State), Dr. Olav Rueppell (University of Alberta), and Dr. Micheline Strand (Research Triangle Park). While the position will be based at NC State University in Raleigh, NC, the incumbent will be advised by all team members as appropriate.

Position description:
The position and associated research projects are open ended, where we are soliciting a wide variety of potential studies in the broader field of honey bee health. However, those that address genetic and environmental variation in stress resistance and its relation to life expectancy in honey bees will be particularly well-suited. The applicants should have some molecular or suborganismal research experience and be comfortable working with live honey bees. Candidates with skills that are complementary to and bolster existing strengths within our research team will be particularly favored. The successful candidate will be required to write a short written research proposal on their research paradigm.

Candidate qualifications:
(1) A PhD in biology, ecology, entomology, genetics, or related field;
(2) Background and experience or willingness to work with honey bees as a biological research model;
(3) Proven track record in peer-reviewed scientific publication and grantsmanship;
(4) Evidence of effective interpersonal and organizational skills, as well as working within an interdisciplinary team environment;
(5) Excellent written and oral communication skills; and
(6) Demonstrable experience in statistical analysis of large datasets.

Applications should be electronic and comprise a CV, contact information of three professional references, and a short (one-page) description of why you are interested in joining our team. Review of applications will begin February 15, 2022. Please send all inquiries and applications to:

David R. Tarpy
University Faculty Scholar Professor
Department of Applied Ecology
North Carolina State University

Posted 3/2/2022

Postdoc: Developmental genetics and evolution of obligate sterility in ants, Texas Tech University

No application deadline given, but early application is advised

The Linksvayer Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at Texas Tech University in collaboration with Arjuna Rajakumar (McGill University) is seeking a postdoctoral researcher for a new four-year funded NSF project: Evolutionary developmental systems genetics of obligate sterility in ants. This project is funded through the US NSF Enabling Discovery through GEnomic Tools (EDGE) - COMPLEX MULTIGENIC TRAITS TRACK and seeks to understand the developmental genetics and comparative genomics of an exciting and tractable complex phenotype: obligate sterility in ants (see https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID!28304).

The evolution of eusociality is a major evolutionary transition, where once solitary organisms become developmentally integrated and live in colonies. Eusociality is characterized by a reproductive division of labor between queen and worker castes. In most species, the worker caste has reproductive organs and can reproduce under certain circumstances, while in some species, workers are obligately sterile. Such obligate sterility, where the worker caste loses its ovaries early in development, has evolved 14 times independently in ants. Our project seeks to understand how obligate sterility evolved using an integrative evo-devo approach that combines developmental genetics, comparative transcriptomics, comparative genomics, and functional genomics.

We are especially looking for candidates with previous experience in developmental biology and with molecular techniques (e.g., cloning, in situ/immuno, RNAi/CRISPR). Knowledge of insect development and advanced knowledge of microscopy are assets.

The start date is very flexible but could be as early as February 1, 2022. 

Salary will be commensurate with experience, with the NIH NRSA postdoc stipends as a starting guideline (e.g., $53,760 for 0 years of postdoctoral experience, see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-21-049.html), plus benefits.

Please apply directly at: https://t.co/ZwZZA7yJ2U. Please contact Tim Linksvayer (tlinksvayer@gmail.com or Arjuna Rajakumar (arjuna.k.rajakumar@gmail.com) with any questions or for further information.

Posted 3/2/2022

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 Friday, March 25, 2022