PhD Position in Behavioral Ecology and Social Evolution of Wasps KU Leuven Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation Belgium

BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIAL EVOLUTION OF WASPS

 

Project

 

We invite applications for a 3-year PhDposition on the evolution of eusociality in wasps. We will focus on theco-option and modification of the hormonal and reproductive cycles that werepresent in solitary species during the evolution of primitive and advancedeusocial wasp species. Specifically, we will compare European andBrazilian primitively and advanced eusocial species of wasps with closelyrelated solitary ones to test whether and how endocrine JH (juvenile hormone) cycles in pre-social ancestors regulatedreproduction, reproductive signalling and division of labour. The PhDcandidate will investigate these questions using behavioural experiments,chemical analyses, and molecular analyses.

 

We are looking for a highly motivatedcandidate, not afraid of collecting wasps nests, with an MSc degree (orequivalent) in Biology or a related field. The successful applicant should havea strong background in ecology, animal behaviour and/or evolutionary biology. Thecandidate must have an excellent command of both spoken and written English. Experiencewith social insects and statistics are advantageous. Training that thecandidate will receive include among others (1) chemical analyses with ourThermo ISQ GC/MS, (2) carrying out bioassays, (3) carrying out molecularphylogenetic work and (4) performing advanced data analysis in R.

 

This project is a bilateral collaboration(FWO-FAPESP) with Prof. Nascimento (USP-Ribeirão Preto, Brazil); most of thetime the PhD student will stay in Leuven, but there will be field trips toBrazil.

 

We are a multidisciplinary lab (https://bio.kuleuven.be/ento/index.htm)working on questions related to social evolution and use insects,microorganisms and humans as model systems. Our lab employs a variety oftechniques, including theoretical modeling, behavioral observation, chemicalecology and genetics, genomic and proteomic analysis. The working language ofthe laboratory is English. KU Leuven is among one of the most prestigiousuniversities in the world (48º in the ranking of THE 2019) and offers good employmentconditions (https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en).Leuven is a historic university city with a vibrant student life. Leuven is a15-minute train ride away from Brussels International Airport (which iswell-connected to destinations all over the world) and a 20-minutes train ridefrom Brussels itself (https://www.kuleuven.be/english/living).Brussels is one of the best-connected cities in Western Europe; Amsterdam,Paris and London are all reachable within 2 hours by train.

 

If you are interested, please send anapplication as a single pdf file containing your CV, a 1-page motivationletter, your previous research activities, BSc and MSc grades, publications (ifapplicable), 1 reference letter, and the names and email addresses of twopotential referees. Applications should be sent to Dr. Cintia Akemi Oi (cintiaakemi.oi@kuleuven.be)with the subject [PhD application_NAME]. Funding is available, but we wouldalso stimulate you to apply for your own scholarship -the research unit will fullysupport you in this application procedure. Shortlisted applicants will beinterviewed via Skype.

 

Do not hesitate to contact us if you would havefurther questions.

Prof.Tom Wenseleers & Dr. Cintia Akemi Oi
Laboratory of Socioecology and Social Evolution
Dept. of Biology, KU Leuven
Naamsestraat 59
3000 Leuven
Belgium
https://bio.kuleuven.be/ento/wenseleers/twenseleers.htm

 

Profile

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate, not afraid of collecting wasps nests, with an MSc degree (or equivalent) in Biology or a related field. The successful applicant should have a strong background in ecology, animal behaviour and/or evolutionary biology. The candidate must have an excellent command of both spoken and written English. Experience with social insects and statistics are advantageous. Training that the candidate will receive include among others (1) chemical analyses with our Thermo ISQ GC/MS, (2) carrying out bioassays, (3) carrying out molecular phylogenetic work and (4) performing advanced data analysis in R.

 

Interested?

For more information please contact Mrs. Cintia Akemi Oi, tel.: +32 16 32 39 76, mail: cintiaakemi.oi@kuleuven.be or Mrs. Conny Coeckelberghs, tel.: +32 16 32 37 17, mail: conny.coeckelberghs@kuleuven.be.

 

You can apply for this job no later than February 28, 2019 via the online application tool


KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.


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