Announcement from James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland
1) Immunity to amphibian chytridiomycosis and
2) Virulence of amphibian chytridiomycosis
Chytridiomycosis has caused amphibian declines and extinctions globally as it has spread through naïve populations. It is now endemic in much of its suitable range in Australia where it still causes high mortality rates and threatens amphibian biodiversity. We have project funds to investigate how virulence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and host immunity are evolving as the amphibian host/fungal pathogen relationship adapts to new hosts. The immunity project extends an ongoing collaborative study into factors affecting mechanisms of innate and acquired immunity. The virulence project involves experiments on archived and field collected isolates from different times after invasion to assess strain virulence. Both studies involve lab and animal experiments and proteomics. Both projects could also involve field work and genetics depending on experimental outcomes. In negotiation with the supervisors, the student will be able to pursue areas of interest within this framework. The projects are multidisciplinary and involve collaborators such as Taronga Zoo and NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change. The outcomes of the projects are likely to be used by these and other stakeholders and lead to the improved conservation of amphibian biodiversity. It is also expected that the work will have high scientific impact and contribute to theories on host/pathogen evolution. PhD graduates would be qualified for employment in universities and industry. The selected applicants would need to apply for an APA or international PhD scholarship. Please see http://www.jcu.edu.au/grs/scholarships/index.htm
Ideal PhD candidates will have:
1. 1st class honours or equivalent research credentials in a relevant discipline such as veterinary science or zoology majoring in microbiology or immunology
2. Laboratory skills in amphibian husbandry and experiments
3. Demonstrated publication record
4. Demonstrated interpersonal and communication skills.
Supervisors and Collaborators: Dr Lee Skerratt, Dr Lee Berger, Dr Scott Cashins, Prof Rick Speare, Dr Jason Mulvenna (School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, JCU), Dr Robert Puschendorf (School of Marine and Tropical Biology, JCU), Dr Peter Harlow (Taronga Zoo), Dr David Hunter (NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change).
Please send CV, cover letter and 2 reference letters to Lee.Berger@jcu.edu.au by July 20th, 2011.
For more information on the virulence project contact Lee.Berger@jcu.edu.au and on the immunity project contact Lee.Skerratt@jcu.edu.au