PhD Climate change & Vector borne disease | Impact on mosquitoes

Check this vacancy on the Erasmus MC website.

Job description

As a PhD student in this project, you will focus on past, present and future impacts of salinization and climate on four globally important, locally present mosquito species, each of them acting as a vector for a range of pathogens.

Within this project, you will be expected to use a combination of experimental work using the Living Lab mesocosm facility at the University of Leiden and the BSL-3 facilities at the University of Wageningen. In addition, you will be expected to take part in mosquito focused field work in our Delta Field Lab. Besides these experimental components, you will be expected to use historical data to study past impacts of climate and salinization on mosquito borne disease, which will be closely coordinated with specialists at KNMI and Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

Work environment

Erasmus MC, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam have joined forces in the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC). PDPC aims to prepare society for future pandemics and disasters. We will reduce vulnerabilities and risks and build resilience through effective disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery measures. Convergence of the technical, medical and social sciences is essential for developing the next generation of approaches to disasters and pandemics. In the foreseeable future, our society can expect many more and unforeseen virus outbreaks and extreme events because of climate change. But how do we protect society from the next pandemic or disaster? Which of the lessons learnt could develop prevention and intervention measures, and how could research contribute to preparedness?

The combination of water-rich landscapes, (exotic) mosquitoes, high numbers of (migrating) birds, international trade and travel and high population density makes the low-lying delta in the Netherlands vulnerable to future outbreaks of vector borne diseases. In addition, climate change and climate change mitigation measures will likely result in changing mosquito, reservoir host and virus ecology. Rapid sea level rise is a threat resulting from climatic change as it will cause increasing salinization of coastal areas with large expected impacts on biodiversity and land use. Moreover, subsequent changes in water management are expected to affect mosquitoes and birds. In this frontrunner project on Climate Change & Vector Borne Diseases, 3 PhD students will work with a large team of senior researchers across a range of disciplines including environmental sciences, epidemiology, ecology, virology, climate science, ornithology and veterinary sciences, to study the effects of climate change and salinization on vector borne diseases.

You will be working at the Viroscience Department of the Erasmus Medical Centre as well as the Department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE), Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam. The Viroscience department is an international centre of excellence for multidisciplinary, basic, translational and clinical research of viruses and virus infections at the molecular, patient and population level. TCE movement ecology group has unique expertise in animal tracking and statistical modelling. You will work closely together with two other PhD students in this project, that will focus on mosquito ecology (LU; WUR) and future scenarios of land use, water management and hydrology (TU Delft). You will be employed by Erasmus MC, and partly based at the UvA. You will be supervised by Marion Koopmans (ErasmusMC), Reina Sikkema (Erasmus MC) and Eldar Rakhimberdiev (UvA).

Qualifications and skills

  • A MSc degree (MSc) in Biology, Environmental Sciences, Natural Sciences, or a related field.
  • Extensive knowledge on natural processes (e.g., in biology, geography, chemistry or physics), combined with knowledge on natural history and experimental skills and modeling.
  • Demonstrated experience with spatially explicit modelling of environmental systems, preferably focusing on the relationships between environmental conditions, stressors and ecosystem integrity.
  • Experience in gathering and analyzing large data sets from public literature or databases.
  • Good social and communication skills; Excellent report writing and presentation skills.
  • Good time management and organisational skills. Inquisitive, reflective and eager to grow;
  • Excellent command of the English language.
  • We expect dedication and enthusiasm for innovative research, combined with scientific curiosity and the capacity for teamwork in an interdisciplinary environment.
  • Candidates need to demonstrate mobility in terms of moving from one institute to another when taking up their appointment.

Before you apply please check Erasmus MC’s conditions for employment.

Terms of employment

You will receive a temporary position for 4 years. The gross monthly salary is € 2.631 ,- in the 1st year and increases to € 3.336,- in the 4th year (scale OIO).

  • Excellent fringe benefits, such as a 13th month that is already paid out in November and an individual travel expense package.
  • Pension insurance with ABP, we take care of approximately 2/3 of the monthly contribution.
  • Special benefits, such as an in-company physiotherapist and bicycle repairer. There is also a gym where you can work on your fitness after work.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Reina Sikkema, workgroup leader, phone number: 010-704 4066 or e-mail: r.sikkema@erasmusmc.nl.

If you are excited by the thought of this position and would like to apply, please do so by using the application form on our website.

No agencies please.

Application proces

To apply, please submit the mandatory documents on the Erasmus MC Werkenbij website by September 30, 2022.

Let’s go!

This application process is arranged via the Erasmus MC website. Make sure to apply before September 30.