Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Infectious Disease Ecology
School of Science, Engineering & Environment, University of Slaford
This is an exciting opportunity for a post-doctoral scientist to join a multi-disciplinary team working on a new research project entitled “One Health approach to tick-borne disease control through manipulation of reservoir host communities at landscape scale”, which has received funding from a joint UKRI-DEFRA One Health vector-borne disease programme. The project aims to quantify the importance of invasive grey squirrels as hosts for ticks and as reservoirs for Borrelia burgdorferi (the agent of Lyme disease) in the United Kingdom. The team will work carry out a series of ambitious field experiments to manipulate grey squirrel densities in woodlands harbouring B. burgdorferi-infected ticks and assess the impact of these manipulations on the enzootic transmission cycle of Borrelia burgdorferi using state-of-the-art molecular diagnostic approaches and statistical modelling.
This position is one of two post-doctoral researchers joining the project team and will be primarily responsible for introducing and executing novel molecular diagnostic assays to determine on which host a tick has fed and if it is infected with B. burgdorferi. These assays will be developed in collaboration with colleagues in the USA and the post holder will be expected to spend up to 3 months at Tufts University (near Boston) at the start of the project to facilitate this partnership. Although this is primarily a lab-based role, the post-holder will also be required to help with fieldwork, which will take place at sites across southern Cumbria. This fieldwork will involve assessment of habitat and wildlife abundance and collection of biological samples (mainly questing ticks). Some knowledge of/experience in statistical modelling to help in the interpretation of the results obtained would also be valuable.
The contract is fixed term for 24 months from January 2024 with a starting salary of £37,100.
The successful applicant will join a thriving community of microbiologists, parasitologists and ecologists within the University of Salford’s Environmental Research & Innovation Centre (ERIC). ERIC has state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to conduct infectious disease ecology research.