Lund University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 7 600 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Mild disease, immune function and aging: the role of telomere length and degradation

Requirement profile

Connections between (mild) disease, the immune system and aging has become a hot topic in evolutionary biology and ecology in recent years. In the present project, the main aim is to investigate relationships between mild disease, immune responses and aging/aging markers and how these three factors are associated with reproductive and life history strategies in studies on birds, with special emphasis on telomeres, and with the great reed warbler as model species. Main focus will be on; (i) long-term studies (>30 years) of a natural, wild population of great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) at lake Kvismaren SSE Orebro, in southern Central Sweden, and (ii) a long-term malaria infection experiment on great reed warblers in Bulgaria.

Project description

The PhD candidate will analyze longitudinal data on early life telomere length (eTL) to investigate whether, for example, eTL is predictive of malaria infection and/or whether eTL is associated with recovery from illness, as well as how disease recovered versus chronically infected birds differ with respect to telomere shortening, aging and reproductive performance. The project also aims at looking at the different life history strategies of great reed warblers (e.g., pace-of-life hypothesis). Furthermore, the project aims to study sex differences in long-term effects (immune responses, (Mhc) gene expression, physiological health) of experimentally infected great reed warblers which will be kept in aviaries.
The project involves extensive field work with great reed warblers in lake Kvismaren, Närke, which is part of the ongoing long-term population study. The PhD candidate is also expected to carry out a substantial amount of laboratory work, particularly qPCR analyses of telomere length and infection analyses (malaria and other microorganisms). He/she will analyse long-term data that previously have been collected (DNA samples, reproductive performance and Darwinian fitness data etc) and own data collected during the PhD studies.

Required Qualifications

Master degree in biology, with specializations in animal ecology, evolutionary/behavioural ecology and molecular ecology.
High motivation and a sincere interest in this particular project is crucial.
It is highly desired that the applicant has considerable experience of analysing DNA data, in particular telomere length and malaria parasite analyses.
Laboratory experience from molecular techniques (in particular qPCR, but also PCR and Sanger sequencing) is desirable
Analytic skills and an interest in analysing life history and fitness data in combination with DNA data are requested.
It is a requirement that spoken and written English is excellent.
Experience from fieldwork with birds is very important, and experience of field work on great reed warblers an extra plus.

Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment
Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100 %
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2018/1362
  • Dennis Hasselquist, professor, +46 46 222 37 08,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66
Published 26.Apr.2018
Last application date 21.May.2018 11:59 PM CET

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