Position Details: One or more Post-doctoral positions are available to work on projects exploring the role of olfactory receptor expression, function and evolution in mediating the behavior of Anopheline malaria vector mosquitoes.
Full Description: Female mosquitoes are major vectors of human disease and the most dangerous are those that preferentially bite humans. Host selection and discrimination by mosquitoes are mainly odor mediated. Understanding the physiological and (epi)genetic causes/effects of host choice in vector mosquitoes is challenging, controversial and of significant practical importance for controlling mosquito borne diseases such as malaria, filariasis as well as Dengue, West Nile and Zika virus fevers.
A core focus of the Zwiebel lab research is the molecular neurobiology and chemo-sensory biology of vector mosquitoes (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/zwiebellab/Home.html) where research efforts are directed towards both fundamental and applied goals. We are currently recruiting 1-2 postdoctoral fellows to augment efforts in this area. Our research uses a wide range of techniques seeks to describe the (epi)genetic and cellular mechanisms linking the basic molecular components of the peripheral olfactory system with the host preference displayed by Anopheline malaria mosquitoes both natively and as a consequence of biologically relevant infections of Plasmodium falciparium. The postdoctoral fellow(s) will be involved in projects that describe the olfactory sensitivity of Anopheline mosquitoes as well as identifies the transcriptional and genetic changes that potentially alter odorant receptor and receptor neuron responses to host odors among mosquitoes that display different preferences for humans as a blood-meal host. To investigate these processes as well as the mechanisms underlying such functional changes in the receptors, the receptors will be functionally assessed in response to host odors under a variety of conditions. These findings will be extended to investigate altered in vivo responses at the receptor neuron and behavioral levels.
Application Details: Strong candidates will hold a PhD degree in an appropriate biological field with expertise in modern molecular and cellular biology as well as experience working in insect systems and common molecular biological techniques as a requirement. In addition, experience with DNA/RNAseq, cell-based membrane protein expression and assay systems is a significant asset. S/he should be fluent in spoken and written English, and have excellent communication skills. The candidate must demonstrate a solid ability to work independently as well as within a group environment and have interest in mentorship.
Location: Research interests in the Department of Biological Sciences cover a broad spectrum of biology, from molecules and cells to tissues and organisms to populations and ecosystems. Vanderbilt University is a research institution operating at a global crossroads of teaching and discovery. Located in Nashville, one of the most vibrant and growing small cities in the USA.
Form of employment: An initial 1 year will be offered, extendable to 2+ years.
Please send a cover letter and CV including 3 references to Professor LJ Zwiebel at Vanderbilt University.
Contact: LJ Zwiebel (firstname.lastname@example.org)