Postdoctoral Research Associate

The University of Edinburgh - College of Science and Engineering, Institute of Evolutionary Biology

Closing Date: Friday 02 February 2018 at 5pm (GMT)

This post is full time and fixed term for 3 years.

Parasite offence or host defence? The ecology and evolution of biological rhythms in malaria infection

Biological rhythms allow activities to be coordinated with the consequences of the Earth’s daily and seasonal rotation. The mechanisms underpinning the clocks that drive daily rhythms are well understood. In contrast, the costs and benefits provided by daily rhythms – including how rhythms shape interactions between organisms – are poorly understood. One of the most fundamental interactions between organisms is that between hosts and parasites. Why parasites - that exclusively live within the bodies of other organisms - exhibit biological rhythms and how they are regulated are longstanding questions. Examining the roles of rhythms in disease is a new arena for studying host-parasite-vector coevolution. Also, integrating disease control interventions into an evolutionary chronobiology framework offers innovative approaches to improving health. This includes the development of drugs to disrupt parasite rhythms, harnessing circadian systems to enhance immune responses, or precisely timing drug administration to make treatment more effective.

We are offering a postdoctoral position as part of a Wellcome Trust funded project to investigate the role of circadian rhythms in malaria infection. The project will integrate a novel mix of disciplines (evolutionary ecology, chronobiology, and parasitology) to determine why and how timing matters for interactions between parasites, hosts and vectors, the severity and transmission of disease, and fitness of all parties. This is a very broad topic and so the successful candidate will be encouraged to develop their own niche. Growing evidence that the daily rhythms of malaria parasites can confer tolerance to antimalarial drugs, and that the use of bed nets is changing the biting time of the mosquitoes that transmit malaria makes understanding how and why parasites exhibit daily rhythms increasingly urgent.

For further particulars and to apply for this post please click on the 'apply' button below

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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