We are looking for a PhD candidate to work, from early March 2016, on an international project (SUZUKILL) funded by the French Research National Agency (ANR) and Austrian Science Fund (FWF). The project, primarily in the field of applied entomology, is multi-disciplinary involving collaborations among UE partners: University of Rennes 1 (UMR CNRS 6553 ECOBIO, France), University of Lyon 1 (UMR CNRS 5558 LBBE, France), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (IFFF, BOKU, Austria), and Insect Pest Control Laboratory (IPCL, Austria) from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food & Agriculture.
The recent invasion of fruit production areas by the Spotted Wing Drosophila fly, Drosophila suzukii, is a major concern for Europe’s soft fruit production sector. The objective of the SUZUKILL project is to develop an alternative avenue for controlling this pest through the mass-release of sterile insects that will be produced via Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and via Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility (Incompatible Insect Technique, IIT). These environmentally-friendly technologies require the development of mass-rearing of competitive and quality insects at an industrial scale, as well as the ability to stockpile, handle and ship insects under low temperature.
SUZUKILL project is split into four Work Packages (WPs): WP1 Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), WP2 Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT), WP3 Management of Cold Tolerance, and WP4 Management of Genetic Changes.
– WP1 aims to develop a complete SIT package against D. suzukii in greenhouse. The challenge will be to develop a mass-rearing protocol for D. suzukii and to conduct pilot SIT trials (irradiation assays). It will also adapt to D. suzukii quality control procedure in use for other insects controlled by SIT.
– WP2 aims to develop a complete IIT package against D. suzukii in greenhouse. It will identify the best candidate strains of Wolbachia for IIT in D. suzukii and will evaluate the effectiveness of the reduction/limitation of D. suzukii populations under semi-field conditions.
– WP3 aims to understand and harness D. suzukii cold tolerance to enable and facilitate application of SIT and IIT. This WP aims to gain fundamental knowledge on the cold tolerance of European D. suzukii populations and develop novel approaches for manipulating cold tolerance and cold performance.
– WP4 is concerned with the detection and prediction of genomic changes occurring during laboratory domestication of D. suzukii. It will apply and test practical strategies for maintaining genetic diversity and global competiveness.
Objective of present PhD and specific skills required
The position will have an international dimension involving travels between France and Austria.
The present PhD (3 years) will focus on WP3 (managing cold tolerance). The candidate will be based in France at the University of Rennes 1 (UMR CNRS 6553 ECOBIO). The experiments will involve thermal assays associated with system-wide omics approaches and will use a combination of disciplines ranging from genetics to molecular biology and biochemistry. The candidate should have expertise in invertebrate ecophysiology, stress physiology, and thermal biology or molecular biology (or combination of all). A drosophila expertise will be a strong bonus.
Two other PhD positions will be available on the other WPs of the project and will be advertised separately.
General requirements for the position:
We ask a MSc degree in Biological, Agricultural or Environmental Science with multidisciplinary profile. In addition to the specific skills required, the candidate should be a team player with demonstrable experience in collaboration with ecologists, molecular biologists and/or entomologists. He/she should have excellent communication skills and should be fluent in English.
Conditions of employment:
PhD is full-time position.
Doctoral studies in France last 3 years. PhD programs are managed by Doctoral Schools (Ecoles Doctorales) that can be affiliated to one or several universities. Overall academic costs in France are low (around 400 €/year tuition fees in universities) and there is an additional Government support aided to Foreign students in promoting research. Most of the PhD offers are linked to a scholarship of approximately 1700€/month (gross salary).
For information on French PhDs:
Laboratories involved in SUZUKILL project:
– UMR CNRS 6553 ECOBIO at University of Rennes 1 (France). The team” PaysaClim” has recognized expertise in ecology, entomology, and particularly in insect’s stress physiology. The team is coordinator of the “GDR biological invasions”. The ECOBIO unit holds a cutting-edge environmental platform (ECOLEX) to conduct experiments in greenhouses and cages, an analytical platform (ABGC) for Omics and biochemichal analyses, and a functional genomics platform (GEF) to conduct transcriptomics and molecular biology, with dedicated staff to support works. ECOBIO also holds a range of instruments to conduct thermal analyses. ECOBIO also holds facilities for insect rearing (Drosophila lines are already maintained). Short link : https://ecobio.univ-rennes1.fr/
– UMR CNRS 5558 – LBBE at University of Lyon 1 (France). The team « Genetics and Evolution of host-parasite interactions » is recognized as a world-leading group in the field of insect symbiosis, from parasitism to mutualism. The LBBE unit holds insectaries (including D. suzukii mass rearing) and a range of molecular facilities. Short link: https://lbbe.univ-lyon1.fr/
– Institute of Forest Entomology, Forest Pathology and Forest Protection (IFFF) within the Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, BOKU, Vienna (Austria). Researches within the institute are focusing on molecular ecology and population genomics of insects, as well as trophic interactions of plants-insects and insect’s symbiosis at the ecological, physiological and molecular level. IFFF is fully equipped for state of art molecular biology works and insectaries. Short link: https://www.wabo.boku.ac.at/en/ifff/
– Insect Pest Control Laboratory (IPCL) within the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. IPCL is regarded as a world authority on SIT, mass-rearing of insects (at industrial level) and molecular genetics with an emphasis on development of symbiont-based interventions for biological control of insect pests using SIT and/or IIT. IPCL is equipped with state of the art insectaries, rearing facilities for different insect pests (and trained staff), equipment to scale up insect production, insect greenhouses for behavioural studies, Co-60 irradiator sources and an X-ray machine, micro-injection facility (for transinfection), a fully functional molecular biology unit. Short link: http://www-naweb.iaea.org/nafa/ipc/ipc-laboratory.html
How to apply:
Contact Hervé Colinet (CR-CNRS; French coordinator) ([email protected])
The deadline for PhD applications is January 10, 2016 for a start in March, 2016. Reference letters, cover letter and CV should be submitted by January 10, 2016. All application materials should be submitted via email to PI with “SUZUKILL PHD APPLICATION” as subject.