Within the large collaborative FP7 project EDENext (WP Tick-borne diseases), the student will conduct a sub-project on the identification and molecular characterisation of the genetic variability of a series of pathogens found within questing, engorged ticks and reservoir hosts. Questing, feeding ticks and biological samples collected from a variety of reservoirs hosts collected across Trentino and other EDENext sampling sites, will be sampled and analysed using several types of appropriate molecular markers. The aim of the research is to understand the ecological relationships of tick borne pathogens in different habitats of natural foci; to gain insight into the tick pathogen community structure and variability in relation to host community composition and tick genetic variability providing estimates for parameters critical for the development of predictive models of tick-borne disease risk. The student will have the opportunity to propose innovative tools and spend at least 6 months in an external laboratory.
-At least 6 months laboratory experience in animal DNA sequencing, molecular pathogen detection, data analysis and interpretation Psychosocial skills. -Enthusiasm for research questions and approach addressed in the project; -strong motivation for pursuing a PhD; capacity to work in a multidisciplinary research team both in the laboratory and in the field; -capacity to organize personal daily activities autonomously and coordinate laboratory activities in collaboration with researchers, technicians and technologists; -willingness to learn and optimize new techniques; -readiness to conduct demanding field work; good communication skills; -strong commitment to group activity in terms of publications and ideas.