Two PhD assistantships in applied entomology are available at Boku, Vienna, Austria

Two PhD assistantships in applied entomology are available at Boku (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria). The three year project is in close cooperation with the Insect Pest Control Laboratory (IPCL) from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division (Seibersdorf, Austria) and two French labs, LBBE (University of Lyon), and ECOBIO (University of Rennes).
 
Two highly motivated and creative doctoral students are sought to join the French Research National Agency (ANR) and Austrian Science Fund (FWF) funded project to conduct research on developing control strategies for the spotted wing Drosophila fly, Drosophila suzukii. The recent invasion of D. suzukii is a major concern for Europe’s soft fruit production sector. The objective of the project is to develop an alternative approach for controlling D. suzukii populations through the release of sterile insects produced via Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT). Protocols for mass-rearing and sterilization of D. suzukii using radiation as well as cytoplasmic incompatible CI Wolbachia strains shall be developed and validated.
 
– One PhD candidate will be responsible for developing the mass rearing protocol for D. suzukii and establish SIT by applying different irradiation protocols for reaching optimal male sterility. Thus, quality control analysis including male mating competitiveness besides others will be performed.
 
– The second PhD candidate will be responsible for the characterization of available Wolbachia-infected lines in respect to cytoplasmic incompatibility levels and fitness. The most suitable line(s) will be further assessed for the development and application of a combined SIT and IIT approach in the absence of an efficient sex separation system. The selected PhD candidate will also be responsible to assess genetic changes occurring during domestication and/or mass-rearing.
 
The supervisors of these project are at IPCL Rui Cardoso Pereira, Carlos Cáceres, Kostas Bourtzis, at  LBBE Laurence Mouton, Patricia Gibert and Fabrice Vavre and at Boku Christian Stauffer.
 
General requirements for the position: We ask a MSc degree in Plant Sciences, Biotechnology, Biology or Evolution with multidisciplinary profile. In addition to the specific skills required, the candidates should be team players with demonstrable experience in collaboration with ecologists and/or entomologists. The candidates should have excellent communication skills and should be fluent in English. The project is expected to start in spring 2016 and PhD candidates have to enroll at Boku www.boku.ac.at/en/. Monthly salary of the successful candidates will be according to the regulations of the Austrian Science Fund FWF www.fwf.ac.at/en/.
 
Please send applications to Christian Stauffer christian.stauffer@boku.ac.at until 21st of February, 2016 including at least two reference letters, CV, cover letter expressing motivation and the preferred PhD work. Please indicate “SUZUKILL PhD Application” as subject of the mail.