Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool PhD Studentship: Spatial Epidemiology and Ecological Modelling of Leptospirosis Applications are invited for a four-year PhD studentship to work on the above topic, jointly supervised by Prof Mike Begon (Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour) and Prof Peter Diggle (Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Institute of Infection and Global health). The studentship includes fees for UK/EU candidates and an annual stipend of at least £13,590. Applicants should have, or expect to obtain by summer 2012, an upper second or first class honours BSc, or an MSc, in statistics or epidemiology (or a related discipline). They should also demonstrate an enthusiasm for undertaking inter-disciplinary research at the interface of statistics, ecology, epidemiology and mathematical modelling, including field-work in Brazil. Scientific background and objectives Emerging and re-emerging infections are now widely acknowledged to be an urgent and growing global threat to human health, especially in urban slums, where humans are typically crowded, and live in close proximity to animal and environmental reservoirs of infection. Leptospirosis, a spirochetal zoonosis, has emerged as an important health problem as slum settlements have expanded rapidly worldwide and created conditions for rat-borne transmission. In countries such as Brazil, large epidemics occur each year in slum communities during seasonal periods of heavy rainfall. The key, interdisciplinary challenge in planning to combat the disease is to understand both the infection dynamics in the natural reservoir, the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus), and the effects of natural and social environmental factors that translate this into disease risk and hence patterns of human infection. The successful candidate will contribute to a programme of research being carried out by a collaborative partnership involving the University of Liverpool, Yale University (USA) and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Brazil). This programme will build on continuing, long-term prospective studies of leptospirosis amongst slum residents in the city of Salvador, Brazil. Depending on the successful candidate's academic background and scientific interests, the specific focus of the PhD project could be either of: 1. Identifying and quantifying the ecological factors driving leptospire dynamics in its reservoir host in tropical slums, and accounting for spatio-temporal variation in consequent rates of leptospire shedding into the environment. 2. Determining how leptospire dynamics in rodent and environmental reservoirs, together with climatic, structural and social determinants in slums, influence the epidemiology of human disease. Informal inquiries: to Prof Mike Begon (Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour, [log in to unmask]) or Prof Peter Diggle (Epidemiology and Population Health, [log in to unmask]) Application procedure: Please submit electronically a letter of application, along with a full CV and the names of two academic referees to Mrs Linda Marsh, Research Support Office, Institute of Integrative Biology ([log in to unmask]). Deadline for applications: Monday 16 April 2012 You may leave the list at any time by sending the command SIGNOFF allstat to [log in to unmask], leaving the subject line blank.