Identifying Drivers Of Parasite Diversity Hotspots And Disease Emergence In The UK.
Bournemouth University – School of Applied Sciences
Emerging infectious diseases present substantial challenges to human health and biodiversity that cut across social, economic and political boundaries. The potential severity of impacts from emerging diseases on human health are reflected by the rapid responses of governments and health agencies to minimise the global spread of the recent outbreaks of avian and swine influenza, with the estimated cost to the global economy of a severe avian flu epidemic being $1.25 trillion (3% of world GDP). Changes in host biodiversity have been suggested to increase disease emergence, although this tends to be based on correlation evidence and empirical support that represents a top-down approach to tackling the complex factors that contribute to disease emergence. It largely ignores the empirical support that has indicated that parasite-parasite interactions and parasite diversity within the host can also affect rates of disease emergence.
The international agenda on environmental monitoring and managing has been marked with a shift from small scale science to a large scale holistic enterprise. The PhD stems from such a holistic approach and will radically change our understanding of the drivers of parasite diversity and disease emergence. Thus, the aim of this PhD is to determine and predict the current and future outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases in freshwater ecosystems using indices of parasite diversity and the UK as the representative study area. The objectives are to:
1. Characterise hotspots of aquatic parasite diversity in the UK and the factors driving parasite diversity.
2. Determine biotic and socio-economic drivers leading to disease emergence, parasite transference and diversity homogenization.
3. Predict hotspots of future aquatic disease emergence
4. To measure the relationship between aquatic parasite diversity and resistance to parasite invasion by novel parasites
The fusion of macro-ecological and societal parameters to determine the drivers of disease emergence and parasite diversity represents a novel approach in this field which will naturally lead to high impact.
This year, BU will be offering 44 fully-funded and match-funded PhD Studentships. Successful candidates will be engaged on projects in a range of disciplines and will receive a bursary of £14,000/year to cover their living expenses. Their tuition fees will be waived for 36 months and the research costs, including bench fees, field work and conference attendance will also be met.
Candidates for this fully-funded PhD studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 3 years. All candidates must satisfy the University’s minimum doctoral entry criteria for studentships of an honours degree at Upper Second Class (2.1) and/or an appropriate Masters degree. An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language.
In addition to satisfying basic entry criteria, BU will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project.
To discuss this opportunity further please contact: D. Andreou; 0044 (0) 1202 968934; firstname.lastname@example.org
The first call for applications will close on 31 May 2012.
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