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Guadeloupe  - PhD in the population dynamics of vector-borne diseases

A PHD with GISA label.

-. © Creative Commons, JR Guillaumin
Updated on 06/06/2013
Published on 06/05/2013

Recent and massive emergence events of bluetongue and Schmallenberg disease of the last decade have identified Culicoides midges to be among the most important vectors of animal diseases in Europe. In general, the basic reproductive ratio (R0) provides fundamental information for disease control. For vector-borne diseases, R0 depends critically on vector abundance, which exhibits strong spatial and temporal heterogeneity and thus remains very difficult to estimate for Culicoides. There is an urgent need to improve predictive performance of Culicoides abundance models and reduce uncertainties in key ecological parameters.


The aims of this thesis are to develop multiple-species population dynamics models, link them with models of virus transmission and assess the impact of parameter uncertainty on estimates of R0. The candidate will have access to time-series data from the French National Culicoides Surveillance Network which, since 2004, has generated digital records of over five million midges, 80 species and at 160 geographical locations in France. Complimentary data will also be available from our laboratory colony of Culicoides and expert entomologists.


Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year PhD studentship available from September 2013.

The candidate will be based in Guadeloupe (French West Indies), in the Cirad-Inra mixed research unit Control of exotic and emergent animal diseases (CMAEE), with regular meetings and visits with team members based in Montpellier, France. He/she will work in close contact with researchers of different disciplines (modellers, epidemiologists, entomologists, etc.). He/she is expected to develop statistical and mathematical models of vector dynamics and disease transmission, keeping in consideration practical users’ objectives and field applications of the models.

Candidate skills/Qualification

Applications are welcome from candidates with a Master’s Degree (or equivalent) with interests including: mathematical biology, non-linear dynamics, computational biology, Bayesian statistics, ecological and epidemiological modeling, environmental remote sensing and multivariate analysis. Familiarity with scientific programming within a Linux environment would be advantageous. Proficiency in both French and English would be highly desirable as i) the PhD will take place in an internationally recognised laboratory within a French speaking country and ii) scientific papers will be written in English. The PhD will include stays in continental France.


Interested candidates are invited to contact:

  • Dr. David Pleydell (David.Pleydell@antilles.inra.fr) and
  • Dr. Helene Guis (helene.guis@cirad.fr) for further details.


Closing Date: 30th June 2013
Interview date: July 2013