PhD position at the University of Pisa, Department of Biology, and Fondazione Mach - deadline July 25, 2018, h 13.00 (C.E.T.)

The Ethology Unit at the Department of Biology of the University of Pisa (UNIPI), in collaboration with the Research and Innovation Centre of the Edmund Mach Foundation (FEM), is offering a PhD position within the project entitled “The eco-epidemiology and risk assessment of hidden food-borne parasites at the edge of their distributions. The case of Echinococcus multilocularis in northeastern Italy”. 

Echinococcus multilocularis (Em), a tapeworm circulating between canids (definitive hosts) and rodents (intermediate hosts), is the aetiological agent of Alveolar Echinococcosis (AE), one of the most relevant food-borne parasites in the world. The Trentino-Alto Adige Region represents one of the southernmost marginal areas in the EU. Despite its relevance, the ecological determinants of Em distribution and its transmission dynamics are still not well understood, especially where it is still spreading. This proposal aims to investigate the role of individual definitive hosts and intermediate host community in shaping Em distribution at the edge of its European range and to model its transmission at local and regional scale using mathematical and statistical epidemiological models.

The PhD candidate will work in collaboration with the local Institute of experimental zoo-prophylaxis, UNIPI and FEM to assess the distribution of the various haplotypes of Em present in the Trentino-Alto Adige Region, and to study in detail the ecology of transmission in both definitive and intermediate hosts in the areas where the parasite is more prevalent. Finally, the student will develop a mathematical model of transmission at local scale whose outcomes will be integrated into a large scale spatially explicit statistical model to assess the risk of animal infections and inform on the relative risk for humans through the consumption of berries or other forest products in the Region.

PhD position at the University of Pisa, Department of Biology, and Fondazione Mach - deadline July 25, 2018, h 13.00 (C.E.T.)

Mercoledì, 18 Luglio 2018

  • Candidate requisites and preferred qualities

The preferred candidate needs to be a good team player with excellent communication skills, both within the academic as well as the non-academic setting. Priority will be given to candidates with some experience in classic and/or molecular parasitology, and/or classic and/or molecular epidemiology, or in mathematical modelling. Ability and interest to learn are key.

  • PhD program and salary

The Position will last 3 years. Overall gross salary is of about 20.000€/year. Students are expected to spend some time in other labs for at least 6 months and a maximum of 1.5 years.

  • Deadline: July 25, 2018, 13:00, local time.

The candidates will be selected by cv and exams. Exams will take place on August 30th 2018 in Pisa in person or via skype. For more information, contact

For the official call, pre-requisites and scholarship characteristics, please visit the PhD website of UNIPI .