Fwd: PhD positions, Sweden

Susan Therese Meiers ST-Meiers at wiu.edu
Thu Nov 14 05:45:16 EST 2002

----- Forwarded message  -----

We search for new Ph D students in the field of insect chemical communication at
the Department of Ecology, Lund University, to work within research projects
about molecular analysis of odorant recognition and the evolution of pheromone
communication in moths.

Sex pheromone communication in moths is a well investigated case of mate-finding
by chemical signals, but the evolutionary causes of the great complexity and
diversity of these signals are still not generally agreed on. The following
projects are suggested to deepen our understanding of how species-specific
pheromones have evolved and how specific pheromone production and response are

Supervisors: Christer Löfstedt (christer.lofstedt at ekol.lu.se) and Jean-Francois
Picimbon   (jean-francois.picimbon at ekol.lu.se)

Topic. Most moth species make use of acetate/alcohol-type pheromone components,
which may be derived from palmitic or stearic acid by ?11 desaturation. Some
families and subfamilies within Lepidoptera, however, use a hydrocarbon-type of
pheromone components that can be derived biosynthetically from linoleic and
linolenic acid. The pheromone-compound dichotomy between groups of moths is
intriguing: How can a pheromone system, including both sender and receiver
characteristics, change from one type to another? Is it possible that the more
advanced system evolved twice or is there a more parsimonious phylogenetic
Using the data on the distribution of the genes involved in pheromone
biosynthesis a reconstruction of pheromone evolution among higher moths will be
attempted. Related genes will be investigated in primitive moths.
A parallel project addresses the biochemical and genetic control of the
production of specific pheromone-component ratios in pheromone glands.
Techniques. Depending on the interests of the successful applicant(s), the
approach may include a different mix of molecular, biochemical and phylogenetic
approaches. Applicant should preferably have a strong interest in evolutionary
biology, chemical communication, biochemistry and/or molecular biology, and have
some experience with the main techniques of general molecular biology and enzyme

 (reference no. 671)
Supervisors: Jean-Francois Picimbon (jean-francois.picimbon at ekol.lu.se) and
Christer Löfstedt (christer.lofstedt at ekol.lu.se)
Topic The research project  addresses the molecular components of the reception
of pheromone/odorant signals as expressed through the insect chemosensory system
using moths, flies and locusts as scientific models. The approaches used
include: 1) molecular cloning of genes encoding olfactory receptor proteins
(ORs), their localization, expression and functional characterization, 2)
identification of receptor ligands and protein partners, 3) phylogenetical
analysis of ORs and 4) physical studies and probabilistic modelling for
ligand-receptor recognition. From such a study a clarification of genetic
relatedness ("molecular evolution") between insect ORs as well as the molecular
basis of olfactory-induced behavior can be expected. Interest for the industrial
sector arises principally because of ORs potential in understanding and control
of the chemosensory systems.
Techniques. Applicant should preferably have a strong interest in Neurobiology,
Entomology and Molecular Biology, and be capable to handle the main techniques
of general molecular biology and protein biochemistry. Experiences with
techniques such as in situ hybridization, immunocytochemistry, receptor protein
expression, binding assays, crystallization, NMR and computer receptor modelling
are a merit.

General qualifications
The projects are multidisciplinary. Applicants should have basic education in
chemistry and biology (BSc/MSc), with preferences given to those with extra
training in chemical ecology, biochemistry and molecular biology. Experience
with the techniques listed under the respective projects will be an advantage.

Starting date
Anyone who is interested in applying for a position within these two projects is
welcome to contact the proposed supervisors for further information. Under the
assumption that qualified applicants are available, financial support may begin
from January 2003, after completion of a formal research plan in cooperation
with the intended supervisor. Starting date for the studies can be preliminary
agreed upon together with the supervisors and will be confirmed by a decision in
the department board.

Financial support and course of study
The accepted candidates will  be awarded PhD studentships that are fully funded
salaried  positions for 4 years (160 points) on the understanding that the
students make progress in accordance with the requirements for a Swedish  PhD. A
Swedish thesis generally consists  of 3-5 scientific papers aimed for
international publication and an extensive summary.  The required 160 points
comprise 40 points course work and 120 points research.

Interested candidates should contact the supervisors, and also submit a written
application, including a curriculum vitae, attested copies of examination
certificates and any relevant service certificates, copies of honour's thesis
and any other documents of interest. All applications should quote the reference
numbers given above. The application should be delivered to the secretariat of
the faculty, Kansli N, Lunds universitet, Box 118, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden, no
later than November 27th,  2002.

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