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M.Sc./Ph.D. positions in Biogeography and Ecology of Infectious Diseases

Many studies have shown that infectious diseases do not occur at random; outbreaks occur under specific environmental conditions and are promote by specific human behaviors. In order to effectively control and anticipate epidemics, research is needed in current analytical methods used to analyze epidemiological data and develop new theoretical frameworks to understand the complex links among epidemics humans behavior and the environment. MS and/or PhD student positions are available for Fall 2018 to conduct research in the areas of biogeography, spatial ecology, and disease ecology. The intended research will use epidemiology ecological niche modeling and other analytical tools to study infectious diseases affecting humans, plants, and domesticated and non-domesticated animals in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. In addition to research work, responsibilities may include acquiring teaching experience, international internships, raising extramural funding, and mentoring of undergraduate students. We are seeking highly motivated students to be part of a research team investigating diseases using theory and methods from ecology and biogeography. Preference will be given to candidates with evident passion for these topics and strong quantitative and writing skills.

The positions are based within Dr. Luis Escobar's Laboratory in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, which is affiliated to the Global Change Center and part of the College of Natural Resources and the Environment, the No. 1 ranked natural resources program in the US (by USA Today) for three years running. This position includes stipend, tuition, and student health benefits.

The Escobar Laboratory is a highly collaborative lab that works with researchers in universities across the US, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, as well as state, federal, and non-governmental agencies.

Virginia Tech's main campus is located in Blacksburg, Virginia, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The New River Valley offers the charm of a small town combined with the modern conveniences of a metropolitan area. The thriving community boasts a plethora of unique and chain restaurants and stores, symphonies, theatres, historical attractions, museums, a vibrant night-life, sporting events, outdoor recreation activities, and a temperate climate. We have mountains to the west, the ocean to the east, and Washington D.C. to the north.

Qualifications: The Escobar Laboratory has a long history of multidisciplinary research. Students from diverse backgrounds with interest in joining the lab are encouraged to apply. A B.S. in wildlife, ecology, computer sciences, statistics, mathematics, or related fields are welcomed. Applicants must have a strong work ethic; excellent quantitative and oral and written communication skills; high attention to detail; the ability to work independently and collaborative within a culturally diverse team; and the physical and mental capacity to work long hours. Preference will be given to candidates who have previously conducted research. A prior DVM or a MS in ecology, epidemiology, or related biological or health sciences would be a plus for the Ph.D. position, although not required.

To apply: Send a single pdf including: 1) a cover letter of no more than two pages that highlights your research interests, interest in graduate school, and interest in infectious diseases; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) unofficial transcripts; 4) sample of scientific writing (e.g., a manuscript in preparation, an undergraduate thesis); and 5) contact information for 3 references. Application consideration will begin January 15, 2018 and continue until the positions are filled. References will only be contacted after applicants are notified. Contact Dr. Luis Escobar at for additional questions.

Salary: The positions include stipend, tuition, and student health benefits
Start Date: 08/10/2018
Last Date to Apply: 01/15/2018, open until filled
Contact Person: Dr. Luis E. Escobar,,

PhD position
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia
Closing date
January 15th, 2018
Posted on
December 14th, 2017 15:03
Last updated
December 14th, 2017 15:03