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Ph.D. position in wildlife epidemiology, including field and laboratory work, and intensive data analytics.

Ph.D. Position (wildlife diseases)

Virginia Tech
Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation,

Blacksburg, Virginia, United States

Job Category
Graduate Research Assistantship

Last Date to Apply
August 30, 2021

Start Date
1 Jan, 2022

The Escobar lab is searching for a highly motivated graduate student for a fully-funded Ph.D. position in the area of wildlife diseases, wildlife epidemiology, and disease ecology for an NSF research project on topics that include bat-borne rabies, landscape ecology, fieldwork in Latin America, and advanced population dynamics analysis using molecular tools. Preference will be given to candidates with an evident passion for these topics and quantitative and writing skills. In addition to research work, responsibilities will include acquiring teaching experience, raising extramural funding experience, and mentoring undergraduate students.

The position is based within Dr. Luis Escobar laboratory in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, College of Natural Resources and the Environment, the No. 1 ranked natural resources program in the US (by USA Today) for four years running, and in collaboration with Drs Eric Hallerman and Lauren Childs. The Escobar’s group is highly collaborative and works with researchers in universities across the US and Latin America. This position includes full tuition, 12-month salary support, and field and laboratory work. Minorities and underrepresented groups in STEM are encouraged to apply.

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.

Required Qualifications
• A prior DVM or an MS in ecology, epidemiology, statistics, molecular biology or related biological sciences.
• The Escobar Laboratory has a long history of multidisciplinary research. Students from diverse academic backgrounds with an interest in joining the lab are encouraged to apply (e.g., wildlife, ecology, computer sciences, statistics, mathematics, or related fields are welcomed).
• Applicants must have a strong work ethic; quantitative, oral, and written communication skills; high attention to detail; the ability to work independently and collaboratively within a culturally diverse team.

Preferred Qualification
• Experience in molecular biology and/or immunology.
• Experience in spatial statistics
• A track record of scientific publications.
• Interest to develop the capacity to work long hours in the field capturing vampire bats.

To apply
Send a single pdf including: 1) a cover letter of no more than two pages that highlights your skills and expertise, research interests, interest in graduate school, career plans, and why we should consider your application; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) unofficial transcripts; 4) sample of scientific writing (e.g., a manuscript in preparation, thesis, published manuscript as the first author); and 5) contact information for 3 references who have worked closely with you and can explain your research skills and interests. Application consideration will begin on August 30, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. References will only be contacted after applicants are notified.

Contact Person
Contact Dr. Luis Escobar at for additional questions and to submit your application.


PhD position
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia
United States
Closing date
August 30th, 2021
Posted on
July 25th, 2021 02:54
Last updated
July 25th, 2021 02:54