At the research unit of Vector Biology, we explore the role of mosquito biology in regulating the development of malaria parasites. Anopheles mosquitoes become infected with malaria-causing parasites upon blood feeding in an infected human host. Within the mosquito, the parasites undergo several developmental stages until they can be transmitted to another human. In this sense, the mosquito acts as a vector for the parasite. The duration of this process, known as sporogony, is around 10-13 days. This is a slow process compared to the life expectancy of the mosquitoes, which is estimated to be about 14 days. Therefore, regulation of sporogony time-scale is crucial to determine the transmission probability of the parasite to the next mammal host.
Recently, a mechanistic mathematical model describing sporogony was developed and fitted to data from A. stephensi, the main malarian vector in south-east Asia. In this project, your role will be to test whether this model is general enough to describe the sporogonic process in A. coluzzi, one of the major vectors in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of the principal species we use in the Vector Biology Unit. You will start by studying the features of the model. Then you will review the observational data that our lab has collected in the past. Finally, you will develop the model further to include relevant environmental and population dynamics factors. The model will serve to predict the spread of malaria in real populations and to test measures to contain its spread.
Good knowledge of ODE and stochastic models
Strong programming skills in Python or R
Interest in working in an interdisciplinary team
Good English knowledge
Ability to work independently
Enrolled at a German university
What we offer:
This position is without remuneration
How to apply:
In case of interest, please send an email including your CV and stating your interest to email@example.com until October 31, 2021.