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  Cracking the code of snails to elucidate parasite disease transmission

   Melbourne Veterinary School

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  Dr Neil Young, Dr Anson Koehler  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Call for PhD students in Snail Taxonomy, Genomics, and Host:Parasite Interact ions

Want to help resolve the taxonomy of Australian freshwater snails and assess their ability to transmit parasites to Australian livestock?


Interested in field work and using cutting-edge tools to study phylogenetics, genomics and transcriptomic responses to parasitic infection?

The Parasitology Group at the University of Melbourne is recruiting PhD students to investigate the role of snails as vectors of parasites of socioeconomic importance. In Australia, a disease caused by liver flukes causes major economic losses to livestock production. The role of Australian pond snails as intermediate hosts for this parasite is poorly understood and we aim to explore the phylogeography, biology and genomics of these snails.

PhD students will be given the opportunity to contribute to the taxonomic revision of aquatic snails and their parasites, defining the complete genomes of key representative snail genotypes and/or using transcriptomics to elucidate the molecular interactions between a snail host and a parasite. Expected outcomes from this project are the creation of novel molecular resources for important snail species and to verify their roles as key vectors of flatworm parasites.

The projects are funded through the Australian Research Council, and PhD scholars will be advised by Drs Neil Young, Anson Koehler, Bonnie Webster (Natural History Museum, London) and Winston Ponder (Australian Museum, Sydney) and members of the Parasitology Group within the Faculty of Science at The University of Melbourne. The project will be based at the Melbourne Veterinary School at the Parkville campus and in the heart of Melbourne’s biomedical precinct.

To be eligible, applicants must have experience that aligns with one or more of the stated aims (see above). Skills or interest in phylogenetics, malacology, genomics, transcriptomics, bioinformatics, statistical analyses, and/or aquatic invertebrate animal husbandry are all an advantage. Post Graduate Research Scholarships for stipends are available through University of Melbourne, for which the applicant will need to apply separately. Scholarship applications are competitive – applicants should have first-class Honours, Master’s by research (1 year full-time) or equivalent and an excellent academic record. Peer reviewed publications are beneficial. 

Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

The projects are funded through the Australian Research Council