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Genomics and population genetics of the only venomous primate – the slow loris

Project Description

Oxford Brookes University
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (Department of Biomedical and Medical Sciences) and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Department of Social Sciences)

3 Year, full-time Interdisciplinary PhD studentship
Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU
Closing date: 31 March 2020
Start date: September 2020
Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2019/20 bursary rate is £15,009)
University fees and bench fees at the Home/EU rate will be met by the University for the 3 years of the Studentship.
Supervisors include: Dr Ravinder Kanda, Professor Anna Nekaris

Lorises (along with the other Strepsirrhini - lemurs and bushbabies) are amongst the most basal primates. All species of slow loris are globally threatened on the IUCN Red List and are characterised by a suite of unique morphological characteristics, including that they are one of the few known venomous mammals. Little is known about the genome of this unusual primate, and while most interest in primate evolution has focused on the great apes and monkeys, there is growing interest in understanding the evolutionary history of strepsirrhines. Our main aim in this project is to assemble a whole genome of the slow loris, and explore questions relating to transposable element content in strepsirrhines (transposable elements make up a large proportion of primate genomes). Additionally, we will incorporate analyses relating to the population genetics and dynamics of Javan slow lorises, a population of which we have been studying in the wild since 2011. Using a RAD sequencing and population genetic approach, we will investigate the levels of genetic diversity in this species (both within and between populations).
In this project we will provide training at the nexus of bioinformatics and evolutionary biology. The student will develop skills in bioinformatics, evolutionary/molecular biology and population genetic. There is also the opportunity for the student to spend some time in a biomolecular lab in Indonesia.

For further information please contact Dr Ravinder Kanda () or Prof Anna Nekaris ().

Funding Notes

How to apply:
Applications should be sent to and should include the following application form
(View Website).


We seek an enthusiastic student with an interest in genomics as well as primate evolution and ecology. A large component of this project will be computational - prospective applicants should either have a computational UG degree with some experience of molecular/evolutionary genetics, or a molecular biology/genetics UG degree, with some experience of bioinformatics (familiarity with Perl, R, Linux).
Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.

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