Workplace: Laboratory of Parasitology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic

Thesis Title: Host-specific parasites revealing historical and contemporary contacts of fish hosts: role of the Middle East in the biogeography of cyprinids

Thesis Topic: One of the research topic of the group of Evolutionary Ecology of Parasites (Laboratory of Parasitology) represents the studies of host-parasite coevolution using the systems of monogenean parasites and their associated fish hosts. Phylogenetic and cophylogenetic approaches have been applied to infer the patterns of parasite speciation and diversification and to reveal historical routes of dispersion of freshwater fish with current fragmented dispersion. Currently running project of A. Vetešníková Šimková is focussed on the diversity and phylogeny of host-specific congeneric monogeneans parasitizing cyprinid fish in Middle East representing the important place of historical contacts of fauna among three continents. The main objective of the PhD thesis will be to analyze the diversity and phylogeny of monogeneans exhibiting different level of host specificity (Dactylogyrus, Gyrodactylus and Diplozooidae) from the Middle East and Mediterranean areas. These parasites will be used as supplementary tool to infer the historical contacts of cypriniform fish between Middle East and Mediterranean areas using cophylogenetic approach.

Supervisor: Prof. Andrea Vetešníková Šimková, Ph.D.

Type of Cooperation: PhD fellowship (more information on PhD study programmes at the Faculty of Science here)

Selected student(s) will have an opportunity to:

  • study unique groups of host-specific parasites of fish
  • study coevolution of host-parasite interactions using cophylogenetic approach
  • learn phylogenetic and cophylogenetic methods
  • learn how to publish scientific results in high quality journals
  • work in the laboratory full of young and enthusiastic students with the interest in fish parasitology

Expected Start Date: second half of September 2020 (or later if visa are required)

Application Deadline:  April 30, 2020 (supervisor should be contacted before April 20, 2020)


Offered Conditions

Selected candidates will receive a comprehensive training in Fish Parasitology, Evolutionary Ecology, Molecular Ecology and Phylogeny. Besides, studying at our Faculty is an opportunity to study and live in a modern and dynamic city and one of 10 best student cities.

In addition to the standard PhD scholarship at Masaryk University (CZK 12 000 per month), additional funds are provided through departmental resources (assignment in research projects, additional scholarships). An overall monthly income is typically around CZK 22 000. Additional support includes performance-based bonuses (scholarships for successfully published papers) as well as support for international mobility or attendance of conferences etc.

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Master degree in Zoology, Ecology, Parasitology, Evolutionary Biology or related fields (required at the time of enrolment to the PhD study program)
  • Prior training/experience in fish parasitology, molecular analyses, phylogenetic recontruction (positively evaluated during the interview and selection process)
  • Good communication skills (oral and written) in English
  • High level of commitment to complete the PhD studies

How to Apply

Please send your curriculum vitae, cover letter with a concise summary of your previous research activities and recommendation letters of two reviewers (or supervisors) to: prof. Andrea Vetešníková Šimková (simkova@sci.muni.cz] before 20 April, 2020.

Selection Process

Received applications will be continuously reviewed and carefully considered. Shortlisted applicants meeting the requirements will be invited to an interview.

Please note that your application does not substitute an official admission process to Ph.D. studies at SCI MUNI. Details including discussion about the research topic, required documentation or formalities will be a subject of the interview with successful candidates. Only upon the informal pre-agreement with potential future supervisor, a formal application for PhD studies at Faculty of Science, Masaryk University can be submitted.

About the Workplace

We are looking for highly motivated graduates to join the Laboratory of Parasitology (Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science) led by prof. Milan Gelnar. The Laboratory of Parasitology is one of the most prestigious in the word with extensive facilities related to the study of host-specific monogenean parasites infecting fish, and has received international recognition for more than 30 years. Currently, research in the Laboratory of Parasitology has developed to cover all scientific areas in fish parasitology (including taxonomy, ecology, evolution, molecular biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics and fish immunity.

Masaryk University is the second-largest university in the Czech Republic with nine faculties, more than 5000 staff, and more than 30 000 students. As a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing, our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education.

Faculty of Science, a proud holder of the HR Excellence in Research Award by the European Commission, is a research-oriented faculty, offering university education (Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degree programs) closely linked to both primary and applied research and high school teaching of the following sciences: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth sciences.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!