(c) Floris van Breugel | Dickinson Lab, Riffell lab


Vacancy for a PhD student - Studying the biomehanics and aerodynamics of mosquito flight

Gepubliceerd op
26 juni 2015

For this interdisciplinary project, we are looking for a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate with a recent university MSc degree in engineering, (bio)physics or biology (or equivalent).

We are looking for

We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate to study the biomechanics and aerodynamics of mosquito flight.

Mosquitos fly with exceptionally high wingbeat frequencies of up to 1000 wingbeats per second! But why this relatively successful group of flying insects has evolved such remarkable flight dynamics is unknown. To solve this question, the PhD candidate will study the biomechanics and aerodynamics of flying mosquitoes.

The study is part of an international mosquito flight project lead by the Experimental Zoology Group at Wageningen UR, and in collaboration with the Laboratory of Entomology at Wageningen UR and international partners. This collaborative project focuses on flight-based host finding and dispersal of malaria mosquitoes, with the aim to improve existing and/or develop new mosquito (vector) control strategies. It combines fundamental science and direct applicability in control of mosquitos as vectors of malaria and other diseases.

The candidate will record 3D high-speed video of free-flying mosquitos using a dedicated insect flight wind tunnel with state-of-the-art camera systems. Based on these experiments, the candidate will apply and develop tools to study and model the biomechanics and aerodynamics of mosquito fight. For this analysis, an automatic machine-vision-based mosquito tracking system and sophisticated fluid dynamics modeling tools are available. The candidate is expected to perform part of the research abroad in collaboration with our international partners.

We ask

For this interdisciplinary project, we are looking for a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate with a recent university MSc degree in engineering, (bio)physics or biology (or equivalent). Specific requirements are:

  • Strong analytical skills and innovative attitude
  • Very good programming skills (e.g. Matlab/Python)
  • The candidate should be a team player with excellent communication skills
  • Good proficiency in English (both oral and written)
  • A clear affinity with the field of (bio)mechanics and/or fluid dynamics (experimental and/or computational).

We offer

We offer a full-time position (38 hours per week) for one year with an extension of another three years after positive evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2125,- in the first year rising to € 2717,- per month in the fourth year, for a fulltime appointment.

 You can apply until July 20th, 2015.

 Job interviews will be held in August 2015.

More information

For more information, please contact:
Dr ir Florian T Muijres (florian.muijres@wur.nl; +31 317 486977)
Prof dr ir Johan L van Leeuwen (Johan.vanLeeuwen@wur.nl; +31 317 482267)
How to apply
Applications have to be submitted via the Wageningen UR online application system. The application deadline is July 20th, 2015. Candidates are requested to upload the following information to the website:

  • Letter of motivation
  • CV, including GPA (Grade Point Average) or equivalent in your Bachelor and Master education
  • Names and contact information for two references

We are

Wageningen University & Research Centre
Wageningen UR has as mission 'To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life', and it is worldwide renowned for its research and education in the field of life sciences. Through these activities it aims to make essential contributions to the quality of life. This approach has led to Wageningen University being ranked as the best agricultural university in the world according to the National Taiwan University Ranking 2014.

You will participate in a multidisciplinary international consortium that aims at studying the flight dynamics of the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. The collaborative project has the (long term) goal to reduce the transmission of malaria from mosquitoes to humans.
The consortium consists of the Wageningen UR chair groups the Experimental Zoology Group (lead by Prof. Johan van Leeuwen) and the Vector Group (lead by Prof. Willem Takken), and international partners at the California Institute of Technology (USA), Chiba University (Japan) and Lund University (Sweden). The principal investigator for the project is dr ir Florian Muijres from the Experimental Zoology Group.
The Experimental Zoology Group
The mission of the Experimental Zoology Group is to unravel the relationships between form and function in zoological systems in a developmental and evolutionary context. The group is world-leading in studying the biomechanics and (bio)fluid dynamics of both fish swimming and animal flight. The project PI and direct supervisor dr ir Florian Muijres is an aerospace engineer with a PhD in biology and an expert on the aerodynamics of animal flight.
The Vector Group
The Vector Group at the Laboratory of Entomology studies the physiology and ecology of vectors of human and animal diseases (most importantly malaria mosquitoes). The Laboratory of Entomology is internationally renowned for both its fundamental research (e.g. insect-animal and insect-plant interactions) and its applied research (e.g. development of biological and integrated vector control systems).