PhD Studentship Opportunity: Assessment Of CCHV In Ugandan Cattle Corridor And Kenyan Arid North Tick Populations
Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever Virus (CCHFV) is an enveloped, negative-sense RNA virus, vectored principally by Hyalomma species of ticks. CCHFV causes a contagious zoonosis resulting in haemorrhagic fever with a case fatality rate between 3% and 80%. CCHFV also possesses a high degree of genetic diversity with a potential of new and highly pathogenic variants emerging, which can impact pastoralists in contact with animals infested with Hyalomma ticks. Despite the occurrence of multiple outbreaks in East Africa since 2013, CCHFV remains poorly characterized with paucity of knowledge of its epidemiology, population genetics, and viral characteristics.
Texas Tech University, the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and the United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (USDA – ARS) have forged a collaboration to examine Hyalomma species of ticks for pathogens that affect animal and human health. The objectives of this study will be to identify tick species diversity of the Ugandan cattle corridor and the Kenyan arid north region, assess tick blood meal sources, delineate temporal and spatial Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) infection rates in tick populations, and characterize the tick virome.
The data obtained in this study will establish the prevalence of CCHFV and other tick-borne pathogens, as well as the intra- and interpopulation genetic variability of CCHFV isolated from ticks collected in different seasons and ecological zones and will identify any novel pathogens transmitted by ticks along the Kenya-Ugandan border. These studies will also help prepare the public health systems for the potential introduction of CCHFV or other tick-borne emerging pathogens by gaining a greater understanding of the epidemiology of CCHFV transmission in East Africa.
Consequently, we invite applications from suitable Ugandan candidates for a 5-year PhD studentship. The successful candidate will be enrolled at Texas Tech University for the PhD program. The project will meet all tuition and research costs of the successful candidate as well as provide a stipend while enrolled at Texas Tech University. However, the candidate should be in position to pay for their VISA processing costs, admission costs and the initial travel to the US.
-Must be a Ugandan citizen
-Experience in tick collection/research is desirable
-Must have field experience either with ticks or any other arboviral vectors.
-Must have a first-class honors or second upper BSc. degree
-Must hold an MSc. Degree
-Must have at least a single publication in a peer reviewed journal
Send your applications to Dr. Martin Lukindu (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com ) Also send a carbon copy (cc) to Dr. Maria Onyango (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please include your CV, copies of academic transcripts, names of two referees and a one-page research statement.
The deadline for sending in the applications is July 31st 2022.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. For any questions or inquiries please contact Dr. Martin Lukindu (Dept. of Entomology UVRI).