PhD position in developing taste-mediated mosquito control

Ref SLU ua 2018.2.5.1-4592

Institutionen för växtskyddsbiologi (unit within SLU)

The Department of Plant Protection Biology is an interdisciplinary constellation with good opportunities for strong research collaboration within and outside the departmental area. World-leading research conducted in chemical ecology/sensory biology, as well as successful research in resistance biology and integrated plant protection, has resulted in a dynamic working environment and a strong international reputation in both fundamental and applied research. At the Department, the chemical ecology of disease vectors group intensively investigates vector mosquitoes.

Developing taste-mediated mosquito control


Female mosquitoes are major vectors of human disease and the most dangerous are those that preferentially bite humans. The final acceptance of a host and the taking of a blood meal by mosquitoes is mainly mediated by taste. Understanding how specific taste compounds from the blood host and pathogens, together with the receptors that bind them, contribute to this behaviour is both challenging and of significant practical importance for controlling these rapidly evolving vectors.

The research aims to describe the mechanism underlying the taste-mediated drive to imbibe a blood meal. This includes understanding the contribution of specific taste receptors and their neurons tuned to human- and pathogen-derived tastants in the malaria and dengue mosquitoes. The PhD student will analyse the behavioural and neural responses of mosquitoes to such tastants, and will identify and functionally characterise the taste receptors tuned to these compounds.

The overall aim of this study is to develop a delivery method for mosquito control substances that makes use of our ability to induce mosquitoes to gorge on meals contaminated with these control agents. This PhD position and the project are fully funded.


The successful candidate will hold a MSc in biology, or a related field. Experience with at least one of the following techniques is a requirement:

  1. behavioural analysis of insects;
  2. single sensillum electrophysiology;
  3. transcriptomic analysis; and/or
  4. functional analysis of receptors in a cell culture-based system.

In addition, experience with chemical ecology and mosquito research are significant assets. S/he should be fluent in spoken and written English (for details click here), and have excellent communication skills. The candidate should enjoy working in a group environment, and demonstrate a solid ability to work independently to advance our research.

Place of work:


Forms for funding or employment:

PhD position Employment (4 years) / 100% full time / Fully funded

Starting date:

According to agreement


We welcome your application no later than 2019-02-01, use the button below.

A person has basic eligibility for third cycle education if he or she has taken a second cycle qualification or has completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 higher education credits at second cycle education. Upper secondary school grades equivalent to English B/English 6 are a basic requirement.

Selection among applicants meeting the requirements is made with reference to written application including curriculum vitae, copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, one copy of the dessertation for masters or undergraduate degree, a list of at least two references familiar with the applicant’s qualifications, certified knowledge of the English language and an interview.

Please observe that applicant/s chosen to participate in an interview shall hand in certified true copies of certificates, diplomas and transcripts from previous studies at an internationally recognized higher education institution (university or university college) and transcripts in connection to the interview. If the applicant is a foreign citizen we require a certified copy of the page in your apssport with your personal data and phograghy.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programmes in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science and landscape architecture.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala.

SLU is an equal opportunity employer.

Contact person

Sharon Hill


+46 40-415379, +46 707-726394

Read the job description at the university homepage


Post expires on Friday February 1st, 2019