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Research Assistant - Project: linking host behaviour & pathogen transmission in Japanese and Rhesus macaques

Hiring Organization:
University of Kyoto Primate Research Institute

Date Posted:

Position Description:
We are seeking a research assistant (RA) to assist in data collection and analysis in a postdoctoral project investigating links between host behaviour and simian foamy virus (SFV) and E. coli transmission in Japanese and Rhesus macaques. The project is in collaboration with Dr. Andrew MacIntosh and Dr. Munehiro Okamoto of the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute (KUPRI), in Inuyama in Japan. The position is initially for 3 months, beginning as soon as possible after 1st of April 2018 (start date flexible but RA desired by the start of May). According to the progress of the project, and the performance and wishes of the assistant, it may be extended.
The RA will be mainly based in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, at KUPRI. Inuyama is situated in the countryside near Nagoya. It has beautiful surroundings, a famous very old original castle and easy connections to Kyoto, Tokyo and other parts of Japan. The RA will help in collecting behavioural, fecal & saliva samples on two groups of macaques housed at the Institute. Behavioural observations are done from platforms above the enclosures, from 8am to 4-5pm. Saliva is collected in two fashions: either the monkeys voluntarily come and chew at cotton ropes embedded in an apparatus in their inside enclosure (to be developed), or collection is done during health checks whenever they happen in collaboration with the veterinarian and keeper team. Feces might be collected opportunistically when inside the enclosures, if possible, or during health checks as well.
Tasks will mostly include: conducting behavioural observations of the 120 or so monkeys and collecting and processing biological samples for genetic analyses. This last task will take most of the time and requirement of this position. It includes extracting DNA/RNA, conducting PCRs, sequencing PCR products, and analysing genetic sequences. It will be a substantial amount of lab work, meaning time spent inside at a lab bench. This is an excellent opportunity to gain further experience in a multidisciplinary and international project in Japan, at a leading research institution.

Specific skills/interests required: genetic, molecular biology, bioinformatics specific to genetic analysis, ethology, primatology, behavioural ecology.

The assistant is required:
- To have good knowledge in genetic and molecular biology as well as in behavioral ecology. Previous experience in a genetic or molecular biology lab, either as a student, intern or technician, is essential. Strong interest in animal social behaviour and primate biology is appreciated.
- A background in molecular biology, ethology, ecology, behavioural ecology, primatology and related field is preferred.
- Experience abroad, i.e. outside of the home country, is also non-negligible. Speaking English is mandatory, while Japanese ability can be a plus but is not required.
- To feel comfortable standing for long hours on a platform, rain or shine, to observe the behaviour of monkeys.
- To be familiar with working in a lab (handling equipment, chemicals and so on) and analysing genetic data.
- To have a positive and flexible attitude toward challenges and to be able to communicate openly.
- To be able to work in a team and independently at the same time.
- To be able to spend time away from family and friends.

None (but see support)

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
We will provide support for domestic transportation to/from the institute, as well as a monthly stipend of approximately ¥90,000 (Japanese yen) to cover food, lodging and other expenses. The assistant is required to take care of his/her own transportation to/from Japan, health insurance, and visa (if necessary; administrative support will be offered in the case that a visa is required). Upon satisfactory work, the flight to/from Japan might be partially reimbursed.

Term of Appointment:
initially 3 months (possible extension) starting as early as early April

Application Deadline:
Application will be received until position is filled. Anticipated start is between early April and early May

If interested, please send by email a CV and a cover letter describing your background, experience and motivation to join the project. Also provide the names and contact information (including email addresses and phone numbers) of two academic or professional references who can attest to your qualifications.

Contact Information:
Dr. Julie Duboscq
Kyoto University Primate Research Institute, CICASP, Kanrin 41-2
Inuyama 484-8506


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