The Laboratory of Microbial Ecology of Processes and Bioinspirative Management in Heverlee (Leuven, Belgium) offers a research position in chemical ecology and biological pest control to a PhD student, with a contract of 1 year, starting on December 1, 2019, and extendable to 3 years.
In previous work, it was found that microorganisms, including yeasts and bacteria, can produce a wide diversity of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that affect insect behavior. While some compounds are attractive to insects, others may be repellent. For this project, a dynamic and highly motivated PhD student is sought to conduct innovative scientific research in the field of chemical ecology and integrated pest management (IPM). More specifically, the objective is to improve the biological control of aphids in economically important fruits and vegetables through the use of microbial attractants and repellents to improve existing monitoring systems and the development of a novel and innovative management strategy.
The specific objectives of the project are:
- the selection of microorganisms for the production of effective attractants and insect repellents;
- optimization of existing surveillance systems through the use of microbial attractants;
- the development of a feeding device that attracts insects and uses microbial attractants to attract natural enemies;
- the development of a food quality control system.
The doctoral study will be carried out within the framework of a multipartite project called “BIOTRACT” in which the following partners participate: KU Leuven, Research Centre for Fruit Growing (Sint-Truiden), Hoogstraten Research Centre (Meerle) and Research Station for Plant Production (Sint-Katelijne-Waver). The research activities will lead to a series of scientific articles and a PhD in Technological Engineering. The research will be carried out under the supervision of Professors Bart Lievens and Hans Jacquemyn. Both have a lot of experience in high quality doctoral research. The selected candidate will be part of an international research team and will have the opportunity to collaborate with expert researchers in the field of microbiology, chemical ecology and biological pest control from our own university and from other universities and research institutes, as well as with undergraduate and graduate students and companies.
Biological Sciences; Engineering; Others
Master’s degree in engineering, bioengineering, biology or equivalent.
Excellent level of English.
Driving licence B.
Ability to give classes and international conferences.
Ability to supervise theses of other students.
September 30, 2019