PhD Position Announcement

Montana State University: Ph.D. position available in Disease Ecology working on bats and viruses in Australia


The Plowright lab at Montana State University is looking for an exceptional, highly-motivated, and collaborative PhD student to work as part of an NSF-funded study of flying foxes (fruit bats) and Hendra virus in Australia. The NSF abstract can be found here.

The successful candidate will work with an international transdisciplinary team of collaborators seeking to understand how humans influence virus dynamics in bats. The student will focus on interactions between bat immune responses and environmental conditions. However, we will consider students who wish to pursue other areas of bat-virus research if they are exceptionally qualified in other areas. The PhD student will work in a team to catch and sample bats but must be prepared to lead field efforts later in the PhD.

The position will be based at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, but extended periods of fieldwork (up to a year) will be conducted in Australia. Therefore, the successful candidate must be independent, motivated, well organized and able to work well with a large team of collaborators under challenging field conditions.

Preferred qualifications include:

  • extensive field work experience
  •  immunology training
  • laboratory skills
  • good quantitative skills (e.g., statistics, programming in R)
  • excellent communication skills
  •  a strong background in ecology or disease ecology

Anticipated start date for the position is flexible but must be prior to August 2018. We will begin reviewing applications on Dec 15th and will continue to review applicants until a suitable candidate is identified. We anticipate conducting interviews in early January 2018. There is no need to apply to the MSU Graduate School or department as this application will be on a special time-line. Once selected, the student will go through a direct admission process in early 2018.

For more information about the project, contact Raina Plowright (

To apply for the position, send the following to Anna Jacobs (project manager;

  1. a CV
  2.  a summary of relevant experience
  3. a statement of research interests related to Hendra virus