Monthly Archives: April 2017

Terry’s group meeting TODAY 12pm

BMS sem rm 1

Mailing list for genomics software repository


For those of you who use the genomics software repository on iceberg (, Victor has set up a google group as a mailing list for updates about software available. You can sign up here:  join the Genomics Software Repository group.


PhD position: Novel appeasing pheromones to minimise stress & aggression, & bolster reproductive & immune function in African wild dogs

African wild dogs are highly endangered, and have a complex pack structure with separate male and female dominance hierarchies in which reproduction is typically exclusive to the alpha male and female. Current efforts to maintain genetic diversity involve translocation of live animals in both captivity and the wild; a process that involves the combination of male and female single-sex groups to form a new social pack. Due to their complex social structure, such introductions are difficult; regularly leading to aggression and injuries to the animals.
We are investigating the use of dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) to down-regulate stress & aggression associated with the formation of new packs in captivity. Our initial findings indicate that DAP may reduce baseline stress levels in females and, when applied during regrouping of same-sex individuals, results in a relative reduction in observed levels of aggression. We are also currently determining whether DAP is a useful mitigation strategy during medical interventions on individual animals within existing packs, and have recently completed a series of trials across 5 US Zoos and in situ in Namibia.

We seek a dedicated, self-driven & highly motivated student to undertake a PhD project to isolate & test the effectiveness of several novel African wild dog-specific pheromones during pack formation in both captive & wild populations (Europe & Southern Africa). Research will involve: (i) mass spectrometry/gas chromatography for pheromone isolation; (ii) comprehensive behavioural observations of dominant/ subdominant interactions and aggression in pheromone-treated African wild dogs; & (iii) non-invasive measurement of reproductive & stress hormones as well as immune markers to validate underlying beneficial physiological effects. This work forms part of a broader collaboration with the Research Institute in Semiochemistry & Applied Ethology (France), & the Wild Dog Advisory Group (South Africa).
The prospective candidate will be required to apply for one of JCU’s highly competitive PhD scholarships due ~31st August 2017 ( If successful, the awardee should look to commence the project in January 2018. Applicants should have a 1st class Honours or MSc Research Degree in a related field, demonstrate Band 2 English language proficiency, and have preferably (co)authored at least one scientific publication. Only high calibre students will be considered.

Interested individuals should email a curriculum vitae (containing a list of publications, awards & referees), as well as an academic transcript of their highest degree to

Conservation Genetics Placement- RZSS WildGenes Laboratory

Where: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s WildGenes Lab based at Edinburgh Zoo in Edinburgh, Scotland.
When: September 2017-June 2018
Researchers: Dr Gillian Murray-Dickson (supervisor), Dr Helen Senn (group lead)

Who we are: At RZSS WildGenes we conduct cutting-edge conservation genetic and genomic research on a large range of threatened taxa. Our laboratory facilities are based at Edinburgh Zoo and our projects centre on in-situ monitoring, ex-situ management, reintroduction management and control of the illegal wildlife trade. We work alongside government agencies, conservation charities and zoos across the world to deliver data, advice, training and capacity building. We are pioneering the use of genomic techniques such as ddRAD to generate high resolution data for conservation and we specialise in the analysis of non-invasive, and difficult to work with sample types.

Project description: The appointed student will undertake a research project on the conservation genetics of a threatened species. Previous students have undertaken conservation genetic research on sand cat, pygmy hippo, red-fronted gazelle and Scottish wildcat. You will also assist our team with a wide variety of duties which might range from the bio-banking of endangered species samples to sequencing of museum specimen and scoring of microsatellite and SNP markers. There will also be some opportunity to engage with science outreach and the wider work of an active conservation department. We work on a dynamic portfolio of projects, on a wide range of threatened taxa and you will be part of our team to deliver on this work.

How to apply: Please send you CV and a covering statement detailing why you would like to work with us to Senior Lab Technician Jennifer Kaden and Dr Gill Murray-Dickson .

Suitable applicants will initially be interviewed by phone and then invited to visit us at the lab (expenses covered). Please note this is an unpaid position.