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Max-Planck-Insti­tut für Infek­ti­ons­bio­lo­gie - Infek­ti­ons­bio­lo­gie

Die grund­le­gende Erfor­schung von Infek­ti­ons­pro­zes­sen steht am MPIIB im Fokus.

Mas­ter’s thesis in Com­pu­ta­tional Bio­logy (m/w/d)


Working field:

At the research unit of Vec­tor Bio­logy, we explore the role of mos­quito bio­logy in reg­u­lat­ing the devel­op­ment of mal­aria para­sites. Anopheles mos­qui­toes become infec­ted with mal­aria-caus­ing para­sites upon blood feed­ing in an infec­ted human host. Within the mos­quito, the para­sites undergo sev­eral devel­op­mental stages until they can be trans­mit­ted to another human. In this sense, the mos­quito acts as a vec­tor for the para­site. The dur­a­tion of this pro­cess, known as sporo­gony, is around 10-13 days. This is a slow pro­cess com­pared to the life expect­ancy of the mos­qui­toes, which is estim­ated to be about 14 days. There­fore, reg­u­la­tion of sporo­gony time-scale is cru­cial to determ­ine the trans­mis­sion prob­ab­il­ity of the para­site to the next mam­mal host.

Recently, a mech­an­istic math­em­at­ical model describ­ing sporo­gony was developed and fit­ted to data from A. steph­ensi, the main mal­arian vec­tor in south-east Asia. In this pro­ject, your role will be to test whether this model is gen­eral enough to describe the sporo­gonic pro­cess in A. coluzzi, one of the major vec­tors in sub-Saha­ran Africa, and one of the prin­cipal spe­cies we use in the Vec­tor Bio­logy Unit. You will start by study­ing the fea­tures of the model. Then you will review the obser­va­tional data that our lab has col­lec­ted in the past. Finally, you will develop the model fur­ther to include rel­ev­ant envir­on­mental and pop­u­la­tion dynam­ics factors. The model will serve to pre­dict the spread of mal­aria in real pop­u­la­tions and to test meas­ures to con­tain its spread.


  • Good know­ledge of ODE and stochastic mod­els
  • Strong pro­gram­ming skills in Python or R
  • Interest in work­ing in an inter­dis­cip­lin­ary team
  • Good Eng­lish know­ledge
  • Abil­ity to work inde­pend­ently
  • Bach­elor degree
  • Enrolled at a Ger­man uni­versity

What we offer:

This pos­i­tion is without remu­ner­a­tion

How to apply:

In case of interest, please send an email includ­ing your CV and stat­ing your interest to until Octo­ber 31, 2021.