Assistant Professor Microbiologist/Virologist Position at Rutgers

Assistant Professor – Microbiology/Virology:  Applications for a tenure-track assistant professor position in the Rutgers University Department of Entomology/Center for Vector Biology are invited. The position will be 70% research and 30% teaching with a joint appointment in the Entomology and Microbiology Departments. The successful applicant will develop a nationally and internationally recognized program focusing on the biology, ecology and epidemiology of emerging arthropod-borne diseases to reduce their public health impact. Rutgers is a major research university, and competition for funds from external sources such as the state of New Jersey, NIH, Gates Foundation, CDC, USDA, NSF, and EPA is expected.   The successful candidate will interact closely with faculty in the Center for Vector Biology, Entomology Department and Microbiology Departments as well as multidisciplinary working groups in other centers and departments at Rutgers University with a shared interest in emerging infectious disease, climate change, surveillance, host-pathogen coevolution, vector management, diagnostics, risk modeling, and bioterrorism issues. The successful candidate will also be expected to take a leadership role in interactions with the core public health functions of the medical school and the New Jersey Department of Health, as well as communicate with key stakeholder groups as needed. The successful applicant will teach and contribute to teaching graduate and undergraduate courses, particularly infectious disease topics which enhance cooperation with the medical school (e.g., arbovirology, epidemiology, pathogen ecology) and direct undergraduate and graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows. Participation in departmental and University committees and assistance in undergraduate and graduate curriculum development is expected.

SALARY AND BENEFITS: Academic Rank: Assistant Professor (10 month, tenure track).  Salary is highly competitive and commensurate with education and experience.  Excellent personal benefits package is provided, including one month of annual leave per year, health insurance, life insurance, retirement program, and other institutional benefits.

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: Candidates must have a Ph.D. in entomology, microbiology or related area from an accredited institution. Excellent communication, interpersonal skills are desired. Knowledge of arbovirology, epidemiology, pathogen ecology desired.

Application Procedure:  Applications will be accepted until April 15, 2016. Send your letter of application, curriculum vitae, personal statement and the names and addresses of four references electronically or by mail to:  Randy Gaugler, Distinguished Professor & Director Center for Vector Biology, 180 Jones Ave, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8536 USA (vbcenter@rci.rutgers.edu)

Multiuse Mosquito Trap

Dr. Devi Suman won the $1000 John L McColgan GraovitrapSumannt from the Northeastern Mosquito Control Association for the development of a non-lethal mosquito ovitrap. This affordable trap can add to a mosquito control agency’s ability to monitor mosquito population levels of mosquitoes, particularly container mosquitoes such as Aedes albopictus or Ae. aegypti. This lightweight trap does not require a light source and attracts not only female mosquitoes searching for a suitable place to lay eggs, but the eggs as well. Male mosquitoes will also come to the trap. Specimens are caught inside and maintained in good condition to allow molecular studies. Eggs can develop into larvae depending on how often traps are sampled. Thus, this trap can sample all aspects of population structure, is easy to use and is biodegradable.

Recent Publications

From Alexandra Villiard’s doctoral work: Villiard A and R Gaugler. 2015 Long-term effects of carbohydrate availability on mating success of newly eclosed Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) males. Journal of Medical Entomology, 52(3): 308-314, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjv030

Abstract

aedesflower

Photo by Ary Faraji (yes, it is a female albopictus)

“Sugar availability varies greatly in nature, and determining how this affects male mosquito fitness is essential for understanding population dynamics. We allowed male Aedes albopictus (Skuse) carbohydrate access for increasing intervals of time immediately after eclosion and we evaluated their fitness by comparing mortality, mating success, and sperm transfer. We compared individual male Ae. albopictus, which were offered water or 20% sucrose solution for 24, 48, or 72 h. As predicted, there were significant increases in fitness for each additional day of sucrose access. Following sugar exposure, we allowed males daily access to three virgin females. We assessed mating success through observation of spermatozoa in the female spermathecae. When individuals of the same age were compared, males with sugar access exhibited significantly greater mating success than water-treated males in all treatments. The total number of spermathecae filled by males with sugar access in the 48- and 72-h treatments was also significantly greater on some days; these were 3–5 d posteclosion in the 48-h treatment and 5–6 d posteclosion in the 72-h treatment. We conclude that extended sugar access at eclosion is important for maximizing fitness in male Ae. albopictus and should be applicable to sterile male release efforts, especially when laboratory-reared males suffered from other disadvantages. We recommend retaining adult males for 3 d posteclosion prior to release to improve their mating success in male release initiatives.”

Recent Graduates

Congratulations to Scott Crans for finishing his MS on “Spinosad: Efficacy and persistence against container-inhabiting mosquitoes” under Dr.  Robson and to Alexandra Villiard for finishing her Ph.D. on “The influence of carbohydrate requirements on Asian tiger mosquito behavior and fitness” under Dr. Gaugler.  It is always an accomplishment to finish the work and kudos on their graduation!

Drones and Mosquito Control

Video from  Facebook Site Mosquito Drones showing precise briquette application.

Drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) represent the potential for targeting precise pesticide application to specific areas, reducing exposure to non-targeted areas and overall pesticide use. Dr. Randy Gaugler is heading a project for the use of UAVs for more precise pest control. These areas, often in large swamp or saltmarsh topographies, can represent significant costs to mosquito control programs when traditional methods of application are used, including aircraft and pilots. But UAVs can potentially eliminate much of that cost. Dr. Gaugler says “…when Greg Williams brought multi-rotors to my attention, particularly their ability to fly autonomous missions, I saw the potential for precision mosquito control. Small, agile, inexpensive, fully autonomous, easy to program missions, low maintenance—what was not to like?”
Dr. Greg Williams is the Superintendent of the Hudson Mosquito Control agency and a CVB member. He is responsible for designing and constructing the UAVs, along with help from other Center members, including Scott Crans, Ary Faraji, Devi Suman, Ishik Unlu and Yi Wang. The project’s critical mission is to target specific areas with application technology to reduce the environmental impact as well as time and dollars involved. This technology includes a carbon fiber 850 mm hexacopter with an underwater camera for surveying mosquito larval populations, the ability to dispense liquid or briquette pesticides and the use of GPS systems to determine and record flight patterns. Flights can be autonomous through a 3DR Pixhawk autopilot. This allows mosquito control agencies more flexibility and ease of use with the UAVs with a shallower learning curve.

Island Drone Work

The Rutgers Drone Team was invited to David Copperfield’s private island for billionaires in the Bahamas (normally $54,000/day).  The team found four mosquito species on the island, listed here in order of importance:  Aedes taeniorhynchus, Psorophora johnstonii, Aedes tortillis, Culex bahamensis.  Surprisingly, no container species were found despite extensive surveillance efforts.  Key habitat was identified as limestone sinkholes and shallow rainwater pools associated with silver buttonwood trees.  A Special Topics class entitled “Tropical Pest Management” will be given on the island spring semester, headed by Profs. Gaugler & Unlu.   The drone team has been invited to return next fall to conduct further experimentation on mapping and aerial application.  All expenses are covered by Copperfield.islandtrip

The Rutgers Drone Team (l to r): Drs. Greg Williams, Randy Gaugler, and Ary Faraji.

More News from the Center

  • CVB has just received approval to initiate a search for the long desired microbiology position. More to follow.
  • The Faraji and Gaugler paper “Experimental host preference of diapause and non-diapause induced Culex pipiens pipiens” published this year in Parasites & Vectors is designated as “highly accessed” by the journal.
    • From the abstract and conclusions: “To determine the effect of diapause on the innate host preference of Cx. p. pipiens emerging from winter hibernation, we conducted host-choice experiments using bird and mammal hosts….We provide new information about the innate host preference of Cx. p. pipiens emerging from diapause in temperate habitats where winter survival is crucial for disease transmission cycles. Although we showed that Cx. p. pipiens prefers an avian to a mammalian host, nearly 20 % of emerging mosquitoes in the spring could feed on mammals. Changes in host preferences may also contain valuable clues about transmission dynamics and subsequent timely interventions by vector control and public health practitioners.”
  • CVB members Isik Unlu (Mercer Co.) and Greg Williams (Hudson Co.) were granted adjunct professor status by the Rutgers Department of Entomology.
Isik

Isik Unlu from Mercer County Mosquito Control

Greg Williams from Hudson County Mosquito Control

Greg Williams from Hudson County Mosquito Control