PhD Position available

 sarcoptes scabiei and black bear ecology


Are you interested in Black Bear Ecology and Ectoparasites? 

Dr. Erika Machtinger’s new laboratory at Penn State University (Department of Entomology) has a PhD position available. The lab is broadly interested in arthropod pests affecting the health and well-being of vertebrate animals, with a focus on vectors and zoonotic disease. Projects include work with arthropods affecting both livestock and wildlife, and incorporate field experiments, behavior analyses, chemical ecology, modeling approaches, molecular biology.

         The Veterinary Entomology Laboratory at Penn State University is seeking a highly motivated PhD student to study arthropod pests of black bear in Pennsylvania. The student will be conducting both basic and applied research on black bear behavior in relation to mange, ticks, and lice. The successful applicant will investigate the interaction of mange infection in black bears and subsequent treatment, as well as determining mange risk in the environment. The work will involve capture and monitoring of black bears with GPS collars and trail cameras, collecting samples off hunter killed bears, and sampling for Sarcoptes scabiei in the environment, including bear dens.  Students will have opportunities to be involved with other projects related to veterinary pests as well. The student is expected to publish both scientific articles as well as Extension publications. Field and laboratory work is expected in Pennsylvania, and the candidate must be able to work long and sometimes unusual hours outside during both summer and winter months, depending on trapping and sampling requirements. Please not that the PhD position is in the Department of Entomology, University Park, PA and the successful applicant will receive a PhD in entomology.

          Requirements: A valid driver’s license; MS degree in entomology, biology, ecology, wildlife conservation, or a related field; experience working under field conditions; and fluency in English. Preference will be given to applicants with: previous large mammal trapping experience, strong statistical and geospatial skills (e.g., occupancy modeling, ArcGIS, etc), strong skills in study and sampling design; skills in data management and data management tools (e.g., Access database design and use); excellent work ethic and ability to plan and work independently; excellent references; strong college GPA and GRE scores.

          Applicants should email the following materials as a single PDF file to Dr. Erika T. Machtinger ( with the file name: lastname_blackbear, (a) one page cover letter describing relevant experience and professional goals, (b) a curriculum vitae, (c) GRE scores, (d) (unofficial) transcripts from undergraduate and graduate education, and (e) contact information for three professional references (include current email and phone number). The position is expected to start in the Spring or Summer 2018.  Consideration of interested applicants will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

          More information regarding the Department of Entomology can be found here.  Please email Dr. Machtinger with any questions.