Postdoctoral positions open in malaria microsimulation


The Boni Lab in the Department of Biology at The Pennsylvania State University is recruiting highly-motivated postdoctoral scholars to work on several key public health questions using large-scale individual-based malaria simulations.   Our lab’s research interests can be seen here and here.   Positions can begin anytime in 2017.

Our lab is based at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at the Pennsylvania State University (University Park Campus), and we collaborate with partners based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit.   The postdoctoral scholar(s) will be funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Malaria Modeling Consortium (MMC), and the research will be integrated into MMC activities that currently include five institutions: Penn State, Institute for Disease Modeling, Oxford, Swiss Tropical Institute, and Imperial College.   The first malaria questions to be investigated will be whether (a) the deployment of multiple first-line antimalarial therapies delays the onset of drug resistance, and (b) whether delaying drug resistance benefits other malaria control strategies.

The background for aim (a) is described in this 2008 paper in PNAS and this 2015 paper in Lancet Global Health.   The analysis for aim (b) is still to be developed.   Software development for the malaria microsimulation began in 2010 and the current version of the C++ source code can be found here.   The main goals of this project will be to continue development and validation of the malaria microsimulation, in order to (1) add detailed geographic structure and create scenarios where the simulation can be run as a ‘country model’, with the first countries of interest being Cambodia, Zambia, and Uganda; (2) add more detailed pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics models that are more representative of the true action of drugs on parasites; (3) determine how best to prepare for an event where artemisinin-resistant malaria parasites are introduced into Africa, where hundreds of millions of people rely on life-saving artemisinin drugs; (4) optimize the future introduction of antimalarial drugs that will be available after 2020.

Candidates are encouraged to apply if they are interested in these questions and interested in developing their own new directions in the computational epidemiology of malaria.   The position requires strong knowledge of the C++ programming language.   The position requires a PhD in one of Ecology, Evolution, Computational Epidemiology, Mathematical Modeling, Population Genetics, Bioinformatics, Applied Mathematics, or a related field.   The ideal candidate will have experience in one or more mathematical modeling methods.   Complementary expertise in epidemiology, ecology, or immunology may also be helpful but is not required.   Excellent communication skills, including writing, are required, as is a strong publication record.   Applications must be submitted electronically.   A complete application should include a cover letter detailing experience and research interests, a current CV, and contact information for three professional references.   Review of applications will begin immediately and be ongoing in 2017.

Applicants should apply for the post at the PSU Jobs website:

If you are a potential PhD student interested in this work, please write us.