New STARS PhD position open in evolutionary immunology

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doc. RNDr. Michal Vinkler, Ph.D.

Jan 13, 2024, 5:08:03 AMJan 13

Dear colleagues,


The Evolutionary and Ecological Immunology (EEI) group at the Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, is opening a four-year fully funded STARS PhD position in avian evolutionary immunology (deadline for applications: 13 March 2024).


I would be grateful if you could circulate the following advertisement at relevant fora or pass it to whom it may concern.



PhD project topic: “Does convergent evolution of molecular phenotypes shape immune responses in birds?”

Emerging diseases represent an important threat to human health. Many birds (similar to bats) are key vectors of zoonotic infections. While presently underdeveloped, evolutionary research in molecular convergence (sharing of molecular adaptations) could aid in showing zoonotic potentials in different hosts. In silico detection of convergence can predict functionally relevant sites diversifying immune genes across species. The objective of this project is to identify convergent adaptations modulating inflammatory responses to different pathogens in birds. The main aim is to provide a proof of concept by testing the functional effects of selected convergent variants on immune responsiveness (in vitro / in vivo). The applicant will resolve 3 key challenges: 1. reveal how frequent molecular convergence is across different groups of inflammatory genes; 2. in selected candidates test for the functional effects of variants on immune responsiveness; 3. identify links between specific variants and compositions of microbial communities inhabiting the hosts. By exploring their links to avian microbiota, the work will allow prediction of host-symbiont associations. The project will take the advantage of a cutting-edge multidisciplinary approach linking biodiversity-based evolutionary analysis with structural modelling, searching for predictive tools for understanding host variation in disease susceptibility.



Candidates should have a strong interest in avian evolutionary biology, immunology and molecular genetics. MSc degree in biology (immunology, zoology, genetics or related fields) and good English language skills required. For the formal requirement please check the STRAS web page (



We offer a fully funded PhD position for four years starting from 1 October 2024. The STARS program guarantees that the student will receive at least 20500 CZK/month (equivalent of cca 800 EUR/month). Additional salary can be negotiated based on skills and qualification. The PhD student will be part of a young and enthusiastic interdisciplinary team ( Despite close collaboration with several co-workers, the project allows independent intellectual input. We expect at least three articles being published in the course of the study in international peer-review journals. Active participation at international scientific conferences will be encouraged and supported.



Applications are submitted through the STARS application system ( Applications delivered via postal service or e-mail will not be considered.



For further information see the EEI group web page (, STARS web page ( and the web of the Faculty of Science, Charles University ( or contact Prof. Michal Vinkler at (no applications).


We look forward to receiving your on-line application until 13 March 2024.

Kind regards,

Michal Vinkler

Head of the Department of Zoology
Faculty of Science, Charles University
Vinicna 7, CZ 128 44 Praha 2
Czech Republic, EU

Laboratory for Evolutionary and Ecological Immunology
Animal Evolutionary Biology Unit

tel: +420221951845
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