Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), are considered an endangered species due to continuous reduction by poaching and habitat destruction. Moreover they are susceptible to the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus, that can cause acute, haemorrhagic disease (EEHV-HD), which is mostly fatal in young Asian elephants between 1 and 8 years of age. It has been the largest cause of deaths in Asian elephants in the last decades. African elephants may also be affected by the virus, but generally to a lesser extent. A vaccine or effective antiviral treatment is currently not available.
An urgent need to develop an effective preventive as well as therapeutic treatment of EEHV-HD clearly exists. Whereas development of an EEHV vaccine remains the ultimate goal, immune(suppressive) and/or anti-viral therapies to treat or prevent any acute cases of EEHV are also essential. To meet these long-term as well as short-term goals, we need to increase our understanding of the virus and the disease. To do so, we aim to develop novel research methodologies, starting with relevant diagnostic tools to study pathogenesis and epidemiology of EEHV. The research will be conducted at the Virology and Immunology Divisions of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University. The project is supported by “Friends of Vet Med”, the charity fund of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic Postdoc researcher with a broad interest in all aspects of infection biology, and with hands-on experience in molecular biology and immunology laboratory techniques. The candidate should have good communication skills, a flexible attitude, and enjoy working in a multidisciplinary team. The candidate is expected to also assist in fundraising endeavours as conducted by “Friends of Vet Med”. Preferentially the applicant holds a PhD degree in Infection and Immunity, Veterinary Medicine, Animal Sciences or Biology.