A six-month Masters internship is available in the Microbiota of Insect Vectors Lab at Institut Pasteur de la Guyane in 2019-2020 to study the effect of microbiota composition on physiology in mosquitoes.
Our lab investigates the role of mosquito microbiota on host physiology and disease transmission. The microbiota composition of field mosquitoes has a low diversity, usually dominated by 3-4 bacterial species, and it is not random as some bacteria frequently co-occur in a same individual while others never do. Thus, our working hypothesis is that a few typical microbiota compositions can be defined in mosquitoes. As microbiota composition is very different in field-collected and in laboratory-reared mosquitoes, we are developing a more relevant lab mosquito model, where adult mosquitoes are colonized with isolates of bacteria that frequently co-occur within field-collected individuals.
As part of this project, you will investigate different aspects of the physiology and immunity of mosquitoes in three conditions of microbiota composition. You will have the opportunity to get trained on several techniques:
- microbiology (culture and co-culture of bacteria, work in a sterile environment);
- mosquito rearing in both non-sterile and sterile conditions;
- molecular biology (nucleic acid extraction, PCR, qRT-PCR);
- fluorescence microscopy;
- biochemistry (protein quantification, enzymatic activity assays);
- field work for mosquito collection may be proposed depending on the student’s specific interests.
Our team is composed by four people: Mathilde Gendrin (group leader), Ottavia Romoli (postdoc), Katy Heu (Research Assistant) and Claes Schönbeck (technician). The lab is located in “Vectopôle Amazonien Émile Abonnenc”, a state-of-the art entomology facility encompassing a BSL3 insectary for mosquito infections. This facility is equipped for common insectary work and molecular biology analyses. It also includes a BSL2 room allocated to the work on cultured microbiota and on sterilely-maintained mosquitoes.
Institut Pasteur de la Guyane is located in Cayenne, French Guiana, an oversea region of France. It provides in-campus accommodation (8 €/night for students) and a 560 €/month studentship to Masters students.
To register your interest
Please send your CV and motivation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. The motivation letter should explicit how your curriculum matches this project and should give emphasis on some questions that you would more specifically like to address within the proposed project.