From pregnancy to lactation: metabolic and immune challenges for dairy cows and newborn calves

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Animal Science programme. The position is available from 1 August 2018 or later.


Title:
From pregnancy to lactation: metabolic and immune challenges for dairy cows and newborn calves


Research area and project description:
The period between late pregnancy, defined as the last two months before calving, and the first month of lactation is a challenging time for both dairy cows and newborn dairy calves. The PhD project will be structured within two research topics both related to the metabolic and immune status in dairy cows and the newborn calves:

Topic 1: Metabolic and immune challenges in the transition dairy cow

The transition from pregnancy to lactation is the most challenging and critical period in relation to the dairy cow's health status and milk performance. Major physiological, nutritional, metabolic, and immunological changes take place due to the onset of milk secretion, concomitantly with parturition. The metabolic load makes cows susceptible to production diseases such as metritis, ketosis, mastitis, or hypocalcemia during the transition period, which in addition decreases milk production. Therefore, research on nutrition and management strategies is necessary in order to compensate or improved the metabolic and immune status of these animals during this challenging period.

Topic 2: Colostrum quality and dairy calves immune system and performance

Calves are born with an undeveloped immune system, which makes those animals susceptible to infectious diseases. In these animals, colostrum is the only supply of immunoglobulins, which will protect the animal during the first weeks of life. Therefore, colostrum of low quality and inappropriate timing of feeding may have a direct impact on the development of the immune system, which in long term will affect the susceptibility of infectious diseases and therefore health status of dairy calves. Raising healthy calves is a key component of achieving future high productivity and increasing the lifetime performance of dairy cows.

This project will have an important impact not only in the scientific community but also in the farmers and consumers, as the use of drugs and antibiotics in animal production will be reduced.

We seek for an enthusiastic candidate with passion for science. We expect that the PhD project will lead to several publications in relevant peer-review international journals.


Qualifications and specific competences:

Required:

·         Relevant Master’s degree

·         Excellent verbal and writing skills in English with very good communication skills.

·         Experience with dairy ruminants


Preferred:

·         Experience in either colostrum and immune system development in ruminants

and/or

·         Experience in lactation physiology

and/or

·         Experience in dairy ruminants nutrition.

·         Hands on ruminant feeding trials

·         Demonstration of research activities (conference or journal papers)


Place of Employment and Place of Work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is at the Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University-Foulum, Blichers Alle 20 , DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark. 


Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Mogens Larsen. Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University-Foulum, Blichers Alle 20, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.  Email: mogens.larsen@anis.au.dk  

Lorenzo E. Hernández Castellano. Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University-Foulum, Blichers Alle 20, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.  Email: lhc@anis.au.dk


Application procedures


Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at Graduates School of Science and Technology is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” is documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From August call 2019, GSST no longer accepts the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. You must request that the test centre send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to sphd@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at Aarhus University for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants able to document that English was the language of instruction during the whole period of their Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programme. This must be documented by uploading an official document from the institution stating this under “language skills documentation”. The onus is on the applicant to provide this information as GSST will not pursue information regarding language of instruction for any programmes or institutions.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to http://talent.au.dk/phd/scienceandtechnology/opencalls/
Choose May 2018 Call with deadline 1 May 2018 at 11.59 PM MET.
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Animal Science'

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: " From pregnancy to lactation: metabolic and immune challenges for dairy cows and newborn calves "
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

Please note that all information in the application must be in Danish or English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts and diploma(s)
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found.  Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed. The e-mail will also include a link to the application – GSST urges you to check that all mandatory data, marked with an asterisk (*), is registered correctly and all attached files are readable. In case of significant errors, you should reply to the confirmation e-mail with the correct details before the application deadline.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST application guide here  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • The project will only be initiated if final funding (from GSST/the faculty) is secured.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.