PhD scholarship within Infection Biology – Host-pathogen interactions in acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome in dogs


About the position

The Bacteriology and Mycology Unit and the Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD–position related to Infection Biology.

In August and September 2019, an increase in cases of Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome (AHDS) in dogs in Southeastern Norway was observed. A range of possible infectious causes, as well as intoxication, were ruled out based on clinical and pathological findings, microbiological culture and molecular diagnostics. To date, the only common observation is the high prevalence of Providencia alcalifaciens, often in co-presence with Clostridium perfringens.

During the offered 3-year project “Host-pathogen interactions in acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome in dogs” financed by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at NMBU, the PhD candidate will study predisposing factors of AHDS in dogs by following up the canine patients from fall 2019 and comparing them to healthy dogs. The PhD candidate will study host-pathogen interactions of P. alcalifaciens in single infection and possibly co-infection with C. perfringens in canine intestinal epithelial cells (cIECs) to characterize invasiveness and the role of cytolethal distending toxin (CDT). Part of the cell line work will be conducted during a research stay in the United Kingdom.

This project is part of the recently established AHDS research group – a collaborative effort between the pre-, paraclinical and clinical departments at NMBU and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute.

Main tasks

  • Clinical follow-up of AHDS patients from fall 2019 with questionnaires from the same patient group and healthy control dogs and assessment of the prevalence of P. alcalifaciens.
  • Selection of relevant study strains of P. alcalifaciens based on existing whole genome sequence data.
  • Selection of relevant study strains of C. perfringens based on genotyping results of toxin genes.
  • Assessment of invasiveness and definition of roles of CDT of P. alcalifaciens in cIECs.
  • Determining the suitability of cIECs to study co-infection of P. alcalifaciens and C. perfringens.
  • Compulsory training covering a minimum of 30 ECTS credits in accordance with regulations on the PhD degree at NMBU. The education must be in line with international standards, with the completion of a scientific work, training in professional dissemination and introduction to research ethics, science theory and method of science.
  • Successful completion of a mid-term evaluation and mid-term course.
  • The PhD student will learn to plan experiments, analyze and interpret results and present the results for international publication. Three international peer-reviewed publications will be prepared.

Qualification requirements, desired experiences, knowledge and personal qualities

The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description.

The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description.

Required Academic qualifications

  • Degree in Veterinary Medicine eligible for Norwegian veterinary authorization or equivalent biological degree with strong background in clinical microbiology
  • Proficiency in English, both written and spoken (please see English language requirements in PhD regulations at NMBU).
  • The following experiences and skills will be favored:
  • Strong interest in canine diseases and microbiology
  • Previous laboratory and research experience including bacteriological culture and/or cell culture is an advantage
  • Previous experience in small animal clinical practice is an advantage

You need to have:

  • Interest in research and high motivation
  • Ability to collaborate, but also work independently
  • Strong communication and cooperation skills
  • Proficiency in a Scandinavian language, both written and spoken


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the ‘Apply for this job’ button above. This will route you to the University’s Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 05.05.2020

Applications should include (electronically) a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all certified), and a list of two persons who may act as references (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses). The relevant NMBU Department may require further documentation, e.g. proof of English proficiency.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to the NMBU Veterinærhøgskolen, Postboks 369 sentrum, NO-0102 OSLO, within 05.05.2020. Please quote reference number 20/01584.

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