The overall objective of the PhD project is to improve quality in identification of traded plant wildlife using molecular barcoding. The project aims to develop tools and reference libraries for accurate species identification of traded plant material such as roots, powders and mixtures, using both standard and experimental DNA barcoding markers; and to use next generation sequencing for the identification of individual ingredients in processed products such as powders and mixtures. The project will look specifically at the regional and international trade of wild harvested medicinal plants and orchids in/and from Tanzania. In addition to the objectives above the project aims to conduct quantitative investigations of wild-harvested traditional herbal medicines to identify diversity and volumes of medicinal plants traded in Tanzania. Surveys to monitor the chain of commercialization will give insights into the processing, collection, identification and availability of plant species traded. The project includes fieldwork in Tanzania, studying herbarium collections in Leiden and St. Louis, and molecular lab work in Uppsala and Leiden, as well as phylogenetic analyses and taxonomical studies. The student is expected to follow appropriate courses in systematics theory and practice, including molecular barcoding, next generation sequencing, phylogenetics, bioinformatics, statistics, taxonomy, ethnobotany, participate in the research school in biosystematics (ForBio), and have no moral objections to carry out experiments with zebrafish embryo’s.
-The applicant should have a Master of Science degree in Biology or similar qualification – A strong academic record and training in molecular barcoding, quantitative ethnobotany, systematics, or molecular sequence analyses is preferable. -The project will require an independent and dedicated person, proficient in both written and spoken English. She/he should be able to work well as part of a team but also independently; -be flexible and willing to travel for field and labwork; -and have excellent communication and reporting skills. -In filling this position the university aims to recruit the person who, in the combined evaluation of competence, skills and documented qualifications, is judged most suitable to carry out and develop the work-in-hand and to contribute to a positive development of the department.