Project properties

Title Comparing mice and voles: Immune function of mice and voles in relation to ticks and infection with Borrelia burgdorferi s.l.
Group Wildlife Ecology and Conservation group
Project type thesis
Credits 36
Supervisor(s) Kevin Matson
Examiner(s) F. van Langevelde
Contact info;
Begin date 2017/07/01
End date 2022/12/31
Description Yearly, approximately 25.000 people are diagnosed with Lyme borreliosis in the Netherlands. Lyme borreliosis is caused by a bacterial complex Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. transmitted by ticks. In the Netherlands, the main cause for human infection is the genospecies Borrelia afzelii, which is transmitted by the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus), and maintained in natural cycles by small rodents such as the bank vole (Myodes glareolus) and wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus). These two species differ in the amount of ticks they carry, and in their ability to transmit B. afzelii to uninfected ticks. In this project we will compare tick burdens and infection with B. afzelii with several immunological parameters. We will be one of the first to combine ecological immunology with parasite and pathogen burden in natural hosts.

This project will be a collaboration between Wageningen University and the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM). The field work and immunological assays will be performed in the Netherlands. If you want to know more about this project, please contact Kevin Matson.

[small mammals] [mammal] [field work] [physiology] [immunology] [ecology] [animal] [animals] [miscellaneous] [Netherlands] [laboratory] [disease ecology] [disease] [ecoimmunology] [physiology] [ecophysiology] [antibodies] [life history] [reservoir competence]
Used skills Field work (e.g. small mammal trapping), basic lab techniques (pipetting), more advanced lab techniques (can be learned during project), desk-top study, analysing data using R, etc.
Requirements Available for fieldwork in late summer period.

Basic and/or advanced statistics (e.g., minimum Ecological Methods 1); familiarity with and interest in field work and laboratory techniques, possible travel to University of Groningen and/or Amsterdam Medical Center for some lab work.