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University of Antwerp (Belgium): PhD Student in Functional Morphology/ Horse Biomech

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  • University of Antwerp (Belgium): PhD Student in Functional Morphology/ Horse Biomech

    The fossil horse sequence is a popular example of a phylogenetic pattern resulting from the evolutionary process. However, the seemingly transitional stages are actually derived from a scattered sampling of horse fossils within the multi-branched horse evolutionary tree. The current hypothesis is that the reduction in the number of digits was necessary for the cursorial lifestyle of today’s horses.
    This project proposes to perform detailed comparative research on horses and their extant relatives. By studying donkeys, zebras, horses and the closely related rhinoceros and tapir, we will detect evolutionary patterns within this group. By studying how the animals move combined with a detailed study of the limb anatomy of the same species, we aim at providing insights in the mechanisms behind the reduction in digital number. Depending on the candidate’s interest, emphasis can be shifted to gait analysis of living representatives, geometric morphometrics in a phylogenetic context or to musculoskeletal modeling.

    The Biology Department of the University of Antwerp (Belgium) has a fully funded PhD position available to work in the field of Functional Morphology.

    Profile and requirements
    • You hold a master degree in Biology, Movement Sciences, Kinesiology, Biomechanics, Veterinary sciences, biomedical engineering or a related field;
    • You can submit outstanding academic results;
    • Also students in the final year of their degree can apply;
    • Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply;
    • Any research experience in gait analysis, geometric morphometrics, phylogenetic analyses, comparative anatomy or musculoskeletal modeling is considered a plus;

    We offer
    • A doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, with the renewal for another two-year period after positive evaluation;
    • The start date of scholarship will be October 1st 2013, November 1st 2013, December 1st 2013 or January 1st 2014;
    • A monthly grant amount ranging from € 2.124,11 - € 2.265,67;

    Applications may only be submitted online using this link:, until the closing date August 11th 2013;
    A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications. The interviews (either live or over skype) will take place from August 19th until September 13th 2013;
    For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Dr. Sandra Nauwelaerts at ;