Ambitious Postdoctoral Epidemiologist/Biostatistician/Health Economist/Geographer wanted for cutting-edge HIV research (4 posts)

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We invite applications from ambitious postdoctoral epidemiologists, biostatisticians, health economists or geographers to join Professor Tanser’s research group at Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa. Training involves research in a mentored environment in the areas of population health, epidemiology, and behavioural science for cutting-edge HIV research in South Africa.

The successful candidates will have access to one of the largest ongoing population-based HIV cohorts in the world – the Africa Health Research Institute’s population cohort in rural KwaZulu-Natal, which includes over 90,000 individuals, with individual-level sociodemographic, biological, and clinical record data as well as comprehensive genomics data.

The projects will leverage the institute’s existing big data infrastructure, next generation viral gene sequencing platform, comprehensive geographical information system as well as the recently established research platform for tracking individual mobility patterns via smartphones and other on-going projects.

POSITION AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

Epidemiologist/Biostatistician x1

The fellowship project aims to:

  1. Understand behavioural and biological causal pathways through which high antiretroviral therapy coverage reduces HIV incidence at the population level
  2. To establish the determinants of HIV mortality in the area of widespread ART availability

The fellow will be expected to apply advanced epidemiological and statistical analytical techniques to lead and assist the project aims.

Geographer/Epidemiologist x 2

The fellowship project aims to understand the complex relationships and underlying mechanisms that place young adults at the highest risk of HIV acquisition, HIV transmission and treatment failure by harnessing population-level data linked to big-data sets involving innovative big-data science approaches. The project has four clear aims:

  1. Use big-data analytical approaches to elucidate the complex and interrelated factors that place young adults at high risk of HIV acquisition
  2. Use machine learning algorithms to identify the constellation of factors that place HIV infected young adults at high risk of non-linkage to HIV care, treatment interruption, and viral non-suppression
  3. Use deep sequence viral phylogenetic analysis to quantify patterns of intra- and extra-household transmission of HIV in relation to high resolution mobility patterns
  4. Design and pilot a smart-phone intervention using real-time, precision messaging targeting those at high risk of acquisition and transmission of infection. The fellow will be expected to apply advanced epidemiology and geospatial analysis techniques to lead and assist the project aims.

Health Economist x 1

The fellowship project aims to understand the cost effectiveness of the HITS trial (Home-based Intervention to Test and Start) – a cluster-randomized controlled trial to reduce HIV-related mortality in men and HIV incidence in women through increased coverage of HIV Treatment. The primary aim of the HITS trial is to establish whether (i) the provision of two micro-incentives and (ii) a male-sensitive and HIV-specific decision support app will reduce population-level HIV viral load and HIV-related mortality in men as well as population-level HIV incidence in young women. The fellow will apply advanced health economic analytical techniques to lead and assist quantifying the cost effectiveness of the trial.  Other areas of focus may include the design and evaluation of health system interventions, cost-effectiveness analysis and resource allocation of other on-going interventions at AHRI , mathematical modelling to improve resource utilization, or the application of behavioural economic methods.

The successful candidates will be mentored by Prof Tanser and other leading scientists and Faculty Members at AHRI, who commonly publish in some of the top journals in the field (Science, Nature and Lancet). Successful candidates will receive a generous tax-free stipend for two years. Once appointed, the successful candidates will be supported to apply for externally funded personal fellowships and grants and develop collaborations/skills for their career development.

Candidates will be based at our state-of-the-art laboratories in the beautiful city of Durban, which is a sub-tropical city on the Indian Ocean coast of South Africa, with support for flexibility of travel.

The minimum qualifications and experience required for these research posts are:

  • PhD in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, Econometrics, Mathematical Modelling, Spatial Analytics or a closely related quantitative field
  • Several high-quality publications as a first author
  • Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team

How to apply

To apply, email a detailed CV, cover letter indicating the position you are applying for and a research statement describing your research interests to Thulile Mathenjwa at thulile.mathenjwa@ahri.org before 31 July 2019.

For more information you can contact Prof. Tanser at frank.tanser@ahri.org.

AHRI reserves the right not to make an appointment. Please consider your application unsuccessful if you have not been contacted within four weeks of the closing date.