PhD Position: Mathematical modelling of evolutionary transitions

A three year PhD position is available to work with Dr Andrew Black on modelling the very early stages of the evolution of multicellular organisms from unicellular ancestors.

The evolution of multicellularity is just one of the so called major transitions in evolution. These transitions are responsible for building the nested hierarchy we see in biology today and the creation of new levels of biological organisation. However the early stages of this particular transition are poorly understood, especially how early groups of cells came to possess Darwinian characteristics, such as reproduction and heritability, that then allows natural selection to act on them. In modelling this phenomena, the challenge is that basic concepts that we normally rely on when doing evolutionary analysis, such as reproduction, now must themselves be explained, rather than being assumed in the model.

The project will involve building stochastic models of these systems and analysing them using a variety of analytic and computational techniques. Applicants require a background in Applied Mathematics, Theoretical Physics or related disciplines with a preference to candidates with knowledge of stochastic processes and modelling. Some knowledge of mathematical biology would also be beneficial, but not required.

The Scholarship is for three years with a stipend of $26,288 per annum. As it is funded by the ARC, the position is open to both Australians and international students.

If you have any questions, please contact me

Details of how to apply can be found at:

Job location: 
School of Mathematical Sciences
University of Adelaide
Adelaide SA 5005
Contact and application information
Monday, October 3, 2016
Contact name: 
Andrew Black