From Zika to wheat: Algorithms and software to help shed light into their evolution (HUBERK_U18SCI)

University of East Anglia
September 12 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (e.g. MRSA) and herbicide-resistant weeds as well as new and dangerous organisms such as the zika virus [I] poses major challenges for society ranging from public health to biodiversity protection and securing the food supply. An important stepping stone in the development of strategies to help tackle them is to understand how they have evolved. The development of powerful algorithms and software tools to describe and understand the evolution of species, populations and individuals is the main objective of the burgeoning area of phylogenetics which lies at the interface of computer science, mathematics, and molecular biology.

Firmly embedded within computer science, the PhD project is concerned with the development of cutting edge algorithms and software for phylogenetic network reconstruction (essentially rooted directed acyclic graphs) [ii] and thus is a software engineering project in nature. It combines elements from e.g. graph theory and combinatorics with the expertise of the primary supervisor (see e.g. [iii] - [v] and, more generally, the supervisor's website in phylogenetic network reconstruction to obtain powerful software solutions capable of dealing with big data. The successful applicant will have a good background in computer science or a related area. Biological knowledge is however not required.

Informal enquiries concerning the project are welcomed by the primary supervisor (

Funding notes

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Science competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise home/EU fees, an annual stipend of £14,553 and £1000 per annum to support research training. Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (in 2017/18 the difference is £13,805 for the Schools of CHE ,PHA & MTH(Engineering), and £10,605 for CMP & MTH but fees are subject to an annual increase)


Interviews will be held w/c 22 January 2018.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess