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Analysis and design of biomolecular control systems

School of Biological Sciences

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Dr D Oyarzun No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

We are looking for an excellent doctoral student to join us on a project at the interface of mathematical modeling, systems biology & synthetic biology. The successful candidate will join the group of Dr Diego Oyarzún (, who will relocate to the University of Edinburgh in January 2019. Our group develops model-based methods applied to biotechnology ( and healthcare (, Large parts of our theoretical work are in collaboration with experimental partners in the UK, Europe and the USA.

The group will be co-located at the School of Biological Sciences and School of Informatics of the University of Edinburgh. This will give us privileged access to cutting-edge biological research at Edinburgh, as well as its world-leading expertise in machine learning and data science. Our students will benefit from this unique synergy and also enjoy the thriving ecosystem of SynthSys – the Edinburgh Centre for Systems and Synthetic Biology.

The project will focus on the dynamics of metabolic pathways coupled with gene regulation using a mix of nonlinear dynamics and various approximation techniques [1]. We will apply the theoretical results to metabolic engineering for chemical production [2] and the design of synthetic microbial communities with mechanistic ‘whole-cell’ models [3].

Ideal candidates should have excellent academic record and passion for quantitative methods in the life sciences and medicine. We seek open-minded and creative students keen to join a multidisciplinary team. You should have excellent mathematical and computational skills, as well as outstanding presentation skills for various audiences. Applicants must hold a First Class or an Upper Second Class degree (or equivalent overseas qualification) in a discipline relevant to the project, such as Mathematics, Bioengineering, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Physics, or Control Engineering.

Funding Notes

The “Apply online” button on this page will take you to our Online Application checklist. Please complete each step and download the checklist which will provide a list of funding options and guide you through the application process.

If you would like us to consider you for one of our scholarships you must apply by 12 noon on 13 December 2018 at the latest.


[1] Oyarzún & Chaves (2015), Design of a bistable switch to control cellular uptake. J Royal
Society Interface
[2] Beguerisse-Díaz et al (2018). Flux-dependent graphs for metabolic networks. NPJ
Systems Biology and Applications
[3] Liu et al (2018), Dynamic metabolic control: towards precision engineering of metabolism,
J Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology
[4] Weisse, Oyarzún, Danos & Swain (2015) Mechanistic links between cellular trade-offs,
gene expression, and growth, PNAS
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