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Darwin’s Tree in the 21st Century (HUBERKU19SF)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 31, 2019
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Understanding how disparate structures such as galaxies, languages, and genomes have evolved has the potential to shed new light into the early universe, human migration, and potentially lethal diseases such as cancer. For many years so called phylogenetic trees were the key concept in the scientific toolkit for this. These are similar to Charles Darwin’s famous tree [I] and allow one to represent evolution of objects of interest over time. Mounting evidence however suggests that for many cases such trees are too simplistic to fully capture the picture. This has resulted in the introduction of more general structures called phylogenetic networks [ii,iii] which differ from phylogenetic trees in that that they contain cycles, allowing them to represent complex evolutionary processes that cannot be captured by a tree (see also [iv]).

Phylogenetic networks pose exciting challenges for Computer Science and Mathematics alike ranging from algorithm development to understanding their combinatorial structure. The purpose of this PhD is to take on some of these challenges by developing powerful algorithms and methodology for them. This will be achieved by combining cutting-edge techniques from phylogenetics, combinatorics, and computer science.

The successful candidate will join a vibrant research group led by world leaders in the area.

Informal enquiries are welcomed by Dr. Huber ().

Project start date: October 2019
Mode of Study: Full-time
Entry requirement: Minimum UK 2:1.
Acceptable first degree: Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering, or equivalent

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website.

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.

The project may be filled before the closing date, so early application is encouraged.


ii) D. Huson, R. Rupp, and C. Scornavacca, Phylogenetic Networks, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
iii) D. Gusfiled, Recombinatorics: The algorithms of Ancestral Recombination Graphs and Explicit Phylognentic Networks, MIT Press, 2014.

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