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Evolution Education Trust PhD project: Evolution and genomics of mortality

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The University of Bath is inviting applications for this PhD opportunity based at the Milner Centre for Evolution, a unique, cross-faculty research centre bridging biology, health and education. The Centre is dedicated to a broad range of fundamental research questions relating to evolutionary biology; from in deep time, to the micro-evolutionary dynamics of a disease outbreak. We have a strong focus on public engagement and outreach. We are located in a dedicated multi-million-pound building that opened on the University campus in September 2018. For further information about the centre see

Project Overview:

Mortality is common to all animals. Even when protected from predation and infectious disease animals, from all species, eventually die. However, the patterns and timing of senescence and mortality are highly diverse between species. The underlying mechanisms of the diversity of these patterns are poorly understood. Comparative genomic analyses can significantly help us to advance our understanding on the ageing and mortality. In this project, we plan to compare genomes and gene activity patterns of 360 species of birds and over 80 species of mammals to explore to identify differences and parallelisms in molecular functions underlying mortality.


Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or high Upper Second Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent qualification gained outside the UK) in a relevant subject. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Home and EU candidates will be eligible to be considered for Evolution Education Trust funding. Overseas candidates with alternative sources of funding are welcome to apply.


Informal enquiries should be directed to Araxi Urrutia, .

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form:

On the application form, please ensure that you quote ‘Evolution Education Trust’ in the Finance section and the supervisor’s name and project title in the ‘Your research interests’ section. Should you wish to be considered for more than project, quote the projects in order of preference and upload a separate personal statement relevant to each one.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Interviews will take place in Bath on 14 June 2019.

Anticipated start date: 30 September 2019.

Funding Notes

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the Evolution Education Trust View Website.

A studentship will provide UK/EU tuition fees, a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£15,009 p.a. for 2019/20) and a generous budget for research and training as well as funds to support outreach activities for a period of up to 3.5 years.

Note: ONLY UK and EU applicants are eligible for studentship funding. International applicants will not be considered unless they can fully self-fund (fees and living costs).


Young RL, Ferkin MH, Ockendon NF, Orr VN, Phelps SM, Pogány A, Richards-Zawacki CL, Summers K, Székely T, Trainor BC, Urrutia AO, Zachar G, O'Connell LA, Hofmann HA^. 2019. Conserved transcriptomic profiles underpin monogamy across vertebrates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 116: 1331-1336.

Castillo-Morales A, Monzón-Sandoval J, Urrutia AO^, Gutiérrez H^. 2019. Postmitotic cell longevity–associated genes: a transcriptional signature of postmitotic maintenance in neural tissues. Neurobiology of aging 74: 147-160.

Bush SJ, Chen L, Tovar-Corona JM and Urrutia AO^. 2017. Alternative splicing and the evolution of phenotypic novelty. The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 372: 20150474.

Chen L, Bush SJ, Tovar-Corona JM, Castillo-Morales A, Urrutia AO^. 2014. Correcting for differential transcript coverage reveals a strong relationship between alternative splicing and organism complexity. Molecular Biology and Evolution 31: 1402-1413.

How good is research at University of Bath in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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