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Evolution Education Trust PhD project: Host-pathogen dynamics in the evolution of ageing and immunity


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. Visit our website: https://www.bath.ac.uk/research-centres/milner-centre-for-evolution/.

Project Overview:

In most sexual species, males and females differ not only in how they age, but also in their susceptibility to infection. Though the link between host-pathogen evolution and the evolution of ageing is currently poorly understood, it may help explain why males and females exhibit different disease outcomes and patterns of ageing. Despite substantial evidence of age- and sex-specific influences of infectious diseases, most models of host and pathogen evolution do not account for population structuring by age or sex.

The aim of this project is to understand how age- and sex-specific mortality are shaped by host-pathogen dynamics.

The project will explore how heterogeneity in disease susceptibility, transmission and virulence between males and females and across life-stages quantitatively and qualitatively affect ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Using mathematical modelling, the student will explore the dynamics of age- and sex-structured host populations in the presence of horizontally, vertically, and sexually transmitted diseases. The project will make predictions for how and when age- and sex-specific disease characteristics are likely to evolve, and in turn, how they mediate the evolution of other life-history traits. The model outputs will be tested with avian comparative data and data from the model system Drosophila melanogaster.

Public engagement and scientific dissemination are integral to this PhD. In addition to attending local and international conferences, through public engagement training, the candidate will be encouraged to develop novel digital/physical exhibits to employ at outreach events. This project is ideal for an ambitious mathematical biologist.

Find out more about the research of Dr Ashby here: https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/persons/ben-ashby.

Candidate:

Applicants should have an excellent academic record and hold, or expect to obtain, a First Class or high Upper Second Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent) in a relevant subject. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Enquiries and Applications:

All enquiries should be addressed to Dr Ben Ashby, .

** Candidates are strongly encouraged to discuss projects directly with the lead supervisor before submitting an application.**

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Mathematics:
https://samis.bath.ac.uk/urd/sits.urd/run/siw_ipp_lgn.login?process=siw_ipp_app&code1=RDUMA-FP03&code2=0014

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 one project, quote the projects in order of preference and upload a separate personal statement relevant to each one.

It is essential that your application is complete when you submit it to us. Incomplete applications cannot be considered. You should ensure that you have completed all fields on the application form and supplied the contact details of TWO referees who are available and willing to provide us with a reference when requested (one must be from your most recent place of study). In addition, you should ensure that you have uploaded the following documents:
• a scanned copy of the certificate/s for any degree/s you have been awarded;
• a scanned copy of your degree transcript/s or your interim transcript if you are still studying;
• an up-to-date CV;
• a personal statement explaining your motivation for wishing to study a PhD and your interest in the specific project for which you are applying;
• English language test certificate (if available) for EU candidates.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:
http://www.bath.ac.uk/guides/how-to-apply-for-doctoral-study/

Interviews will take place in Bath on Friday 3 April 2020.

Anticipated start date: 28 September 2020.

Unfortunately, we are NOT able to consider international applicants for this project.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project will be considered for a 3.5-year Evolution Education Trust Studentship which will cover UK/EU tuition fees, a tax-free maintenance allowance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£15,009 for 2019/20) and a generous budget for research, training and outreach expenses.

Note: Only UK and EU applicants are eligible for studentship funding.

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.40

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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