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Evolution Education Trust PhD project: The ins and outs of bacterial evolution: Gene gain and gene loss in bacterial genomes


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

Project Overview:

Bacterial genomes are prone to random loss-of-function mutations in protein coding genes, as well as an underlying bias for the deletion of DNA. In some pathogenic or symbiotic bacteria, these forces combine to result in rapid gene loss and a decrease in genome size over evolutionary time. However, in other species there are forces that can counter this, and thus maintain bacterial genome size and functionality. Most commonly, gene gain is mostly driven either by the duplication of existing genes, or by the horizontal transfer of genes, by recombination, from other bacteria. This project will use two approaches to understand how selection and genetic drift drive the gain and loss of genes in bacteria. First, tens of thousands of whole genome sequences of key bacterial species will be analysed using established and novel bioinformatics. Second, we will run evolution experiments on model species. By considering different ecological conditions, we will aim to find the universal rules driving the ins and outs of bacterial genomes.

Candidate:

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.

Applications:

Informal enquiries should be directed to Edward Feil,

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form:
https://samis.bath.ac.uk/urd/sits.urd/run/siw_ipp_lgn.login?process=siw_ipp_app&code1=RDUBB-FP02&code2=0013

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:
http://www.bath.ac.uk/guides/how-to-apply-for-doctoral-study/

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).

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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