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  Evolutionary ecology of host-parasite interactions

   Department of Biology

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  Prof K King  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Proposed Start Date: September 2022

The body is home to trillions of microbes. There has been a surge of interest on the effects of these microbes on host health, often as agents of infectious disease. I offer projects broadly focused on the evolutionary and ecological interactions between hosts and their microbial parasites. We started a new trajectory with experimental evolution and epidemiology of Leucobacter, natural bacterial parasites of Caenorhabditis nematodes collected from banana stems in West Africa. A PhD project could also involve bioinformatics or field work, and be in one of the following areas, according to the student’s interests:

Social and sexual-transmission of infectious disease. Many parasites can be transmitted from host to host via direct contact between individuals (incl. during mating). The PhD project could explore the consequences for parasite virulence, spread, and for the costs of host social and sexual behaviours. Host-parasite co-adaptation in a warming world. With increased warming and shorter rain periods impacting many parts of the world due to global climate change, the growth of plant-based foods, such as bananas, is being affected. With the Caenorhabditis-Leucobacter system, the PhD project could assess the potential for adaptation of the banana microbiome (and coadaptation within the host-parasite interaction) to different rain schedules and temperatures.  

Informal inquiries are welcomed and may be addressed to Prof. Kayla King ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes: Funding is competitive, via either University/Departmental Studentships or Doctoral Training Centres (

Biological Sciences (4)

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 About the Project