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Unravelling the origins and evolution of the Animal Kingdom

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Paps
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Animal Kingdom comprises some of the major transitions in the evolution of life, embracing a spectacular diversity product of hundreds of millions of years. Intriguing questions on its beginnings and major transitions are still a mystery: which genomic events are related to the advent multicellular animals from single cell organisms? What are the causes of the major transitions such as the emergence from animals with radial symmetry (as sponges or jellyfish) of creatures with a bilateral architecture like ourselves? How the content of metazoan genomes is related to the animals’ main body plans and adaptations such as parasitism, sessility, or body size reduction? The revolution introduced by Next Generation Sequencing provides a timely chance to approach those questions using comparative genomics.

The new Genomics section of the School of Biological Sciences (University of Essex) is offering 4 PhD studentships, starting October 2016. The section ( is led by Prof. Leonard C. Schalkwyk (Psychiatric and Environmental Epigenomics) and includes the labs of Prof. Meena Kumari (Biological and Social Epidemiology), Dr. Antonio Marco (Evolutionary Genetics), Dr. Vladimir Teif (Chromatin and Epigenetics), Dr. Radu N. Zabet (Computational and Theoretical Models of Gene Regulation), Dr. Pradeepa M. Madapura (Chromatin and Gene-regulation), and Dr. Jordi Paps (Evolutionary Genomics). This section is the result of an initiative to strengthen the area of genomics in the School by hiring young and successful experts on different areas of genome biology. On top of the state-of-the art facilities available in the School, the section also has access to new labs, a cluster of servers, a MiSeq machine, as well as other major molecular biology equipment. The candidate will benefit from this rich and fresh intellectual environment and the novel infrastructures.

The PhD student will join the group of Dr Jordi Paps to investigate different aspects of the evolution of the Animal Kingdom using genomic data ( The applicants should show keen interest in evolutionary biology, genomics, bioinformatics, and animal diversity; previous knowledge of Unix/Linux systems and programming languages is desired, but not required. The candidate should have a good understanding of the research field and demonstrate the ability to think independently.

Funding Notes

Entry requirements and application procedures
Applications should be submitted electronically by Tuesday 29 March 2016 see here for details Please ensure that for this scholarship a project proposal is submitted.

Additional questions and queries about the studentship can be addressed to Dr Jordi Paps ([Email Address Removed])
The target start date for this 3-year, fully-funded PhD studentship is 6th October 2016. This scholarship will be to the value of £12,500 per annum plus UK tuition fees.

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.00

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

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