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Molecular evolution of biological systems

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  • Full or part time
    Prof D Robertson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Research in my lab is focussed on computational biology and molecular evolution. We study evolution at the molecular level from genes to genomes to systems biology, and use computers to address analytical and theoretical questions/hypotheses. Specific PhD projects in my research group include the study of: (i) The evolutionary origins of disease mutations. (ii) The role of gene and genome duplication in evolution. (iii) Duplication, rewiring and specificity in protein-protein interaction networks. (iv) Co-evolution of viral pathogens and the host system. (v) Intra-patient viral evolution (for example HIV-1) and drug resistance. All of these projects are computer-based and will exploit publically available data (mainly next generation sequencing (NGS) and molecular interaction data), data sets from collaborators or retrieved by text mining the primary literature. Please contact me if you’d like further details of any of these project areas.

Funding Notes

This project has a Band 1 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website. For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website. Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor.


Archer J, Rambaut A, Taillon BE, Harrigan R, Lewis M, and Robertson DL. (2010). The evolutionary analysis of emerging low frequency HIV-1 CXCR4 using variants through time an ultra-deep approach. PLoS Computational Biology 6:e100102.

Dickerson JE, and Robertson DL (2011) On the origins of Mendelian disease-genes in man: the impact of gene duplication. Molecular Biology and Evolution 29:61-69.

Hakes L, Pinney JW, Lovell SC, Oliver SG, and Robertson DL (2007) All duplicates are not equal: the difference between small-scale and genome duplication. Genome Biology 8:R209.

MacPherson JI, Dickerson JE, Pinney JW, and Robertson DL (2010) Patterns of HIV-1 protein interaction identify perturbed host-cellular subsystems. PLoS Computational Biology 6:e1000863.

Plantier J-C, Leoz M, Dickerson JE, Oliveira FD, Cordonnier F, Lemée V, Damond F, Robertson DL, and Simon F (2009) A new human immunodeficiency virus derived from gorillas. Nature Medicine, 15:861-865.

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