PhD Studentship: Novel computational tools for elucidating evolutionary consequences of reticulation events (WU_U17DTP)

University of East Anglia

School of: Computing Sciences
Start Date: 1st October 2017
No. of positions available: 1
Supervisor: Dr Taoyang Wu

Project description:

Recombination, hybridization, and horizontal gene transfer (HGT) lead to reticulate evolution, and together, these evolutionary forces are one principal source for adaptive novelty because they introduce a vast amount of novel genetic variation instantly (i.e. in one generation). With the advent of Next Generation Sequencing technologies, the signature of reticulate evolution is found to be ubiquitous across the kingdoms of life, but with the increase complexity of BIG DATA analysis, identifying and analysing its footprint in genomes is computationally challenging.

Our team at UEA has developed novel algorithms and software to analyse reticulate evolution in genome data of plant pathogens, fish, diatoms, and across important groups of crop plants, and these studies have been published in high impact journals [1-4]. This PhD project builds on this track record, combining the mathematical and computational expertise of Dr Wu ( together with the Evolutionary Genetics expertise in the group of Prof van Oosterhout. The principal aim of this project is to develop a new method for the genome-wide analysis of reticulate evolution and implement this method for BIG DATA analysis in various exciting datasets currently generated by UEA and other NRP academics. 


  1. Huber et al. (2015) Systematic Biology
  2. Oldman et al. (2016) Molecular Biology and Evolution
  3. McMullan et al. (2016) Elife
  4. Jouet et al. (2015) Molecular Ecology

Person specification: A Bachelor degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Bioinformatics, Evolutionary Biology, or a related area is expected. An interest in computational or mathematical biology is helpful, though a prior knowledge of biology is not necessary.

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,296pa – 2016/7), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:

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