Research Associate in Evolutionary and Epidemiological Modelling

University of Bristol - School of Biological Sciences

A postdoctoral position is available to develop evolutionary and epidemiological models of reproductive senescence in tsetse flies under the guidance of Dr Sinead English in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, along with researchers at the Universities of Warwick and Oxford (and as part of a larger collaborative and international project). The post will be funded by a BBSRC project with the overall aim of investigating the epidemiological consequences of reproductive senescence in a disease vector ­– the tsetse fly – which gives birth to live young and has extraordinary maternal investment. 

The role of the PDRA will be to develop state-dependent models to predict optimal allocation of resources from mothers to young in tsetse across the lifespan. The PDRA will integrate predictions from these life history models into epidemiological models to understand how maternal investment affects disease transmission. This work ­– incorporating insights from evolutionary theory into epidemiological models – presents an exciting and novel area in vector-borne disease research.

The PDRA will benefit from collaboration and expertise with project partners from a range of disciplines (evolutionary theory, epidemiology and vector biology) and institutions (Bristol, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Warwick, Oxford and South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis). The PDRA will work closely during model development with other team members, who will be generating empirical data on maternal investment in laboratory and field flies, to ensure both that models are based on real parameters and that the models produce testable predictions.

The successful candidate will have a PhD in a relevant biological or quantitative subject, a strong interest in life history theory, evolutionary ecology and epidemiology, and extensive experience of mathematical or computational modelling. They will be highly motivated, collaborative and an excellent communicator, and have a demonstrable desire to learn new skills. Training will be provided in the development of state-dependent models, using ordinary and partial differential equations in epidemiological models, and running individual simulations ­– although prior experience in any of these approaches will be an advantage. In addition, there is some flexibility to adjust the focus and direction of the work depending on the interests and expertise of the successful candidate.

Informal enquiries can be emailed to

The University is committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.

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South West England