Phd/doctoral Umeå, Sweden Apply
Umeå University
Department of Mathematics / Icelab
SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
901 87 Umeå
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Overview: A Ph.D. studentship in mathematics as related to modeling the evolution of multicellularity is available in the research group of Eric Libby at Umeå University in Sweden ( Candidates should have some quantitative background with an interest in building mathematical models of biological systems.


Background for the project: The evolution of multicellularity is considered a major transition for the evolution of life on earth that made possible significant increases in organismal complexity. Somehow single-celled organisms, who were successful in their own right, evolved to form new kinds of individuals composed of many cells, multicellular organisms. While multicellularity has evolved on dozens of independent occasions, these events occurred millions of years ago and are absent from the fossil record. Recent experiments, however, have made it possible to study this pivotal event in the lab by using microorganisms to evolve primitive multicellularity de novo. Such experimental systems provide excellent opportunities to test hypotheses about the conditions that govern major transitions and facilitate the evolution of additional forms of complexity.


Goal of the PhD project: The goal of this project is to develop mathematical models that marry theory with empirical results to uncover general principles of how life evolves to be complex. Useful modeling techniques include differential equations, network approaches, agent-based simulations, evolutionary analyses, and probabilistic models.


Qualifications: Candidates need to be skilled in both oral and written communication in English, and should be able to work independently as well as in collaboration with others. Certain coursework is needed in mathematics (contact Eric or see job posting for detailed information). Candidates need to have proficiency, but not necessarily documented, in working with computers and programming, e.g. in Matlab, Python, Julia, C++, etc. A good background in mathematics, optimization, differential equations, computer science, and/or programming is qualifying. Interest and knowledge of evolutionary biology, microbiology, and/or molecular biology is desirable but not necessary.


Apply: To apply visit the website: Questions: If there are any questions please contact Eric Libby at: Eric Libby Umeå University Eric Libby <>

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Dr. Eric Libby