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Two Postdoc Positions in Mathematical Modeling of Microbial Evolution

  • 15 Feb 2022
  • Umeå University
We are happy to announce two Kempe-funded postdoctoral fellowships available for a start date sometime in 2022. Each position is available for two years and will be based at Umeå University's interdisciplinary center IceLab in the research group of Eric Libby and also affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Umeå University. Candidates should have a quantitative background with an interest in analyzing mathematical models of biological systems. Below we provide descriptions of the two postdocs and the required qualifications, which are quite similar. Importantly we note that these calls are completely open and interested candidates can apply to both.
Postdoc position 1: "Predicting the coevolutionary trajectories of simple microbial communities"
Overview: The evolutionary fate of microbial communities can be difficult to predict. Even simple systems consisting of only a few species or strains can abruptly shift course, e.g. cooperating bacteria can gain mutations that cause them to compete. While experiments have started to probe the evolutionary trajectories of simple microbial communities, the findings are often idiosyncratic---either due to differences in the specific setup or the fact that evolution relies on chance events. We lack general understanding and, importantly, null models that shape our expectations and allow for predictions. This project addresses these significant gaps in our understanding by harnessing a unique database of metabolic models that the PIs have established to identify broad statistical patterns concerning the nature of putative ecological interactions. The postdoc will simulate eco-evolutionary dynamics with an aim to uncover simple predictive rules. We anticipate the postdoc’s work to open up many additional avenues of exploration that will result in future collaborative ventures both within the team and with IceLab and the broader academic community. This postdoc will be supervised by a team of researchers at Umeå University: Eric Libby, Peter Lind, Ludvig Lizana, and Björn Schröder.
Application deadline: January 31st
Postdoc position 2: "A theoretical framework for the evolution of beneficial endosymbioses"
A pivotal event in the evolution of life on earth was the endosymbiosis that gave rise to mitochondria and eukaryotes. It is unparalleled in terms of its significance as it is thought to have fueled the evolution of all large, complex life. Yet, unlike other major transition in evolution, we lack model systems or theoretical frameworks to understand its origin and evolution. The central aim of this project is to address this significant knowledge gap by developing theoretical models to study a key step in the evolution of life: the endosymbiosis that led to the mitochondria and the eukaryotic lineage. To this end, we welcome applicants keen to model the evolutionary dynamics of nascent endosymbioses. This is a broad area with multiple directions and possible types of modeling, e.g. differential equations, computer simulations, metabolic models, etc. The appointed candidate will have the opportunity to carry out collaborative research according to a mutually agreed research plan. This postdoc will be supervised by Eric Libby.
Application deadline: February 15th
Qualifications: To qualify for the fellowships, the candidate should have a PhD degree, or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent, in one of the following fields: Evolutionary biology, Computational Biology, Mathematical Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, or other related disciplines. A candidate who has not completed their degree prior to this may be considered if special circumstances exist. Special circumstances include absence due to illness, parental leave or clinical practice, appointments of trust in trade unions or similar circumstances. The ideal candidate should have strong skills in implementing and analyzing mathematical models. The applicant needs additionally to have excellent skills in modern computer programming languages such as C++, Python, MATLAB or R so as to simulate evolutionary dynamics Personal qualities such as collaboration, communication, strong drive and motivation, critical thinking abilities, creativity and analytical skills are essential. The applicant should be able to perform research independently and as part of a team. Good knowledge of oral and written English is required.
To apply for postdoc 1, see the official ad: https://www.umu.se/en/work-with-us/postdoctoral-scholarships/6-2732-21
To apply for postdoc 2, see the official ad: https://www.umu.se/en/work-with-us/postdoctoral-scholarships/6-26-22
Questions: If there are any questions please contact Eric Libby at: Eric Libby Umeå University elibbyscience@gmail.com "

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