PhD Scholarship in Mathematical Phylogenetics
University of Auckland

Department of Computer Science

Posted on: Mon Dec 14 2015

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD Scholarship in Mathematical Phylogenetics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.


Inferring the evolutionary history of all life on Earth has long been a fascinating problem in biology. Traditionally, evolutionary (phylogenetic) trees are used to represent ancestral relationships between organisms. However, recent investigations into horizontal gene transfer and hybridization, which are processes that result in mosaic patterns of relationships, challenge the model of a phylogenetic tree. Indeed, it is now widely acknowledged that graphs with cycles, called phylogenetic networks, are better suited to represent evolutionary histories. Phylogenetic networks pose many interesting mathematical challenges and have become a vivid area of research since the beginning of the 21st century.


This PhD project is an exciting opportunity to develop combinatorial and algorithmic approaches to analyze and reconstruct phylogenetic networks. For example, a better understanding of the mathematics that underlies the space of all phylogenetic networks is fundamental to the reconstruction of phylogenetic networks from biological data. In short, the PhD project aims at the development of new mathematical tools and algorithms to analyze and search spaces of phylogenetic networks.


The successful applicant has a Masters or Honours degree in mathematics or computer science and, preferably, a strong background in graph theory and/or theoretical computer science. An interest in biological questions is desirable, but not a requirement. Candidates must also be eligible for admission to the PhD program at the University of Auckland. For more information on postgraduate studies at the University of Auckland, see the following link:


The PhD scholarship is funded by the New Zealand Marsden Fund and available from March 2016. A later starting date is negotiable. The scholarship is for three years. It covers tuition fees and provides an annual tax free allowance of NZ$27,500. The successful candidate will be based within the Department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and supervised by Dr Simone Linz.


To apply, please email your CV and academic transcript, a short statement of research interests, and names and contact details of two referees to Simone Linz ( Informal inquiries can be directed to the same address. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

**Mention you saw it on the AustMS website**