Understanding how disparate structures such as galaxies, languages, and genomes have evolved has the potential to shed new light into the early universe, human migration, and potentially lethal diseases such as cancer.
For many years so called phylogenetic trees were the key concept in the scientific toolkit for this. These are similar to Charles Darwin’s famous tree I and allow one to represent evolution of objects of interest over time.
Mounting evidence however suggests that for many cases such trees are too simplistic to fully capture the picture. This has resulted in the introduction of more general structures called phylogenetic networks ii,iii which differ from phylogenetic trees in that that they contain cycles, allowing them to represent complex evolutionary processes that cannot be captured by a tree (see also iv ).
Phylogenetic networks pose exciting challenges for Computer Science and Mathematics alike ranging from algorithm development to understanding their combinatorial structure.
The purpose of this PhD is to take on some of these challenges by developing powerful algorithms and methodology for them.
This will be achieved by combining cutting-edge techniques from phylogenetics, combinatorics, and computer science.
The successful candidate will join a vibrant research group led by world leaders in the area.