Post-doctoral research position in data-driven mathematical modelling of virus transmission and evolutionary dynamics

We seek a talented and dedicated scientist with a strong background in mathematical modelling of dynamic processes to develop data-driven mathematical models of virus transmission and evolutionary dynamics. This 3 year position is part of the international collaborative project: “Combined influence of imperfect vaccines, host genetics, and non-genetic drivers on virus transmission and virulence evolution” funded by the international Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) Programme.

Project overview:
To maintain human and animal health, it is extremely important to understand how pathogens like viruses are transmitted and evolve to higher virulence. In this project, an international, interdisciplinary team investigates the impact of vaccination and selective breeding on the spread and evolution of two avian pathogenic viruses - Marek’s disease virus (MDV) and infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) – both of which are primarily controlled by imperfect vaccines. It has been argued that imperfect vaccines like those to MDV and IBV, or host genetic resistance may alter the balance of selection between pathogen transmission and virulence by allowing a few more divergent but still virulent strains to be transmitted at reduced cost. However, these hypotheses have not been proven, and predictive frameworks are lacking for determining the combined influence of host and viral genetics, as well as vaccination on viral transmission and evolution to increased virulence.
This project will generate informative, high-resolution empirical data to monitor virus transmission and establish the role of genome variability on virulence evolution. The primary task of the successful candidate will be to build the next generation of data-informed dynamic process-based mathematical models to assess and predict the combined influence of genetics and vaccination on virus transmission and evolutionary dynamics. This will help to develop strategies to control the ecology, evolution and economic burden of viral diseases in poultry and other species.

Eligibility, qualifications and skills:
We welcome applications from all over the world that meet the following qualifications: as well as having a PhD in a quantitative subject with very strong numerical and computational background, applicants should have an evidenced track record in :
·Mathematical modelling of dynamic processes (ideally infectious disease dynamics)
·Excellent programming skills and experience in computationally intensive simulations
·Statistical analyses of temporal data
·Ability and interest in learning and applying new quantitative methods
·Publishing in high impact scientific journals
·Ability to work effectively in a multi-disciplinary project team and presenting technical methods and results to non-quantitative audiences
·Ability and willingness to actively contribute to regular physical and virtual international project meetings and conferences
In addition, experience with genomic data and Bayesian inference methods is highly desirable.

Research environment and how to apply:
The successful candidate will be based at the Roslin Institute under the joint supervision of Prof. Andrea Doeschl-Wilson and Dr. Samantha Lycett. The candidate will work closely together with the project partners in Roslin, the US and Ghana. As such, the candidate will join a welcoming, vibrant, multi-disciplinary research environment consisting of bio-mathematicians, livestock geneticists, epidemiologists, statisticians, bioinformaticians, and molecular biologists to improve livestock and human health and to train the next generation of world-class scientists.

The post is available immediately until 31.12.2023.
Interviews will be held online in February 2021.
If invited for interview you will be required to evidence your right to work in the UK. Further information is available on our right to work webpages.
Further information on the above post, including how to apply, is available on Closing date: 31 Jan 2021;
Potential applicants may contact Professor Andrea Doeschl-Wilson (; phone +44 7910471174) to discuss the position.

The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK
Easter Bush
United Kingdom
Closing date
January 31st, 2021
Posted on
December 23rd, 2020 15:40
Last updated
December 23rd, 2020 15:40