This project will improve theoretical understanding of evolutionary dynamics and the real-world implications in infectious disease dynamics.

Evolutionary dynamics play a vital role in the dynamics of many diseases, ranging from infectious diseases like COVID-19, to non-communicable diseases such as cancer. Working with a supervisory team that spans both University of Liverpool and UK Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England), this position aims to improve our theoretical understanding of evolutionary dynamics and how these can be applied to real-world healthcare challenges. In addition to academic research, this position will allow the candidate to work closely with the Infectious Disease Modelling Team at UKHSA, providing insight into how mathematics is used within the civil service.

There are three key goals within this project. Firstly, we aim to further understanding of the influence of population structure (how individuals in a population interact and compete) affects the strength of natural selection. Secondly, we will explore the relationship between theoretical models and real-world systems, identifying how model parameters translate to real-world dynamics. Thirdly, we will apply our theory and models to the real-world system of COVID-19 Variants of Concern, using data from UKHSA.

The project will use a range of mathematical techniques, including stochastic models, differential equations, Taylor series, asymptotic analysis, and Bayesian statistics. The student will also gain experience working with healthcare data and coding skills, either in R, Matlab, Python, or Julia.

The student will be based in the Mathematical Sciences department, which has over 60 current PhD students. Within this department, there are three Lecturers working in Infectious Disease Modelling, alongside 2 PhD students and 1 postdoctoral researcher, providing a collegiate environment for the student. The team at UKHSA consists of 13 permanent staff (comprising Modellers and Data Scientists), who will work closely with the student. There is also scope for collaboration with colleagues in IVES at University of Liverpool or Mathematics at University of Manchester.

The primary supervisor is Dr. Christopher Overton, Lecturer in Mathematics for Healthcare at University of Liverpool and Principal Infectious Disease Modeller at UKHSA. The secondary supervisor is Professor Kieran Sharkey, Professor of Applied Mathematics at University of Liverpool. The third supervisor is Dr. Robert Paton, Senior Infectious Disease Modeller at UKHSA.

PhD position
University of Liverpool
United Kingdom
Closing date
February 13th, 2023
Posted on
January 17th, 2023 17:31
Last updated
January 17th, 2023 17:31