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PhD position on evolutionary dynamics - Simula Research Laboratory closed

Simula Research Laboratory conducts basic research in the fields of  communication technology, software engineering and scientific computing.  The research in the Scientific Computing (SC) department is focused on the development of numerical methods, algorithms and software, and large scale biomedical and systems biology oriented simulation studies applying these methods. In recent years, the main application area for computational research studies has been the simulation of the electrical and mechanical activity of the heart. Currently, we plan to extend our computational research to simulations of the evolutionary dynamics of genetic networks controlling the properties of organisms.

The aim of the research project is to study key evolutionary processes such as the adaptation of organisms to their environment, the splitting up of a species into multiple species and the 
development of multicellular organisms from a single fertilized cells. A key aspect of the research will be to study how the architecture and dynamics of genome organization and gene regulatory network structure influence the properties of organisms and hence how they influence the above mentioned evolutionary processes and how this contrasts with findings from more classical population genetics models.

Our understanding of genome organization and gene regulatory networks has changed dramatically over the last decade. A large part of DNA that was previously considered junk turns out the be functional after all, coding for RNAs that are however not translated into proteins. These RNAs in turn are often involved in regulating the expression of genes, which were previously thought to be exclusively regulated by proteins. Incorporating these new insights into our models is another key aspect of the research project.

Modeling formalisms used will typically be discrete, individual-based, event-based, and often
spatially extended and will involve the explicit modeling of the evolution of genes, genomes and gene regulatory networks determining the properties of simulated agents. The project will be supervised by a new member of our research group, Dr. Kirsten ten Tusscher (http://

Simula offers excellent opportunities for doing high quality research, generous support for travels and equipment, and competitive salary (around 47.000,- Euro/69.000,- USD for a Ph.D. position)

We are looking for candidates who fulfill one or more of the following requirements:

  • a strong interest in evolutionary biological  research
  • a University degree in computational biology, systems biology, biomedical engineering, artificial life, artificial intelligence, computer science, physics or applied mathematics
  • experience with computational modeling, simulation and analysis of complex (biological)systems.

The position requires excellent English writing skills and high marks from the BSc and MSc degree. Women are encouraged to apply. For more information contact Joakim Sundnes (sundnes@simula.no) or Kirsten ten Tusscher(tentussc@simula.no). To apply, email a short application letter, curriculum vitae, copies of transcripts and grades, and a publication list to jobs@simula.no. The subject of the email must contain 0830 Scientific Computing.

Application deadline: May 16, 2008

posted 2008.04.03