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Dr Chris Illingworth


Dynamics of rapid pathogen evolution    Evolution has taken millions of years to shape life into its currently-observed forms.  Yet in many biological systems, important evolutionary events can occur on very rapid timescales.  With the advent of new sequencing technologies, adaptive processes can be recorded at a genetic level, in unprecedented detail.  However, while a wealth of data have been collected, much progress remains to be made in exploiting these data to maximum extent.    The project will develop new statistical and mathematical techniques which exploit next-generation sequencing data to examine the role of evolutionary processes in viral infection.  Key research questions involve the impact of the immune system upon a viral population within the course of a single infection, and the relationship between selection for within-host growth and for transmission. The project would particularly suit a student with previous mathematical, statistical, or other formal quantitative training.