Geneva, Switzerland
Date Posted
5 Jul 2017

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PhD Project
University of Geneva

PhD position opened in Switzerland for a physicist, engineer, or computer scientist

Geneva, Switzerland
5 Jul 2017

NOTE: this position listing has expired and may no longer be relevant!

Position Description

Integrated numerical modelling of interacting 
physical & biological processes generating 
variation & complexity during animal development.

In the context of a multidisciplinary study combining mathematical modelling (of physical & developmental biology processes), numerical simulations, and biology experiments, we offer one PhD student position for an outstanding, highly motivated, and creative physicist or computer scientist with strong skills & interest in numerical simulations of physical phenomena in biological systems. The position is for 3 to 5 years and can start in August 2014, but not later than January 2015.

A project, funded by the SystemsX initiative, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the University of Geneva, integrates the expertise of biologists, physicists, and computer scientists for an improved understanding of the mechanisms generating variation and complexity of forms during animal development.

One sub-project aims at understanding the development & evolution of skin-appendage patterns (hairs, spines, feathers, scales) and skin colour patterns in vertebrates. The successful candidate will (i) acquire high-resolution 3D geometries and colour textures with robotic and microscopy equipment, (ii) perform mathematical analyses of the acquired data, and (iii) model biological and physical processes at multiple scales and developmental stages (from the embryo to the adult). The project will require the intensive use of numerical simulations (for example, reaction-diffusion on arbitrary surfaces in 3D).

Candidates must have a master’s degree in physics, computer science, or engineering. Strong mathematical and programming skills (preferably in C/C++/Java), as well as experience with numerical simulations of physical phenomena, are required. Skills in computer-vision, image processing/analysis, pattern recognition, cell automata, artificial life, robotics, as well as familiarity with softwares such as Maya and MatLab, are useful. The successful candidate will have a genuine interest to interact with researchers from multiple disciplines (Biology, Physics, Computer Science) and will join the large interdisciplinary EpiPhysX team which includes the groups of Michel Milinkovitch, Bastien Chopard, Marcos-Gonzalez-Gaitan, Aurélien Roux, and Andreas Wagner.

Geneva is an international city occupying a privileged geographical situation. University of Geneva is world-renowned for its research in Mathematics, Physics & Biology.

How to Apply

Please send (combined into a single PDF file) a brief letter of interest, your CV, as well as contact information (not support letters) of two persons of reference to: Prof. Michel Milinkovitch (Michel.Milinkovitch [at] unige [dot] ch), Laboratory of Artificial & Natural Evolution (, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Position Category: Featured and Mathematical & Physical Sciences. Position Type: PhD Project. Salary: €50'000 and above.

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