Date Posted
11 Aug 2024

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PhD Project
Chair of Microbial Ecology

Adaptation and Constraint in the Evolution of Overlapping Genes

11 Aug 2024

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

Position Description

PhD student position by October 1, 2017
Adaptation and Constraint in the Evolution of Overlapping Genes
Many overlapping genes (OLGs), where more than one protein product is encoded by the same genetic sequence in different reading frames, are present in viral genomes. Research on OLGs in bacteria is in its infancy and the evolution of overlapping genes is an enigma open to scientific investigation. The Overlapping Genes Group at the Chair of Microbial Ecology headed by Prof. Dr. Siegfried Scherer ( is active in both the experimental and theoretical analysis of overlapping gene pairs.
Job description
The proposed PhD project in theoretical evolutionary biology will begin to answer questions about the distribution and origin of overlapping gene pairs, based on taxonomy and the structure of the genetic code. Of particular inter-est is the examination of the evolution of overlapping gene pairs with respect to their origin and gain of function.
Depending on the background of the candidate, the project will focus on either the deep phylogenies of different kinds of overlapping gene pairs, based on considering putative sequence and structural homology, or applying mathematical models of evolutionary constraint in different reading frames to testing evolutionary hypotheses of OLG origin and divergence
Your qualification
The ideal candidate will have an MSc with a background in either bioinformatics or mathematical biology and a very strong interest to pursue a PhD in evolutionary biology. Biologists with a background in molecular genetics, a strong interest in evolutionary biology and willingness to learn the use of bioinformatics tools will also be favourably considered. Experience with bioinformatics in R and a scripting language such as Perl or Python is advantageous.
Our offer
You will work in a world-class research institution with an international, multi-disciplinary, highly innovative, well-equipped and scientifically stimulating environment, offering further training and career development opportunities for PhD students. Salary is 50% of TV-L E13 for 3 years. Persons with disabilities will be preferred in case of equal qualification. TUM aims at a higher proportion of female scientists and welcomes applications from women.

How to Apply

Please send your application as a single PDF including cover letter, CV, grades and references via email to Dr. Zachary Ardern ( by August 28,2017 at the latest.

Position Category: Medical & Biological Sciences. Position Type: PhD Project. Position Tags: overlapping genes and genetic sequence. Salary: €10'000 - €20'000.