Date Posted
25 Apr 2024

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PhD Project
Laboratory of Artificial & Natural Evolution, University of Geneva, Switzerland

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

25 Apr 2024

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 & biological 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 July 2017, but not later than January 2018.

A major research project in Michel Milinkovitch’s group (Laboratory of Artificial & Natural Evolution; at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) is to better understand the physical constrains to biological development. More specifically, we investigate the interactions between physical (mechanics, reaction-diffusion) and biological (cell signalling, proliferation) mechanisms that generate and constrain Life’s complexity and diversity.

Candidates must have a master’s degree in physics, computer science, or engineering. Strong mathematical and programming skills, as well as experience with numerical simulations of physical phenomena, are required. Skills in artificial life, computer-vision, image processing/analysis, pattern recognition, cell automata, and robotics are useful. The successful candidate will have a genuine interest to interact with researchers from multiple disciplines (Biology, Physics, Computer Science, mathematics).

The University of Geneva is world-renowned for its research in Biology and Physics and is among the top 1% best universities in the world.
PhD students are remunerated according to the standards of UNIGE, which are very generous when compared to other international programs.
Geneva is an international city occupying a privileged geographical situation with its beautiful lake and the close-by Alps.

Refs: Manukyan et al. A Living Mesoscopic Cellular Automaton Made of Skin Scales. Nature 544: 173-179 (2017); Dhillon et al. Bifurcation Analysis of Reaction Diffusion Systems on Arbitrary Surfaces. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology (2017); Teyssier et al. Photonic Crystals Cause Active Colour Change in Chameleons. Nature Communications 6: 6368 (2015); Martins et al. R2OBBIE-3D, a Fast Robotic High-Resolution System for Quantitative Phenotyping of Surface Geometry and Colour-Texture. PlosOne 10(6): e0126740 (2015) ; Milinkovitch et al. Crocodile Head Scales Are Not Developmental Units But Emerge from Physical Cracking. Science 339, 78-81 (2013).

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How to Apply

Candidates must send their application — in the form of a single PDF file including a brief letter of interest, a CV, as well as contact information (not support letters) of two to three persons of reference — to: Prof. Michel Milinkovitch (

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