Postdoc Research Associate: Computational modelling of pathogen evolution

Richard A Goldstein lab, University College London
Job Location
Cruciform Building
University College London
United Kingdom
Job Description

Research in the lab of Richard Goldstein focuses on computational modelling of pathogen evolution, with an emphasis on viruses. In order to understand the properties of viruses, how they transmit, how they interact with their hosts, how they transfer between hosts, we need to investigate the evolutionary process that determined their form and function. Conversely, the evolution of viruses and hosts cannot be understood without considering how their form and function constrain the evolutionary process. Finally, the evolutionary record encodes the history of these organisms – when and where they emerged, how they spread amongst various populations, how they adapted to new hosts (such as humans), and how they have interacted with host factors, immune system, and drugs. Analysis of these sequences can provide a powerful window into this history, providing insight into the present situation and future trends. This has important consequences for monitoring and controlling disease emergence and spread, for identifying new drug targets, for modelling the emergence of drug resistance, as well as for developing our basic understanding of viruses and virus-host interactions. This work takes advantage of our placement in the Division of Infection & Immunity at UCL, providing us with a wealth of collaborative opportunities.

The post holder will carry out research in the area of computational molecular evolution, with particular interest in viral evolution. This will include development of new models for phylogenetic analysis, and the application of these models in a variety of biological contexts in order to generate understanding and insight, including of viral evolution and virus-host interactions.

The post is funded by the MRC and expires 31 March 2017. The post is potentially extendable depending on continuation of funding.


PhD or equivalent in evolutionary biology, computational biology or associated area

Proven track record of publishing papers in high impact peer reviewed journals

Experience of analysing and modelling evolutionary and/or population genetics processes, including model development and use.

Experience programming computers (e.g. java, C++)

Ability to design, implement, complete, write-up and otherwise communicate research projects.

Commitment to high quality research  

Excellent written and oral communication skills

Ability to present complex information effectively to a range of audiences

Ability to write complex reports and papers accurately and clearly.

Ability to communicate research verbally, to individuals and groups, with impact.

Ability to deal pleasantly & effectively with a wide range of people


Self-motivated and enthusiastic

Willingness and ability to work as part of a team


Willingness and ability to exchange information with team members, internal and external contacts (e.g. inform team members of matters pending).


Ability to react effectively to requests from the Team Leader and other colleagues


Ability to organise and prioritise work 

Ability to work safely and effectively with a minimum of supervision


Ability to use initiative

Ability to resolve operational difficulties

Desire to develop the role

Commitment to UCL’s policies including Equal Opportunities and Race Equality policies

Maintain an awareness and observation of Fire and Health & Safety Regulations 

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