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12 PhD Positions in biology, medicine, and philosophy

The DFG-funded Research Training Group “Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD) at the University of Münster, Germany, invites applications for PhD Positions.

The positions are fixed term for 36 months, and the expected starting date is 1 April 2020. Currently, the regular working time for full (100%) employment is 39 hours and 50 minutes per week.

The DFG-funded Research Training Group “Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD, GRK 2220) unites biological, medical, and philosophical research at the University of Münster. The core idea is to use the theory of evolution to understand processes leading to adaptation and/or disease. The PhD students will make use of evolutionary thinking to address basic and medical questions.

EvoPAD doctoral researchers will perform cutting-edge research in an interdisciplinary environment. Our multidisciplinary qualification programme is tailored to individual career tracks, and it offers opportunities for international cooperation, summer schools, and courses covering evolutionary and population genetics, bioinformatics, experimental design, philosophy of science, and bioethics. EvoPAD offers a family-friendly and international atmosphere.

Please find detailed descriptions of individual projects below.


  • outstanding master’s or equivalent degree in biology, biomedicine, bioinformatics, biotechnology, philosophy or related fields
  • proven qualifications with particular relevance to EvoPAD projects
  • capacity to formulate and solve research problems and effectively interpret research results
  • willingness to interact with colleagues in an interdisciplinary setting
  • motivation to manage a PhD project and to participate in our multidisciplinary qualification program
  • fluency in written and spoken English

How to apply

The application should include the following items:

  • CV including information about former academic education and degrees, professional experience, publications, fellowships/awards, conference contributions, languages, and further relevant skills and abilities
  • cover letter stating the candidate’s expectations from EvoPAD and motivation for joining the project
  • master’s thesis abstract
  • two letters of recommendation

The University of Münster is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the proportion of women academics. Consequently, we actively encourage applications by women. Female candidates with equivalent qualifications and academic achievements will be preferentially considered within the framework of the legal possibilities. We also welcome applications from candidates with severe disabilities. Disabled candidates with equivalent qualifications will be preferentially considered, unless other project-related reasons apply.

Applications should be sent by email as one PDF file (max. 5 MB) to the EvoPAD Coordinator Dr Kristina Wensing ( by 13 December 2019. Please indicate in the cover letter the project that you would like to apply for and give a second choice (if desired).

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed via Skype between 9–14 January 2020. The most promising candidates will then be invited to Münster to take part in an admissions workshop on 6 & 7 February 2020.

  • A1: Evolution, adaptation and zoonotic capacity of European swine influenza viruses
  • A2: Origin and evolution of heteropathogenic Escherichia coli
  • A3: Analysis of bacterial adaptation strategies involved in commensalism and pathogenicity
  • A4: The effects of host microbiome and immunity on pathogen evolution
  • B1: Functionalisation, adaptation and gain/loss dynamics of human de novo genes
  • B2: The evolutionary significance of Programmed DNA Elimination
  • B3: Thousands of novel exons on their trial to function or disease
  • B4: Non-coding RNAs as a novel epigenetic layer in the genetic predisposition to heart disease
  • B5: Effects of genotype and environment on mental health and quality of life
  • B6: The emergence of individuality and its effects on vulnerability to disease
  • C2: Ethics of evolutionary medicine

Read about the project detail here

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