MPhil/PhD Scholarship: Bioinformatics PhD: Evolution of whiteflies belonging to the Bemisia tabaci species complex

University of Greenwich – Faculty of Engineering and Science

Medway Campus

Description: The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) seeks an enthusiastic bioinformatician to use novel algorithms to investigate the genetic mechanisms underlying speciation and invasiveness across the globally-devastating whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) species complex. The B. tabaci species complex can cause severe crop losses and is a threat to global food security, as well as currently being one of world’s worst invasive alien species ( Over 35 genetic groups (termed ‘cryptic species’) of B. tabaci are proposed, and despite being morphologically identical, these species have evolved from each other millions of years ago.

Professor Susan Seal and colleagues at the NRI have generated extensive genome and transcriptome next generation sequence (NGS) datasets from a range of populations, as part of a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (see Analyses of these NGS datasets shows that B. tabaci genomes contain numerous genetic novelties, including long introns, gene duplications and expanded gene families that have roles in detoxification, and hence plant host range and insecticide resistance in this species complex. This project will use bioinformatics investigate these genomic features focusing on those that have shaped the evolution of this species complex and have led to global invasiveness of particular populations.

Proficiency in Perl or Python and R is essential, as is experience working on Linux/Unix batch systems.

For further information please contact the supervisor:  Professor Susan Seal (

Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance):

Year 1:  £14,553 Year 2:  In line with RCUK rate   Year 3: In line with RCUK rate

In addition, the successful candidate will have their tuition fees paid for a period of three years. Scholarships are available for three years from the date scholars first register as an MPhil/PhD student with the university. Scholarships are available for full-time study only and applicants must meet the programme entry requirements.

For additional information about the scholarship and links to the application form please go to:

Please read this information before making an application. Applications need to be made online via No other form of application will be considered.

All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.

  • Scholarship Reference Number (Ref) – included in the personal statement section together with your personal statement as to why you are applying
  • a CV including 2 referees *
  • a 1 page research outline describing how you would approach this topic *
  • academic qualification certificates/transcripts and IELTs/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *

*upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments need to be in PDF format.

The closing date for applications is midnight (UTC) on 28 June 2017

The scholarship must commence before 29 September 2017.


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