Computational and Evolutionary Biology

Welcome to CEB's webpages

We are a department-sized grouping of researchers in Life Sciences who use a wide range of techniques from computational to whole organism experimental approaches in our pursuit of understanding biological systems. A main theme of our research is the use of an evolutionary perspective to inform and predict the behaviour of biological systems. If you have any questions about the research we do, are interested in scientific collaborations or education/training opportunities in Manchester please contact us.

Research group leader: Dr Daniela Delneri

Behaviour and Evolution

Research in this theme focuses on fundamental questions covering a range of key topics from sexual selection, behavioural genetics and epigenetics, signalling and communication to the evolution of sociality and coevolution. We study animal behaviour and ecology in the lab and the field as well as using computational and modelling approaches. Much of our research overlaps with interests in conservation biology, genetics and physiology and is supported by state of the art facilities.

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Computational Biology

This use of computers in biology has never been so important and, alongside continuing data representation and analysis, a major goal of computational biology is the in silico representation of dynamic biological systems. For example, at the cellular and molecular level, biological structures and functions are the product of complex interactions between proteins and other molecules. Using a systems biology approach, we are interested in exploiting evolutionary signals to study the nature of these interactions and how they change. We also develop software and host several databases; see our Bioinformatics page for more details.

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Molecular Evolution and Genomics

In this theme we study genome evolution and its consequences at different levels of generality and over varying time-scales, often bringing together computational and experimental approaches. For example, specific research projects include: using evolutionary signals to understand the specificity of protein-protein interactions, comparing genomes from divergent species to identify probable non-coding RNAs (see the miRBase database), development of new bioinformatics software (e.g., phylogenetic methods), HIV-1 diversity and evolution, and large international genome projects, for example, the mouse and fruit fly.

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Organismal Biology

The underlying focus of this theme is understanding how structure and function relate through evolutionary processes. Our research interests cross over between field and laboratory-based studies and are focused on understanding how organisms work and interact with their environment. Specific research projects underway include comparative physiology and biomechanics, functional morphoplogy, the use of computer simulations to understand the movements of both living and fossil animals such as dinosaurs, the evolutionary genetics of social interactions and complex traits and the interplay between evolution and development.

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Pikaia fossil.

Pikaia fossil (Rob Sansom).

Fossil fish.

Fossil fish (Rob Sansom).

Decaying amphioxus.

Decaying amphioxus (Rob Sansom).

Evolution of a population of aptamers.

Evolution of a population of aptamers (Will Rowe).

RNA-seq clusters.

RNA-seq clusters (Will Rowe).

Rock ptarmigan in Svalbard.

Rock ptarmigan in Svalbard (Jonathan Codd).

Fluorescence-tagged yeast competing to producing a colony

Fluorescence-tagged yeast competing to producing a colony (Dan Smith).

Phylogenetic tree inferred form 454 sequence data.

Phylogenetic tree inferred form 454 sequence data (John Archer).

Yeast biology word cloud

Cheers to yeast biology research! (Jonathan Dickerson)

Screenshot from Utopia Documents software.

Screenshot from Utopia Documents software (Terri Attwood).

Visualisation of phylogenetic workflow usage.

Visualisation of phylogenetic workflow usage (Jamie Eales).

HIV-1 V3 loops.

HIV-1 V3 loops (Simon Lovell).

Yeast protein interaction network.

Yeast protein interaction network.

An emerging compound leaf primordium of Schefflera actinophylla.

An emerging compound leaf primordium of Schefflera actinophylla (Minsung Kim).

Frog, Agalychnis moreletii.

Frog, Agalychnis moreletii, snapped on undergraduate field course to Belize (Richard Preziosi).

HIV-host protein interaction network.

HIV-host protein interaction network (Jonathan Dickerson).


PhD, postdoc and fellowships

We welcome applications for PhD and post-doctoral positions at any time. Advertised positions can be found on our PhD projects and the Faculty's Jobs page. We are also pleased to consider requests to host independent research fellowships (junior or senior), and we can offer advice and guidance in support of your application. Fellows routinely become permanent members of staff.

For enquiries, contact or the principal investigator closest to your research area.