Building and promoting Excellence in Life Sciences in Europe
Building and promoting Excellence in Life Sciences in Europe

PhD Position -Understanding the interplay of mutations and selection during cancer evolution


The institute

The Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) is an international biomedical research institute of excellence, based in Barcelona, Spain, with more than 400 scientists from 44 countries. The CRG shares principles of an interdisciplinary, motivated and creative scientific team that is supported by high-end and innovative technologies and a flexible and efficient administration.

CRG has been conferred a badge of 'HR Excellence in Research' by the European Commission, in recognition of its progress in implementing the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for Recruitment of Researchers, that among others consists of transparent, merit-based recruitment procedures and attractive work-life balance working conditions.

For further information:

The role

One PhD Position open to work in the Evolutionary Processes Modeling Lab at CRG, Barcelona.

About the group

Cancer is a genetic disease, subject to population genetics forces like mutation, selection and stochasticity. Our lab has recently demonstrated that coding sequences of cancer tumors not only exhibit positively selected mutations that drive cancer (, but that there exist genes that the tumor cannot afford to lose to the mutational pressure ( In addition to genes, we have also identified cancer driver loci in the non-coding part of the genome ( Both coding and non-coding selection can act to promote cancer defense mechanisms against therapy, which can be unveiled through the analysis of time-sequence data of cell-free DNA and of patient survival data.

Our lab is particularly interested in how the evolution and survival of cancer cell populations relies on mutation influx and in the selection inference from allele frequency information. To this end, our lab develops mathematical and computational approaches to estimate mutation rates and selection. We use whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing data repositories to analyze selection on coding and non-coding sequences. In addition, we analyze cell-free DNA from tumors and their temporal evolution in response to therapy. Estimates of the strength of selection in cancer allow for a prioritization of genes and non-coding regions by their disease relevance, with the ultimate goal of promoting therapeutic advances.

The Evolutionary Processes Modeling lab was established in October 2018 and is part of the Bioinformatics and Genomics program at the CRG in Barcelona, Spain. Further information can be found at:

Whom would we like to hire?  

We are looking for a PhD student to join the lab to help elucidate cancer evolutionary dynamics using population genetics predictions and simulations together with recently published and unpublished cancer sequencing data. Research interests within the field of population genetics but outside this specific topic can also be considered.

  • The ideal candidate should be highly motivated and eager to work on biological problems using theoretical and computational approaches.
  • Candidates should hold a University Degree and a Master's Degree in physics, mathematics, statistics, genetics, bioinformatics, computer science or related disciplines within the European Higher Education System (minimum 300 ECTS) or equivalent by September 2019.
  • The candidate needs to be proficient in English.

The offer

  • Contract duration: 4 year PhD Position
  • Estimated annual gross salary: Salary is commensurate with qualifications and consistent with our pay scales.

The successful applicant will enrol in the very active CRG International PhD program, which includes science and practical courses, a wide range of complementary skills training, access to many courses, mentoring via a thesis committee, and active participation in the organization of seminars, symposia and retreats.

We provide a highly stimulating environment with state-of-the-art infrastructures, and unique professional career development opportunities.

We offer and promote a diverse and inclusive environment and welcomes applicants regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation.

Application procedure

Applications are accepted exclusively online. Proposals must be written in English. Please APPLY through the following link:

Candidates may contact for informal enquiries regarding the application and address scientific enquiries to .

Deadline: June 23rd, 2019


Host Institute