PhD project: The physics of predation

Project description

Predatory behaviour presents a diverse range of exciting problems for the physicist, from the strange connection between prime numbers and the life cycles of cicadas [1] to the packing of DNA inside a bacteriophage [2]. In this project you will look at these kind of problems in a model bacterial predator-prey system (Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus preying on Escherichia coli). We will investigate this system at all levels, from the detailed hydrodynamic and electrostatic interactions between the two bacteria, to large-scale population dynamics and evolution. There will be opportunities for both experimental and theoretical work, and candidates with the desire to partake in both are particularly encouraged to apply.

[1] Campos et al. "Emergence of Prime Numbers as the Result of Evolutionary Strategy" Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 098107 (2004).

[2] Ali et al. "Polymer packaging and ejection in viral capsids: shape matters." Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 208102 (2006).

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