The functions of bacteria are controlled on the molecular level by networks of genes, mRNAs, proteins, metabolites, and their mutual interactions. The elucidation of the structure of these regulatory networks has much progressed as a result of extensive work in molecular biology, for instance through the application of high-throughput experimental techniques. Most of the time, however, it is not well understood how the dynamic behaviour of the network emerges from the interactions between its numerous molecular components. This has called forth an increasing interest in the mathematical modelling and computer simulation of the dynamics of bacterial regulatory networks, in combination with high-precision measurements of gene expression.
Depending on the educational background and the research interests of the candidate, the internship will focus on one of the following topics :
The development of models of metabolic and genetic networks in the bacterium Escherichia coli ;
The identification and analysis of these models to better understand and control the networks ;
The validation of the models by means of lab experiments.
The candidate is expected to have a solid background in one of the following domains : biology, computer science, applied mathematics, control theory, or physics. An open mind, the capability to work independently, and good communicative skills are required for this interdisciplinary project.