The department evolutionary theory uses mathematics and computer simulations to study the dynamics of evolution. Our team is interdisciplinary, with backgrounds ranging from biology, physics, and mathematics to computer science and economics. Our goal is, on the one hand, to model biological systems with a close connection to empirical research, on the other hand we develop the mathematical toolbox of theoretical biology further and aim to generate new conceptual insights. The biological problems we address include the emergence and maintenance of polymorphisms in natural populations, the evolution of cooperation and the evolutionary dynamics of cancer.

The department is organised into the three main themes Cancer Evolution, Metaorganisms, as well as Population Structure and Game Theory. In addition, the department is hosting four research groups, which independently pursue their own research directions.

The department has set up a website to inform about the current Corona crisis with a particular focus on Germany and Schleswig-Holstein.

Cancer Evolution

The accumulation of mutations within the cells of a tissue can be viewed as an evolutionary process. We use mathematical and computational models to gain insights into the dynamics of these processes. In collaboration with clinicians, experimentalists and bioinformaticians, we have so far mostly focussed on blood diseases, but several general insights can be used to construct theoretical models for other systems.

 
 

Metaorganisms

Why do individuals from different taxonomic groups and even kingdoms of life interact with each other within a metaorganism in a generally beneficial way and thereby form a unit of selection? This question is one of the most fascinating, unresolved mysteries in current evolutionary biology. We develop mathematical models to understand interactions within the metaorganism in close collaboration with the CRC 1182 Origin and Function of Metaorganisms.

Population Structure and
Game Theory

While the evolution of cooperation is the most popular topic in evolutionary game theory, the game theoretical approach offers much more to evolutionary biology. We are interested in eco-evoluionary dynamics under frequency and density dependent selection, in the evolution of multicellular units, but also in the general role that population structure (in terms of groups, networks or age) plays for evolutionary dynamics.

 

Research Group
Microbial Evolutionary Dynamics

In the Microbial Evolutionary Dynamics group, we use bacterial and phage populations to empirically investigate fundamental evolutionary processes. Our over-arching theme is the evolution and maintenance of genetic structure – how and why particular genetic entities come to exist.

Jenna

Dr. Jenna Gallie

Research Group
Theoretical Models of Eco-evolutionary Dynamics

Evolution proceeding at ecological time scales changes the way we approach traditional evolutionary dynamics. We are interested in understanding the evolutionary change in interactions in the light of the ecology in which they take place.
 

Chaitanya

Dr. Chaitanya Gokhale

Research Group
Stochastic Evolutionary Dynamics

Our research lies at the intersections of evolution with ecology and with medicine. Using mathematical models, we study which factors promote or hamper rapid adaptation to changing environments.

 

Hildegard

Dr. Hildegard Uecker

Research Group
Dynamics of Microbial Collectives

Microbial ecology often deploys in the context of collectives -- communities, biofilms, multicellular aggregates. We inquire how the properties of such collectives emerge and evolve based on cellular-level mechanisms.

 

Silvia

Dr. Silvia De Monte

The Team

Arne
Prof. Dr. Arne Traulsen

Director

Jenna
Dr. Jenna Gallie

Group leader

Chaitanya
Dr. Chaitanya Gokhale

Group leader

Silvia
Dr. Silvia De Monte

Group leader

Hildegard
Dr. Hildegard Uecker

Group leader

Ursula
Ursula Krützfeldt

Secretary

Maren
Maren Lehmann

Workshop Coordination

Gökce
Dr. Gökce Ayan

Postdoc (Gallie group)

Marvin
Dr. Florence Bansept

Postdoc

Maria
Dr. Maria Bargués i Ribera

Postdoc (Gokhale group)

Gunda
Gunda Dechow-Seligmann

Technician

Mathieu
Mathieu Forget

PhD student (De Monte group)

Yuanxiao
Yuanxiao Gao

PhD student

Stefano
Dr. Stefano Giaimo

Postdoc

Stefano
Dr. Félix Geoffroy

Postdoc (Uecker group)

Anuradha
Dr. Anuradha Mukherjee

Postdoc (Gallie group)

Luka
Christin Nyhoegen

PhD student (Uecker group)

Luka
Dr. Luka Opasic, M.D.

Postdoc

Yuriy
Dr. Yuriy Pichugin

Postdoc

Michael
Dr. Michael Raatz

Postdoc

Mario
Mario Santer

PhD student (Uecker group)

Saumil
Saumil Shah

Msc student

Michael
Dr. Michael Sieber

Researcher

Vandana
Dr. Vandana Venkateswaran

Postdoc (Gokhale group)

Noemi
Noemi Woltermann

PhD student

Román
Román Zapién-Campos

PhD student

Prateek
Dr. Prateek Verma

Postdoc (Gokhale group)

Alumni

 
 
last known coordinates
Dr. Jordi Arranz
Postdoc
CTO & Co-Founder at Delphika
Dr. Maria Abou Chakra
Postdoc
Postdoc at Donelly Center (Toronto, Canada)
Dr. Philipp Altrock
Phd student, Postdoc
Assistant Faculty Member at Moffit Cancer Center (Tampa, FL, USA)
Dr. Benedikt Bauer
Phd student, Postdoc
Research Associate at Evotec AG, Hamburg
Dr. Frederic Bertels
Postdoc
Group leader at MPI Plön (Department of Microbial Population Biology)
Dr. Marvin Böttcher
Phd student, Postdoc
Software Engineer at freiheit.com
Dr. Kathrin Büttner
Phd student
Postdoc at Kiel University (Animal Husbandry)
Dr. Silke Bumann
Postdoc
Postdoc at University of Hamburg
Dr. Pete Czuppon
Postdoc
Postdoc at College de France (Paris, France)
Dr. Julian Garcia
Postdoc
Senior Lecturer at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia)
Dr. Jelena Grujic
visiting Phd student
Postdoc Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium (Artificial Intelligence Lab)
Dr. Christian Hilbe
Postdoc
Max Planck Research Group Leader at MPI for Evolutionary Biology, Plön
Dr. Laura Hindersin
Phd student, Postdoc
Statistician at Koehler eClinical GmbH, Freiburg
Dr. Weini Huang
Phd student, Postdoc
Lecturer at Queen Mary University (London, UK) and tenured group leader at Sun Yat-Sen University (China)
Sonja Jäckle
MSc student
PhD student at Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Medicine MEVIS
Dr. Thijs Janzen
Postdoc
Postdoc & Scientific Programmer at University of Groningen (Netherlands)
Dr. Zahra Khomarbaghi
Phd student
Dr. Xiang-Yi (Cindy) Li
Phd student
Ambizione group leader at Neuchatel (France)
Sarah Schoenmakers
MSc student
PhD student at Oldenburg University
Albert Krewinkel
Phd student
Software Engineer at freiheit.com
Ricarda Mißfeldt
MSc student
PhD student at Lübeck University
Marius Möller
MSc student
PhD student at Queen Mary University (London, UK)
Prof. Dr. Hye Jin Park
Postdoc
Group leader at Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics (Pohang, South Korea)
Dr. Jorge Peña
Postdoc
Assistant Professor (Institute for Advanced Study, Toulouse)
Saul Pierotti
Intern (Gallie group)
Dr. Han The Anh
visiting Phd student
Lecturer at Teesside University (Middlesbrough, UK)
Dr. Torsten Röhl
Scientific Programmer
Teacher at FSG Preetz
Vanessa Ress
MSc student
PhD Student at University of Hamburg
Dr. Dave Rogers
Postdoc
Scientist at MPI Plön (Department of Microbial Population Biology)
Dr. Hanna Schenk
Phd student
Postdoc at German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Dr. Yixian Song
Postdoc
Data Analytics Developer at Ericsson, Nanjing (China)
Shreyansh Umale
Intern
 
Dr. Benjamin Werner
Phd student, Postdoc
Group Leader at Barts Cancer Institute (London, UK)
Prof. Dr. Bin Wu
Postdoc
Associate Professor, School of Sciences, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (China)
Prof. Dr. Da Zhou
Visiting Scientist
Associate Professor, School of Mathematical Sciences, Xiamen University (China)

Opportunities

General advice

We are a truly interdisciplinary department and people working here have backgrounds ranging from theoretical physics and computer science to biology and medicine. Former scientists from the department have found faculty positions in computer science, economics, mathematics, and, of course, biology. Everyone brings very different skillsets and the combination of them is crucial for the success of our work. A central aspect in all this is that applicants are highly motivated to do research in our department. Thus, please let us know in your application why our department is the right place for you and why you are the right person for us! How did you hear about us? Which papers did you read? Did someone inspire you? Tell us about the path that led you to your interest in the department! Do you already have a concrete project in mind that you would like to work on? Or are you interested in the general area? Both of these are fine, but it is important for both sides that expectations are aligned. In the end, there must be the right match on both sides - you need to be sure that this is the place to develop your career further and we need to be sure that you will be a great colleague that fits in scientifically and as a person!

Formalities

If you apply for a job at the MPI Plön, please send

  1. Your CV, including a publication list and contact details of at least two references.
  2. A letter of motivation why you are interested in joining the department.

Current job openings

  1. Our partner group in Warsaw, the Dioscuri Centre for Physics and Chemistry of Bacteria is currently hiring 5 PostDocs.

  2. MPI Plön: Excellent and highly motivated candidates looking for a PhD or PostDoc position are always strongly encouraged to apply, we often have open positions available or can jointly prepare applications for external funding (contact Arne Traulsen )!
  3. Applicants interested in joining one of the departmental research groups should contact Dr. Jenna Gallie, Dr. Chaitanya Gokhale, Dr. Hildegard Uecker, or Dr. Silvia De Monte directly.
Neutrality in the Metaorganism

PLoS Biology
17:e3000298 (2019)

M. Sieber, L. Pita, N. Weiland-Bräuer, P. Dirksen, J. Wang, B. Mortzfeld, S. Franzenburg, R. A. Schmitz, J. F. Baines, S. Fraune, U. Hentschel, H. Schulenburg, T. C. G. Bosch and A. Traulsen

| doi

Exploring and mapping the universe of evolutionary graphs identifies structural properties affecting fixation probability and time

Communications Biology
2, 137 (2019)

M. Möller, L. Hindersin and A. Traulsen

| doi

How many samples are needed to infer truly clonal mutations from heterogenous tumours?

BMC Cancer
19, 403 (2019)

L. Opasic, D. Zhou, B. Werner, D. Dingli and A. Traulsen

| doi

Generation Time Measures the Trade-Off between Survival and Reproduction in a Life Cycle

The American Naturalist
accepted (2019)

S. Giaimo and A. Traulsen

| doi

Coordinates

August-Thienemann-Str. 2, 24306 Plön, Germany