Dr Jan Engelstaedter

ARC Future Fellow

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
+61 7 336 57959


I am broadly interested in the evolutionary biology of sexual processes, parasitism, and the interplay between these phenomena. Most of my work involves mathematical models, but I also do experimental and field work. Currently, my research focuses on the following topics:

  • Reproductive parasites. These parasites, which include the famous bacterium Wolbachia, infect many insect species and manipulate the reproduction of their hosts in fascinating ways.
  • Recombination in bacteria. Bacteria reproduce clonally, but many still exchange genes with other bacteria, for example through plasmids or the uptake of free DNA from the environment. I'm especially interested in how recombination can affect the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
  • Host-parasite coevolution. Hosts and parasites interact in an antagonistic manner, which may produce interesting coevolutionary dynamics. I am also scrutinizing the Red Queen hypothesis, which posits that host-parasite coevolution can produce selection for recombination and sexual reproduction.
  • Parthenogenesis in animals. Although most animals reproduce sexually, some species have given up sex and consist of asexually reproducing females only. I am interested in the factors that enhance or inhibit the evolution of such parthenogenetic species and on their long-term evolutionary fate.



  • Doctor of Philosophy, University College London


  • Reeve, James, Ortiz-Barrientos, Daniel and Engelstädter, Jan (2016) The evolution of recombination rates in finite populations during ecological speciation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London - B - Biological Sciences, 283 1841: . doi:10.1098/rspb.2016.1243

  • Lenormand, Thomas, Engelstaedter, Jan, Johnston, Susan E., Wijnker, Erik and Haag, Christoph R. (2016) Evolutionary mysteries in meiosis. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, 371 1706: . doi:10.1098/rstb.2016.0001

  • Ambur, Ole Herman, Engelstaedter, Jan, Johnsen, Pal J., Miller, Eric L. and Rozen, Daniel E. (2016) Steady at the wheel: conservative sex and the benefits of bacterial transformation. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, 371 1706: . doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0528

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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Nor, Igor, Hermelin, Danny, Charlat, Sylvain, Engelstädter, Jan, Reuter, Max, Duron, Olivier and Sagot, Marie-France (2010). Mod/Resc Parsimony Inference. In: Amihood Amir and Laxmi Parida, Combinatorial Pattern Matching: 21st Annual Symposium proceedings. 21st Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Pattern Matching, Brooklyn, NY, United States, (202-213). 21-23 June 2010. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-13509-5_19

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision