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Postdoctoral Fellow - Functional Genomics

Open Targets

Salary range £31,897 - £39,240 (dependent on experience) plus excellent benefits

Fixed term for 3 years

We are looking to appoint a computational postdoctoral fellow in functional genomics to work with Emma Davenport and Gosia Trynka’s groups at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. This project is particularly suitable for a candidate with a mix of experimental and computational expertise and an ambition to dive into the analysis of a large single cell dataset.

Genome-wide associations studies (GWAS) have transformed our understanding of the genetic basis of autoimmunity, and have identified hundreds of genetic variants that confer disease susceptibility. However, the mechanisms by which most of these variants drive disease risk remain unclear, and the challenge of linking disease-associated variants to a causal mechanisms has limited the translational value of GWAS for drug development.

As part of an interdisciplinary team of experimentalists, clinical and industry collaborators you will lead an exciting project to map expression quantitative trait loci using large scale single cell RNA-seq data generated from 500 healthy and immune disease patients (sceQTLs).  This is an excellent opportunity to be engaged in all aspects of a large-scale project, from planning and data generation through to analysis and novel discovery. Our goal is to accelerate drug discovery by integrating immune disease GWAS variants with the sceQTLs maps generated in this project to identify the most promising therapeutic targets for follow up by the industry partners working closely with us. This project forms part of the collaboration with Open Targets ( and provides a great opportunity to deliver real translational solutions working at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, with industry partners including GSK, Celgene, Sanofi, Takeda and Biogen.

Job Reference

Essential Skills

  • PhD in a relevant subject area (e.g. Biology, Genetics, Computational Biology, Statistics)
  • Ability to communicate effectively with interdisciplinary team members and collaborators
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to work with others in a friendly and collegiate environment
  • Demonstrable high level of communication skills both written and oral
  • A passion for problem solving and creative thinking
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Experience in the analysis of functional genomic datasets (e.g. gene expression datasets)
  • Proficiency in a scripting language (e.g. R, Python, Perl)

Ideal Skills

  • Experience with cell culture
  • Experience with genomic protocols e.g. RNA-seq, library prep

Other information

Open Targets is a pioneering public-private partnership between EMBL-EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Wellcome Sanger Institute (Sanger), Celgene, Sanofi and Takeda, located on the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, near Cambridge, UK.

Open Targets brings together expertise from six complementary institutions to generate evidence on the biological validity of therapeutic targets and provide an initial assessment of the likely effectiveness of pharmacological intervention on these targets, using genome-scale experiments and analysis. Open Targets aims to provide an R&D framework that applies to all aspects of human disease, to improve the success rate for discovering new medicines and share its data openly in the interests of accelerating drug discovery.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a charitably funded research centre and committed to training the next generation of genome scientists. Focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease and a world leader in the genomic revolution, our mission is to use genome sequences to advance understanding of human and pathogen biology in order to improve human health. We aim to provide results that can be translated into diagnostics, treatments or therapies that reduce global health burdens. Our science is large-scale and organised into Programmes, led by our Faculty who conceive and deliver our science, and supported by our Scientific Operations teams responsible for all data production pipelines at the Institute.

Our Campus: Set over 125 acres, the stunning and dynamic Wellcome Genome Campus is the biggest aggregate concentration of people in the world working on the common theme of Genomes and BioData. It brings together a diverse and exceptional scientific community, committed to delivering life-changing science with the reach, scale and imagination to pursue some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

Our Benefits: Our employees have access to a comprehensive range of benefits and facilities including:

  •  Defined Contribution Pension Scheme and Life Assurance
  • Group Income Protection
  • Private Health Insurance
  • 25 days annual leave, increasing by one day a year to a maximum of 30
  • Family friendly environment including options for flexible and part-time working, a childcare voucher scheme, Campus Nursery and Summer holiday club
  • Two days paid Employee Volunteering Leave a year
  • Employee Discount Scheme
  • Campus Gym, tennis courts, cricket pitch and sports hall plus a range of dining facilities
  • Active Campus Sports and Social Club
  • Free Campus Bus Service

Genome Research Limited hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and will consider all individuals without discrimination and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, where everyone can thrive.

Please include a CV and a cover letter describing your skills with your application.

Closing date: 28th July 2019