Postdoctoral fellow - Statistical Genetics

The Opportunity:

The Trynka Group is looking to recruit a statistical geneticist for a postdoc position at Wellcome Sanger Institute and Open Targets. In this role you will join an exciting and ambitious project to leverage large scale genetic datasets to model allelic series for immune diseases and other complex traits.

 About the role:

Identifying genes affected by multiple naturally occurring genetic variants can inform on the effect sizes associated with gene perturbation, and provide an efficient way to reconstruct drug response curves. For example, loss-of-function variants correspond to complete drug inhibition while non-coding variants that down-regulate gene expression are equivalent to partial suppression. An informative genetic dose-response curve requires a spectrum of genetic variants with different effect sizes on a disease phenotype, as well as effects on intermediate cellular phenotypes which might mediate the risk of disease.

Open Targets is a world leader in integration of large-scale genomic resources for target prioritisation, and so we are in excellent position to systematically construct allelic series. In this role you will explore the existing Open Targets data resources as well as bring in available external data to construct allelic series for immune diseases and other complex traits.

About You:

A good understanding of human genetics is essential for this project. You will work with data from cutting edge sequencing technologies, and therefore a strong statistical background will help you develop tailored analytical frameworks where necessary. You will have access to the Sanger’s world-class computational resources. You will also interact regularly with industry partners within the Open Targets Consortium.



Salary per annum
Full Time or Part Time
Full Time
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Contract Length
3 Years
Job Reference

Essential Skills


-          PhD with significant experience in statistical genetics, genomics, computational biology, or a related discipline

-          Excellent understanding of main genetic concepts (e.g. GWAS, eQTL, colocalization, CRISPR screening etc)

-          Demonstrated expertise in the management and analysis of large datasets

-          Demonstrated knowledge of at least one relevant programming language

Competencies and Behaviours:

-          Excellent communication skills, ability to interact with experimentalists across a multi-disciplinary team to develop and maintain good working relationships

-          Keen to learn and share scientific ideas

-          Attention to detail

-          Excellent problem-solving and data skills

-          Excellent quantitative skills and statistical knowledge

-          Demonstrates Inclusivity and respect for all 

Ideal Skills

-          Experience of writing software and developing novel approaches to analysis of large genomic datasets

-          Proven track record of peer-reviewed publications

-          Experience working with international collaborators

-          Experience providing bioinformatics training

-          Demonstrated interest in transparent, reproducible, and informative data analysis and presentation

-          Knowledge of target identification for early stage drug discovery

Other information

Who we are:

Our group is part of the Human Genetics Program at Wellcome Sanger Institute and we work closely with Open Targets, reflecting our strong drive to deliver translational research that informs new therapies for immune diseases. To do so, we measure, model, and modulate immune cell states in health and disease. We use a variety of genomic tools to understand the impact of human genetic variation on gene function and immune cell phenotypes. Using primary tissues and innovative experimental systems we generate and analyse large scale genomic datasets such as single cell transcriptomics of hundreds of thousands of cells, CRISPR/Cas9 screens, and saturation genome editing.

The environment:

You will join a diverse, supportive and friendly team of scientists, who embody collaborative and open work culture. We place major emphasis on the importance of teamwork and an enjoyable work environment as a foundation for performing internationally leading research.

Application process:

Please apply with your CV and a cover letter outlining your suitability for the role.

Closing Date: 5th February 2021

About Us

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a world leading genomics research centre. Our findings are used to improve health and to understand life on Earth.

Our benefits:

There’s an attractive benefits package on offer at the Wellcome Genome Campus. We appreciate the importance of achieving work-life balance and support this with a number of family and carer-friendly policies. Plus a flexible working policy for those who may wish to amend their working pattern or arrangement.
As well as the usual benefits you would expect, we go much further:

  • 25 days annual leave (extra 1 day to a maximum of 30 days for every year you work)
  • Auto-enrolment into a generous Group Defined Contribution Pension Scheme, with enhanced company contribution (for more information, see our Pensions page)
  • Up to 2 days annual paid volunteering leave
  • Up to 10 days paid Emergency Carers Leave per year
  • Family friendly environment including options for flexible and part-time working, an on-site Workplace Nursery salary Sacrifice Schemes for pre-school children and Summer holiday club
  • Life Assurance is accessible on day 1 for all 
  • Group Income Protection Scheme (if on a contract exceeding 12 months)
  • Enhanced maternity leave and parental leave
  • Access to substantial number of courses and training events onsite
  • Private Healthcare Scheme 
  • Eyecare and Dental payment plans
  • Concessions and discounts from our corporate perks site

Being part of the Wellcome Genome Campus you will be part of the beautiful working environment with an impressive range of benefits, services and facilities also including:

  • Free bus service to and from Campus, covering various routes around Cambridge, Saffron Walden and surrounding villages
  • A car-share initiative
  • Free parking
  • A number of on-site venues where you can meet, eat and socialise with colleagues
  • A thriving Sports and Social Club which provides members with subsidised access to a gym, tennis courts, sports hall, fitness classes and a vibrant social calendar of events

In 2020 we were awarded an Athena SWAN Silver Award. We will consider all individuals without discrimination and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, where everyone can thrive.

About Open Targets

Open Targets is a pioneering public-private partnership between EMBL-EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Wellcome Sanger Institute (Sanger), Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), 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.