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Postdoctoral Fellow - Population Geneticist (Sandhu Faculty)

Salary range: £31,115 to £39,004 dependent on experience.

Fixed-term 3 years.

Applications are invited for a Population Geneticist to join the Global Health and Population Group led by Dr Sandhu at WTSI. The group has a strong focus on research in Africa, including leading large-scale whole genome sequencing efforts on several thousand individuals to characterise genetic diversity across Africa by integrating ancient and modern African genomes, both at the genome-wide level (e.g. the African Genome Variation Project1) and with focus on complex regions such us the HLA. Additional areas of research broadly include global indigenous populations (e.g. aboriginal Australians2), transcriptomics, whole genome association studies of cardiometabolic and infectious disease traits in African populations and functional studies on iPSC lines.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI) is a world leader in genomic research and has played a major role in large-scale sequencing efforts and in characterising patterns of human sequence variation. The successful candidate will work collaboratively to develop data analysis strategies to curate large-scale next generation sequencing data, including data generated with emerging technologies such as PacBio SMRT® sequencing, 10x Genomics Chromium chemistry and BioNano Irys mapping system. They will have major roles in large collaborative projects such as the Genome Diversity in Africa Project, which includes also a collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) funded by USAID to build a HLA data resource for Africa, and they will address key questions about population genetics in relation to human history and health and disease Africa. An extra element of the work will include research capacity building in bioinformatics and large-scale data analysis in Africa, including supporting the development of a new data centre in Uganda.

The post-holder will also interact with WTSI systems teams, international research groups, and support the work of other research group members, including capacity building projects in Africa. This is an exceptional opportunity for candidates to enhance their knowledge and skills while working at the frontline of global genomics research in a group recognised for their research excellence.

  1. Gurdasani, D et al. The African Genome Variation Project: A framework for medical genetics in Africa. Nature 517(7534):327-32 (2015) doi: 10.1038/nature13997
  2. Malaspinas A-S et al. A genomic history of Aboriginal Australia. Nature (Published online 21 September) (2016) doi:10.1038/nature18299
Job Reference
82585

Essential Skills

  • A PhD in computer science, computational biology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, or similar field;
  • Proven understanding and experience in the fields of statistical and population genetics, data processing, high-throughput data analysis, and genomic databases;
  • Understanding of genome structure is a must;
  • Direct experience processing NGS data (e.g. from Illumina platforms) for the identification of SNPs and structural variants;
  • A clear understanding of population genetics concepts and statistical methods;
  • Firm grasp of univariate statistical analysis fundamentals;
  • Strong computational skills, particularly in data parsing, cleansing, data modelling, analysis, and database design and implementation;
  • Knowledge and experience working in a unix/linux environment;
  • Demonstrated programming skills in shell scripting (e.g. bash, tcsh), interpreted/scripting languages (e.g. Perl, Python, R);
  • Programming skills in compiled language(s) (e.g. Java, C, C++);
  • Experience with cluster computing;
  • Ability to anticipate needs and problems while creating solutions;
  • Good written and verbal communication skills;
  • Ability to review, synthesise, and present scientific data and methods;
  • Experience providing advice, training and support to other researchers in the areas of bioinformatics and data analysis;
  • Demonstrable good time management and project management skills;
  • Experience leading collaborative projects independently;
  • The ability to work within a team.

Ideal Skills

  • Experience processing NGS data from the emerging technologies developed by PacBio, 10x Genomics, BioNano, Dovetail, ect.
  • Experience in using and integrating information from the main public bioinformatics resources;
  • Experience with multivariate statistics or statistical modelling;
  • Familiarity with the capabilities and limitations of NGS platforms and informatics pipelines, so that data can be appropriately integrated into analyses.

Other information

The successful applicant may be required to travel occasionally to Africa.

The Sanger Institute is a charitably funded research centre focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease. We use state of the art large-scale genomic approaches to drive world-leading projects to uncover the basis of genetic and infectious disease. Our goal is to provide results that can be translated into diagnostics, treatments or therapies that reduce global health burdens.

The Institute is located near Cambridge, UK on the stunning Wellcome Genome Campus. This growing and dynamic site is the British hub of genomic science. It hosts the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), Open Targets, a Biodata Innovation Centre and will soon host Genomics England Limited’s 100,000 Genomes Sequencing Centre. The Campus is also home to the Wellcome Genome Campus Courses, Conferences and Public Engagement (CCPE) programme. The CCPE programme delivers training and engagement focussed around genomics, its applications, and implications.  Its vision is to inspire a range of audiences both on the Campus and beyond it, and make the world of genomics open and accessible to all.

To help researchers to develop their skills and networks, the Institute hosts a range of scientific seminars with internal and invited speakers, scientific group meetings and skills development workshops. In addition the Campus is home to the Wellcome Trust Advanced Course and Scientific Conferences programme and the Wellcome Trust Conference Centre.

Our Benefits include: Defined Contribution Pension Scheme, Group Income Protection, Healthcare scheme, Childcare Vouchers, Workplace Nursery and 25 days Annual Leave, increasing by one day per year up to a maximum of 30, plus Bank Holidays. We also have a gym, two cafes, dining facilities, and a free campus bus service. Our thriving Sports and Social Club provides many opportunities to meet with people working across the campus.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute welcomes applications from all candidates irrespective of age, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief, or marital or civil partnership status.

Please include a covering letter and CV with your application.

Closing date for applications: 2nd January 2017; however applications will be considered and reviewed on an on-going basis and therefore the post may be filled before the deadline.