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Computational Biologist

Salary range: £31,498 to £39,729, plus excellent benefits

3 Year Fixed Term Contract

Open Targets

In the last decade, GWAS studies have enabled the discovery of common genetic variation contributing to complex diseases, traits and clinical drug responses. However, important obstacles have hampered our ability to pinpoint causal variants, identify target genes, and disentangle the molecular mechanism by which genotype influences phenotype. Open Targets ( aims to dramatically accelerate this process, and enable the systematic identification and prioritisation of targets suitable for drug development or repositioning. This involves combining large-scale genetic and genomic data to identify and validate the causal links between targets, pathways and diseases.

A Computational Biologist position is available at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI) under the leadership of Dr. Maya Ghoussaini and other senior scientists from Open Targets. This is an exciting opportunity for the successful candidate to integrate genetic and functional genomic datasets to understand disease biology and to speed the discovery of targets for new medicine. Key analyses of this role involve functional annotation of disease-susceptibility regions and important regulatory elements, gene expression and network analyses. The overall purpose is to better understand disease-underlying mechanisms and identify therapeutic targets. 

We therefore welcome candidates with a background in computational biology, genomics or relevant discipline with advanced level of programming skills suitable for functional annotation of susceptibility loci and quantitative genomic analysis. Familiarity with post-GWAS fine-mapping is highly desirable. The candidate will have the opportunity to interact with computational and experimental research teams using cutting edge genomic techniques. The position is part of the translational initiative at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Open Targets. 

Job Reference

Essential Skills

  • Educated to degree level in one of the following fields: Bioinformatics, biostatistics, computational biology, genomics, computer science or equivalent high level work experience.
  • Advanced level programming skills suitable for integrating genomic and bioinformatics datasets and the ability to annotate genetic findings and susceptibility regions.
  • Previous experience with handling epigenetic and transcriptomic data (e.g. RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, microarray-based gene expression, DNA methylation, etc).
  • Demonstrable experience working on large scale projects.
  • Ability to communicate ideas and results effectively.
  • Ability to work independently and organise own workload.
  • Fluent in written and spoken English

Ideal Skills

  • PhD in Bioinformatics or closely related field
  • Familiarity with genome wide association studies and fine-mapping analysis.
  • Previous experience with human genetics data.
  • Statistical skills (significance tests, statistical distributions, fitting of statistical models).
  • Good publication record.

Other information

The project will form part of an Open Targets ( collaboration.

Open Targets is a recently established pioneering public-private initiative between GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen, EMBL-EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute) and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI), located on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton, near Cambridge, UK. Open Targets aims 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, and to share its data openly with the scientific community. The goal of the platform is to harness the power of 'big data' and genome sequencing to improve the success rate for discovering new medicines and share its data openly in the interests of accelerating drug discovery.

Campus Life

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 Wellcome Genome Campus Connecting Science. Connecting Science inspires new thinking, sparks conversation and supports learning by drawing on the ground-breaking research taking place on the Campus. Its mission is to enable everyone to explore genomic science and its impact on research, health and society.

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.

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: 9th April 2017 , however applications will be considered and reviewed on an on-going basis and therefore the post may be filled before the deadline.