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Postdoctoral Fellow in integrative computational biology

Salary £31,115 to £34,151 plus excellent benefits.

Fixed term for 3 years.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled Postdoctoral Fellow in integrative computational biology to join the Soranzo team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (http://www.sanger.ac.uk/research/faculty/nsoranzo/). The post will suit an ambitious and talented computational biologist who is interested in applying his/her skills at the interface of human disease and regulatory genomics.

The Soranzo team at the Sanger Institute studies genomic predisposition to cardiometabolic risk. In the last ten years, we have led international efforts to discover genetic variants associated with both established and emerging risk factors in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and immunity. Distinguishing features of our research are the focus on large-scale science, the use of genome sequencing for genomic exploration, and a focus on high-dimensional (‘omic’) phenotypes, including metabolomics and gene expression phenotypes.

This project will focus on a main challenge of unravelling the functional consequences of human sequence variation discovered in our laboratory (e.g. Gieger et al Nature 2011, van der Harst et al Nature 2012, Astle et al. Cell 2016). The successful candidate will be primarily responsible for computational biology analyses integrating rich genomic datasets with molecular and cellular data from primary blood cells and relevant reference cell lines. Genomic datasets will include whole-genome sequencing and highly statistically powered association studies based on SNP arrays (e.g. UK BioBank) and whole-genome sequencing. Molecular datasets will include gene expression, promoter capture, histone modifications, methylation and transcription factor data generated in our laboratory and publically available datasets (e.g. from the BLUEPRINT and ENCODE projects). The primary aim of this work will be to characterise molecular mechanisms underlying causal genetic variants associated with haematological traits and disease. These results will inform large-scale functional genomic explorations using massively parallel reporter assays and other wet-lab techniques. The work of the post-holder is expected to lead to high-impact publications. 

This researcher will be embedded in the NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Unit in Donor Health and Genomics, and specifically in Theme 1: Determinants of donation-related biomarkers. The overall purpose of the research theme is to identify and characterise genomic and other factors associated with the capacity to give blood, informing evidence-based strategies to prevent blood donor ill health and blood donation deferral. The selected candidate will thus be embedded in an interdisciplinary team of computational scientists, bioinformaticians, statisticians and wet lab scientists seeking to study the functional impact of rare human sequence variation in complex traits and disease. The project will also involve collaboration with the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit (CEU), Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge (Professor John Danesh and Drs Adam Butterworth and Dirk Paul) and the University of Oxford (Professor Dave Roberts). More information about the BTRU can be found at http://donorhealth-btru.nihr.ac.uk/index.html.

Job Reference
82791

Essential Skills

  • Applicants should ideally have a PhD in a highly numerate subject (e.g. natural sciences, mathematics, statistics or computer science) or have a degree in another subject coupled with extensive experience working with quantitative data.
  • Firm grounding in statistical methods for biological data analysis.
  • Proven understanding and experience in the fields of genomics, data processing, high-throughput data analysis, and genomic databases for NGS genomics data (e.g. RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq). Understanding of genome structure a must.
  • Strong computational skills, particularly in data parsing, cleansing, data modeling, analysis, and database design and implementation.
  • Programming skills in Perl, Python, C, C++ or equivalent languages.
  • Knowledge and experience working in a Unix/Linux environment.
  • Ability to review, synthesise, and present scientific data and methods. Good writing and verbal communication skills.
  • Track record of delivering complex scientific projects through to publication. 
  • Excellent communication, organisational and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to work to tight timelines, both independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to communicate efficiently with a diverse array of scientific expertise.
  • Enthusiasm, commitment and attention to detail.
  • Ability to independently develop, assimilate and deploy a research theme.

Ideal Skills

  • Documented interest in human regulatory genomics
  • Experience with cluster computing 

Other information

Postdoctoral Fellows are typically in their first or second postdoctoral position as part of a period of early career research training. Successful applicant(s) who have submitted their PhD thesis and are awaiting their PhD award are encouraged to apply. This position is initially for a fixed term for 3 years.

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:  24th July 2017, however applications will be considered and reviewed on an on-going basis and therefore the post may be filled before the deadline.