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Postdoctoral Fellow - Precision Medicine

Salary £31,115 to £39,004 plus excellent benefits.

Fixed term for 3 years.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled Postdoctoral Fellow in Precision Medicine to join the Soranzo team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (http://www.sanger.ac.uk/research/faculty/nsoranzo/). The post will suit ambitious an and talented individual who is interested in applying their skills to dissect the genetic basis of human disease.

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.

As part of a Sanger-led initiative in Precision Medicine, we are performing whole-genome sequencing thousands of individuals from the INTERVAL Study, an extensively phenotyped UK-wide Bioresource (see http://www.intervalstudy.org.uk for further information). The large-scale application of genome-sequencing to large cohorts of tens to hundreds of thousands of individuals pose a problem of scale and unique analytical challenges. First, the deep phenotyping already available in these cohorts, with thousands of phenotypes measured in a single individual, will require the implementation of scalable analysis tools or robust multivariate analysis methods that can deal with the breadth and depth of these datasets. Second, genome sequencing will bring along challenges in the discovery, interpretation and downstream assessment of rare and private variants, which need to be tackled in order to fulfill the potential of sequencing data in personalized medicine. 

The successful candidate will be primarily responsible for deploying state-of-the art genetic analysis to whole-genome sequencing datasets in a UK population-based cohort. The main aim of this analysis will be the discovery and in-depth characterisation of novel associations with cardiometabolic phenotypes, including high-dimensional haematology and metabolomic measurements and risk factors for cardiometabolic disease. Analyses will focus on both rare sequence genetic variation, and other types of variation such as telomere length polymorphisms and different classes of copy number and structural variants. Depending on skills and interest, there will be opportunities to develop research projects focusing on different aspects of the data, and/or in-depth analyses of specific traits or loci. The appointed researcher will be embedded in an interdisciplinary team of computational scientists, bioinformaticians, statisticians and wet lab scientists. The results will inform efforts to characterise the properties and function of rare and low-frequency sequence variation affecting human complex phenotype.

The project will also involve collaboration with the Metabolic Disease Group at the Sanger Institute (Dr Ines Barroso), and the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit (CEU), Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge (Professor John Danesh and Dr Adam Butterworth).

Job Reference
82819

Essential Skills

  • Applicants should 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 grasp of univariate statistical analysis fundamentals necessary. Experience with multivariate statistics or statistical modelling a plus.
  • Firm grounding in statistical methods for genome data analysis.
  • Documented experience analysing large-scale genetic datasets.
  • Documented previous expertise in complex human traits or disease.
  • Documented experience with main statistical packages for genetic data (e.g. BoltLMM, SNPtest, GCTA).
  • 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.
  • Experience in working with the statistical programming language R. 

Ideal Skills

  • Experience in working with whole-exome or whole-genome sequence data 

Other information

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 days, 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 August 2017, however applications will be considered and reviewed on an on-going basis and therefore the post may be filled before the deadline.