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Postdoctoral Fellow in Schistosome Genomics

Salay range: £31115 to £39004pa plus excellent benefits. 

Fixed-term for 3 years

In the Parasite genomics group, we use large-scale sequencing approaches to study parasitic diseases of global importance, with a particular emphasis on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). We are particularly focusing on the biology of schistosomes, one of the most important and neglected parasites, which infects 250 million of the world’s poorest people.  

We are seeking an enthusiastic and ambitious postdoctoral fellow to work on the evolutionary genomics of Schistosoma and related schistosomatids. You will take advantage of recent advances in rapidly producing high-quality assemblies and utilize our recently completed high-quality assemblies of schistosome autosomes and sex chromosomes.   Using large-scale comparative genomics of schistosomes, you will identify genomic features shared across different evolutionary scales and find lineage-specific differences associated with different host tropisms and other traits.

Our lab generates extensive functional genomic data for S. mansoni and you will be able to take advantage of the Institute’s world-leading expertise and resources for genome sequencing and mapping. The ongoing functional genomics work in the group means that it will be possible to collaborate with other members of the team to test hypotheses arising from in silico work.

The exact project will depend on the skills and interests of successful applicant, but could include:

  • Identify conserved non-coding elements and investigate their evolution across divergent schistosomatids.
  • Investigate the genomic basis of convergent host tropism between two different mammalian-infective lineages (Schistosomatium and Schistosoma) that are independently derived from avian-infective ancestors 
  • Reconstruct the evolution of schistosome sex chromosomes and understand the movement of genes between sex chromosomes and autosomes. (Schistosome are unusual amongst parasitic flatworms, in having evolved dioecy and a ZW sex determination system.)

Key responsibilities:

  • to develop, drive and deliver cutting edge research on the genome biology of schistosomes
  • assembly and annotation of genomic sequence data, leading to the preparation of manuscripts for publication
  • development and validation of novel analytical methods where required
  • effective communication with collaborators and colleagues and through presentation at international meetings
  • design of spin-off research projects and follow-up studies


Job Reference

Essential Skills

  • Strong track record of academic achievement, including a PhD or equivalent in a relevant biological subject
  • Experience and strong technical skills in genomics or bioinformatics and ideally in some combination of these disciplines
  • Strong working knowledge of statistical analysis
  • Excellent problem solving skills     
  • Demonstrable experience and initiative in developing and leading projects
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

Ideal Skills

  • Experience of working on schistosomes
  • Detailed understanding of molecular biology
  • Experience collaborating with field researchers, epidemiologists or clinicians
  • Experience in combining computational and laboratory work
  • Experience of working with next-generation sequencing data
  • Experience working in a Unix computing environment
  • Up to date knowledge of relevant scientific literature
  • Good organisational/project management skills

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. 

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 the 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.

Closing date for applications: 7th September 2017. Please include a covering letter and CV with your application.