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Postdoctoral Fellow - Statistical Genomics

Salary in the region of £31,503 - £39,492 (dependent on experience) plus excellent benefits

Fixed term for 3 years

We are seeking to appoint a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow in statistical genomics to join Hilary Martin’s nascent group at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

The majority of genetic studies of disease have been conducted in populations with European ancestry, and many of the findings from these do not translate into other ethnic groups. Extending these studies to other populations is important for targeted risk prediction and personalized medicine. Our group focuses on genomics in understudied populations with high levels of parental relatedness (consanguinity), which have unique features that provide exciting research opportunities (e.g. longer runs of homozygosity, large pedigrees, higher rates of human knockouts, giving greater power for many analyses). We work closely with the individuals and populations we’re studying in community engagement and dissemination of our scientific findings.

You will drive exciting new projects using genomic data from large cohorts of richly phenotyped individuals enriched for parental relatedness, including East London Genes and Health (currently N~30,000 British South Asians), Born in Bradford (N=12,000, ~half with Pakistani ancestry) , and Deciphering Developmental Disorders (N=10,000 trios, mixed ancestries). You will work with electronic health record data in collaboration with the new Health Data Research UK institutes in Cambridge and London.

The primary responsibility will be to develop and implement methods for genomic analysis of large-scale exome sequencing and genotype chip data. The aim is to infer the role of population genetic processes in shaping genetic variation in populations with high rates of cousin marriage, and explore the contribution of autozygosity to the genetic architecture of rare and complex diseases and incorporate this into better population-specific risk predictors. The precise projects will be tailored to the successful applicant’s interests and expertise, but could include: 1) inferring which genes or genomic regions are under certain types of selection, and leveraging this to inform discovery of disease genes; 2) inferring historical patterns of parental relatedness, and estimating the age of variants under recessive selection; 3) quantifying the contribution of different types of genetic variation and inheritance modes to various diseases. The latter will build on recent work in the group which has focused on quantifying differences in genetic architecture of rare developmental disorders between different populations.

There is a strong commitment to personal and professional development with the group, and you will be encouraged to propose and develop your own ideas/methods within the scope of the group’s interests, and build-up a strong academic profile.

You will collaborate closely with other groups at the Sanger Institute (particularly the Hurles group) and elsewhere. The post will benefit from the Sanger Institute’s capability for the generation and analysis of large-scale genetic datasets, including a 15000+ core computational cluster, the largest in life science research in Europe, and multiple petabytes of high-speed cluster file systems.

Job Reference

Essential Skills

  • PhD in Statistical Genetics, Statistics or a relevant area
  • Strong interest in using statistics to help solve biological problems
  • Proficient programmer (e.g. Python, R, Perl, C++) and user of cluster computing

Personal Attributes

  • Ability to work with others in a friendly and collegiate environment, but also to work independently
  • Ambition to make a personal contribution to genomic research
  • Ability to communicate effectively with team members and collaborators, including communicating statistical concepts to biologists
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Ability to work to tight timelines

Ideal Skills

  • Experience in the analysis of large genetic datasets (genotype chip or sequencing data)
  • Experience in analysis of electronic health record data

Other information

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a charitably funded research centre and committed to training the next generation of genome scientists. Focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease and a world leader in the genomic revolution, our mission is to use genome sequences to advance understanding of human and pathogen biology in order to improve human health. We aim to provide results that can be translated into diagnostics, treatments or therapies that reduce global health burdens. Our science is large-scale and organised into Programmes, led by our Faculty who conceive and deliver our science, and supported by our Scientific Operations teams responsible for all data production pipelines at the Institute.

Our Campus: Set over 125 acres, the stunning and dynamic Wellcome Genome Campus is the biggest aggregate concentration of people in the world working on the common theme of Genomes and BioData. It brings together a diverse and exceptional scientific community, committed to delivering life-changing science with the reach, scale and imagination to pursue some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

Our Benefits: Our employees have access to a comprehensive range of benefits and facilities including:

  • Group Defined Contribution Pension Scheme and Life Assurance
  • Group Income Protection
  • Private Health Insurance
  • 25 days annual leave, increasing by one day a year to a maximum of 30
  • Family friendly environment including options for flexible and part-time working, a childcare voucher scheme, Campus Nursery and Summer holiday club
  • Two days paid Employee Volunteering Leave a year
  • Employee Discount Scheme
  • Campus Gym, tennis courts, cricket pitch and sports hall plus a range of dining facilities
  • Active Campus Sports and Social Club
  • Free Campus Bus Service

Genome Research Limited is an Equal Opportunity employer. As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and promoting equality in careers in science, we hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of activity. We will consider all applicants without discrimination on grounds of disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity leave status, race or national or ethnic origin, age, religion or belief, gender identity or re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, protected veteran status (if applicable) or any other characteristic protected by law. We are open to a range of UK-based flexible working options including part-time or full-time employment as well as flexible hours due to caring or other commitments.

Please include a covering letter and CV with your application.  This will be a rolling advert, so applications will be considered and reviewed on an on-going basis and therefore the post may be filled at any time

Informal enquires can be directed to