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Postdoctoral Fellow - Complex Disease Genetics

Open Targets

Salary range: £31,897-£39,986 per annum depending on experience plus excellent benefits.

Fixed Term Contract for 3 Years.

Applications are invited for a 3-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Wellcome Sanger Institute based jointly in the teams of Dr. Carl Anderson (Human Genetics Programme, and Dr. Maya Ghoussaini (Open Targets). This is an exciting opportunity for you to bring together cutting-edge genetic and genomic datasets to identify novel candidate therapeutic targets for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a chronic and debilitating disease of the gastrointestinal tract that affects 0.5% of the European population. The etiological basis is poorly understood and, as a result, existing therapeutics often fail, leaving patients to face life-changing surgical procedures. 

Genome-wide association studies have identified 240 regions of the human genome associated with IBD susceptibility. As for the majority of complex disease GWAS hits, the causal variants at the majority of these loci are unknown but are believed to have their effect on disease by changing the expression of nearby genes. In order to extract causal biological insights from IBD GWAS discoveries, and identify potentially novel therapeutic targets, a vital next step is to identify these genetically dysregulated genes and discover which other phenotypes these are associated with.

During this fellowship, you will lead a collaborative project to build a causal evidence base for every gene within IBD associated GWAS loci. Your affiliation with the Ghoussaini Team will bring access to the massive cross-disease genetic and genomic datasets aggregated by Open Targets and presented in their web-based portals ( and As a member of the Anderson group, you will also have access to the latest large-scale genetic association data for IBD.

Open Targets ( is a public-private initiative between the EMBL-EBI, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Biogen, Celgene, Takeda, Sanofi and the Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI). You will benefit from working closely with other scientists from Open Targets partner institutions with expertise in statistical genetics, inflammatory bowel disease and drug development. As such, this fellowship will suit a self-motivated individual with good communication skills who is looking to make a personal contribution to genomic research at the interface of academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

Job Reference

Essential Skills

  • Ability to work with others in a collegiate and collaborative environment.
  • Motivation and ambition to make a personal contribution to genomic research
  • A PhD in a relevant subject (genetics, functional genomics, computer science, maths)
  • Experience with large-scale computational analysis
  • Statistical/computational genetics skills and an analytical mindset
  • Experience with computer programming & scripting
  • An attention to detail and a drive for rigor
  • Previous experience with analysis of genotype, sequence or functional genomic data.

Ideal Skills

  • Strong scientific publication record
  • An interest in understanding the biological basis of immune-mediated diseases

Other information

Open Targets is a pioneering public-private initiative between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Biogen, Takeda, Celgene, Sanofi, EMBL-EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute) and the WSI (Wellcome Sanger Institute), located on the Wellcome 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, to improve the success rate for discovering new medicines and share its data openly in the interests of accelerating drug discovery.

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:

  • 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 and Campus Nursery
  • 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 hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and will consider all individuals without discrimination and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, where everyone can thrive.

Please include a covering letter and CV with your application.

Closing date: 21st April 2019, however applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and therefore the post may be filled before the deadline.