Postdoctoral researcher in Gene Expression at The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), EMBL-EBI, Hinxton near Cambridge, UK


We are seeking to recruit a Postdoctoral Fellow for a position in the Thornton Research Group, working closely with the Gene Expression Team at EMBL-EBI and the Open Targets team, co-located on the Wellcome Genome Campus, near Cambridge, UK.

The aims of the project are twofold:
(1) To develop meta-analysis methods for identifying gene expression signatures and linking these to disease phenotypes. 
(2) To investigate links between rare diseases and complex diseases with similar phenotypes, using expression data as an intermediate phenotype. 

The Open Targets project is a collaborative effort involving teams in the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute, GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen and Takeda through a public-private initiative aiming at generating evidence on the validity of therapeutic targets, and is committed to sharing its data openly with the scientific community.

Your role

You will work closely with our pharma collaborators in Open Targets initially to identify gene signatures for Alzheimer’s disease progression phenotypes, but the approach will also be extended to other diseases. You will analyse datasets and develop new methods for signature derivation and also applications to specific diseases. This will address the challenging problem of how we diagnose diseases and identify their causes and possible therapeutics. Your methods will directly contribute to the data production pipelines of the Expression Atlas, which is one of EBI’s core open resources. 

The atlas provides a powerful route to find information about gene and protein expression across species and biological conditions, such as different tissues, cell types, developmental stages and diseases among others. There are now expression data for more than 3,000 experiments (microarray and RNA-sequencing) from over 30 different organisms. Analyses on human disease data are directly fed into the Target Validation Platform of the Open Targets project and this project will contribute to this platform by providing expression disease signatures.

You have

  • PhD degree in Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Computer Science or Mathematics
  • Bioinformatics data analysis methods development
  • Working in a unix-based environment and high performance computing cluster environment
  • Gene expression data analysis (NGS and microarrays)

Strong technical, interpersonal and communication skills are key to this position. The scientists involved come from many different disciplines including biology, computational sciences and statisticians.

You might also have

  • Background in statistical methods development
  • Background in working with data from age-related neurodegenerative diseases

Why join us

At EMBL-EBI, we help scientists realise the potential of ‘big data’ in biology by enabling them to exploit complex information to make discoveries that benefit mankind. Working for EMBL-EBI gives you an opportunity to apply your skills and energy for the greater good. As part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), we are a non-profit, intergovernmental organisation funded by 22 member states and two associate member states. We are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK, and our 600 staff are engineers, technicians, scientists and other professionals from all over the world.

EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme and health insurance, educational and other family related benefits where applicable, as well as financial support for relocation and installation.

We have an informal culture, international working environment and excellent professional development opportunities but one of the really amazing things about us is the concentration of technical and scientific expertise – something you probably won’t find anywhere else.

If you’ve ever visited the campus you’ll have experienced first-hand our friendly, collegial and supportive atmosphere, set in the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. Our staff also enjoy excellent sports facilities including a gym, a free shuttle bus, an on-site nursery, cafés and restaurant and a library.

What else do I need to know

To apply please submit a covering letter and CV through our online system.

Applications are welcome from all nationalities and this will continue after Brexit. For more information please see our website. Visa information will be discussed in more depth with applicants selected for interview.

EMBL-EBI is committed to achieving gender balance and strongly encourages applications from women, who are currently under-represented at all levels. Appointment will be based on merit alone.

Closing date: 4/4/2019


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