Biocurator - Rfam
Location: EMBL-EBI, Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category: Staff Member
Contract Duration: 1.5 years if full-time , 3 years if part-time
Grading: 5 (monthly salary starting at £2631.99 after tax, prorated if part-time)
Closing Date: 9 August 2019
Reference Number: EBI01419
Rfam is the database of RNA families, without analogs anywhere in the world. Continuously developed since 2002, it has grown to include >3,000 families and is used by many scientists for a wide range of applications, such as the annotation of new genomes and developing RNA structure prediction algorithms. Rfam is a key resource for RNA Biology that serves tens of thousands of users every year and is highly cited in the scientific literature.

The Rfam Biocurator is working on the RNA families project, and is responsible for creating new RNA families and updating the existing ones based on the scientific literature and the community input. 

The current position is full-time for 1.5 years. Part-time and flexible working patterns will also be considered.

Your role

The postholder will be a member of the RNA Resources team which is part of Rob Finn’s Sequence Families group. The selected candidate will report to the RNA Resources Project Leader, Anton Petrov. The RNA Resources team is a multidisciplinary team, including a software developer, bioinformatician, and a web developer. This team also collaboratively interacts with other members of the Sequence Families group and more broadly across EMBL-EBI, to ensure cross talk between related databases and the development of resources in a cost-effective fashion.

The post-holder’s main task will be to update consensus secondary structures in Rfam multiple sequence alignments using the experimentally determined RNA 3D structures. To do so, the results of an automatic pipeline will be reviewed and where necessary changes will be made to the consensus structure and the alignment. The Biocurator will also annotate pseudoknots in the consensus secondary structures using experimentally determined RNA 3D structures and predictions from the R-scape software. Furthermore, the role will also require the creation of new RNA families and updating the annotation of existing ones. The post-holder will work closely with the Rfam Bioinformatician, particularly on producing new releases, and participate in scientific meetings to disseminate the outcomes of the project (international travel may be required).

You have

The post-holder will have a MSc (or higher) degree in Biology or a related subject and demonstrable experience working with RNA. The following skills and competencies are also expected:
  • At least two years’ experience working with biological sequence data, ideally RNA;
  • Hands-on experience working with biological databases; 
  • Experience with sequence analysis tools;
  • Understanding of RNA secondary structural features such as helices, loops, and pseudoknots;
  • Experience with manipulating RNA multiple sequence alignments;
  • Familiarity with Unix-based operating systems and command line interfaces, such as bash;
  • Ability to read and summarise scientific literature.
In addition, the successful candidate will have:
  • Strong critical thinking skills and will be able to work both accurately and quickly to meet deadlines;
  • Good communication skills (verbal, presentational, and written);
  • Experience working collaboratively within a team.
The postholder will also be expected to participate in team meetings, covering a broad subject range, present the work at international scientific meetings, and develop a variety of training materials.

You might also have

The following skills are also desirable:
  • Experience with viewing and analysing RNA 3D structures;
  • Understanding and/or use of the Infernal software suite;
  • Familiarity with programming languages (e.g. Python, Perl) and relational databases (e.g. MySQL);
  • Experience with Wikipedia software;
  • Experience writing scientific papers;
  • Published articles in the area of RNA Biology a plus.

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 over 20 member states and 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. For more information about pay and benefits click here.

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 you need to know

To view a copy of the full job description please click here.

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.

This position is limited to the project duration specified.

Applications will close at 23:00 GMT on the date listed above.