Postdoctoral Fellow
Location: EMBL-EBI, Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category: Postdoctoral Fellow
Contract Duration: Until 31.01.2023
Grading: Year 1 Stipend (monthly stipend starting at £2,752.13 after tax).
Closing Date: 21 April 2020
Reference Number: EBI01617
This is an exciting opportunity to work on machine learning approaches to the genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) in a joint project in collaboration with a team of Canadian scientists . The project will involve assembling of relevant genomic and genetic data to enable machine learning models to be built to predict genes with a positive or negative effect on specific NDD-relevant behaviours.

Your role

Neurodevelopmental disability (NDD) is an umbrella term for a group of disorders including autism, intellectual disability, attention deficit and learning disability. NDD has a very significant impact with a 13 % incidence in the US population. The last decade has seen an explosion in our understanding of the genetic basis of NDD, but targeted, mechanistic, informed treatments are still not available, largely because NDD is highly complex, both in its clinical presentation and genetic etiology. This wide spectrum of  phenotype severity is linked in part to complex genetic interactions.

The post will involve use of genomic information and diversity in clinical presentation as a guide to treatment development in NDD. With several large datasets (in Canada and the UK) featuring genomic and phenotypic data, we will use machine learning  to identify the features (gene expression, ontology, pathway relationships) that are associated with variation in symptoms (phenotype) severity. You will:
  • Identify and organise the genomic data that will be used as features for the machine learning including using ontologies for metadata
  • Jointly develop machine learning approaches to identify modifiers of genetic effects.
  • Assess and feedback on the performance of the machine learning models
  • Contribute to the design and implementation of a project portal to disseminate the model and results.

You have

  • PhD in Genetics, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology or a related discipline
  • Experience in human genetics or genomics data analysis, and proficient with for instance R and/or python
  • Must be able to communicate analysis and results clearly to a diverse audience
  • Must be able to identify and clearly express limitations or pitfalls in potential approaches

You might also have

  • Experience in Machine Learning in a biological context
  • Experience in an area related to drug discovery would be an advantage

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 27 member states and two associate member states. We are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK, and our 850 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.

This position is limited to the project duration specified.

Appointment will be based on merit alone.

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