Bioinformatician (Open Targets)
Location: EMBL-EBI, Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category: Staff Member
Contract Duration: Until 29/02/2024 (estimated for 3 years)
Grading: 5 or 6 (monthly salary starting at £2,738 or £3,063 after tax)
Closing Date: 22 December 2020
Reference Number: EBI01735
The Open Targets (OT) project aims to systematically identify and prioritise drug targets by combining genetic, clinical and functional genomics data. It is a shared initiative between the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), a global leader in the management, integration and analysis of public domain life science data; world-leading pharmaceutical companies GSK, Takeda, Sanofi and Bristol Myers Squibb; and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, a world-leading genomics institution with expertise in human genetics, cancer and infectious disease.

Within the consortium, the OT Platform ( integrates the growing body of evidence and provides the necessary context in order to inform the drug discovery process in the public domain.  

Your role

We are seeking an enthusiastic Bioinformatician to join our Core Team and contribute to this endeavour. The OT Core team is a cross-disciplinary group including bioinformaticians, postdoctoral researchers, software developers, outreach and training specialists. As a member of the Data team within the Core team, your role will involve the integration and analysis of the most relevant data sources, as well as building the appropriate models for integrating and scoring targets-disease associations. A good understanding of the biological questions that surround the drug discovery hypothesis is highly desirable.

The role also involves collaborating closely with data providers across the Open Targets consortia, and demonstrating initiative in the development and refinement of suitable data feeds. Supported by a team of software developers, the postholder is expected to leverage the more than 50 data sources we integrate in the OT Platform, in order to better identify and prioritise targets. Manipulating files representing nested biological data will be a routine part of the role.

The postholder will also have the opportunity to help to interpret large-scale biological data in the context of drug discovery, including data from some of the most recent technologies (i.e. CRISPR screenings, single- cell transcriptomics, etc.). Further computational work using network analysis or pathway enrichment might occasionally be required. Similarly, the role might require familiarisation with recent advances in machine learning and natural language processing (BioBert or SpaCy), as well as with the most up-to-date technologies on Big Data manipulation (Apache Spark and others) and cloud computing (Google Cloud). You may also contribute to the development of summary statistics and QC measures for the OT Platform Build and development of documentation of processes and external facing pages such as API tutorials.

You have

  • Applicants should possess a masters or PhD degree in computational biology, bioinformatics or other computational sciences.
  • Previous experience in bioinformatics, database technologies and genome-wide biological data analysis.
  • Experience in data integration/analysis with Python/R.
  • Familiarity with the command line and version control systems.
  • The ability to work constructively and collaboratively within a team, and with other groups.

You might also have

  • Familiarity with drug discovery data or chemoinformatics databases.
  • Experience with biomedical ontologies and associated tools.
  • Experience in any ML framework: scikit-learn, tensorflow, etc.
  • Exposure to Docker, Elasticsearch and API development.
  • A proven track record of working on large-scale data analysis projects and an understanding of the challenges posed by collaborative projects including flexibility, tight deadlines, and use of state-of-the- art approaches.
  • Experience working in a fast moving, continuous deployment environment with source control and managed releases.
  • Experience working with Open Targets Platform data.

Why join us

EMBL-EBI is a worldwide leader in bioinformatics. 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 encourage personal and professional development and are committed to ensuring our employees feel valued, supported and empowered to reach their potential at work. 

Surrounded by picturesque South Cambridgeshire countryside, our Campus provides employees with a relaxed atmosphere where the pursuit of scientific discovery and meaningful work, underpin every role. In addition, our employees have access to a wide range of benefits including:
  • 30 days annual leave per year plus 8 bank holidays
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Unique pension scheme including 17% employer contribution
  • Annual salary review
  • Private medical insurance for you and your immediate family (including all prescriptions and generous dental & optical cover)
  • Death benefit, long-term care, accident at work and unemployment insurances
  • Relocation package including installation grant (if required)
  • On-site library and subsidised on-site gym and cafeteria
  • Casual dress code
  • Free shuttle bus to and from Campus
  • Extensive sports and social club activities (run on campus and remotely)
  • Family benefits: Onsite nursery, child sick leave, generous parental leave, holiday clubs on campus and monthly family and child allowances
  • Benefits for non UK residents: Visa exemption, education grant for private schooling, financial support to travel back to your home country every second year and a monthly non-resident allowance

What else you need to know

To apply please submit a covering letter and CV through our online system. At EMBL-EBI, we strongly believe that inclusive and diverse teams benefit from higher levels of innovation and creative thought. We encourage applications from women, LGBTQ and individuals from all nationalities. For more information please see our website. Visa information will be discussed in more depth with applicants selected for interview.

This position is limited to project duration until 29/02/2024 in the first instance. The role is based in Hinxton, UK and you will be required to relocate if not based locally. There will be a relocation package including installation grant (if applicable). More info on how we are recruiting in this period is available on our page: Recruitment and Onboarding during Covid19.

Applications will close at 23:00 GMT on the date listed above. We will get back to you in the New Year regarding interviews should you be shortlisted.

Appointment will be based on merit alone.

Job Ref.: EBI01735