Postdoctoral Fellow
Location: EMBL-EBI, Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category: Postdoctoral Fellow
Contract Duration: 2 years
Grading: Year 1 Stipend (Currently £2,869 per month)
Closing Date: 18 April 2021
Reference Number: EBI01750
We are seeking a talented and highly motivated postdoctoral fellow to join the Marioni laboratory and develop computational methods to enable the analysis of large-scale single-cell genomic data.

This project is a collaboration between John Marioni’s group at EMBL-EBI and GSK. You will be based at the EBI in Hinxton but will maintain close links with the Functional Genomics - Computational Biology team at GSK, including regular discussions and reporting, both virtual and in person.

The Marioni group is a world leader in computational biology, with a particular interest in developing methods that exploit high-throughput single cell genomics data to understand the molecular mechanisms that underpin decision making in cells in the context of normal development and cancer. The lab has contributed some of the most influential papers in the field of single cell genomics, including key methodological advances that have underpinned numerous scientific insights. We have had a particular impact in applying these methods in the context of early mammalian development. John Marioni is also a key member of the team leading development of the international Human Cell Atlas (HCA) project (

Recent advances in the area of single cell genomics have facilitated the possibility of generating a Human Cell Atlas, where cutting-edge molecular biology techniques can be used to refine our understanding of cell types within the human body. This will build a platform for future transformative research in understanding tissue homeostasis and, ultimately, disease. This project will use data from the HCA as well as disease-relevant datasets.

The successful candidate will have a strong background in computational biology, with a PhD in a relevant discipline. You will also have excellent communication skills and a genuine interest in applying computational methods to biological questions.

Your role

The aim of this project is to develop computational methods that enable the analysis of large-scale single-cell genomic data. This includes new methods to analyse large single cell omics data sets and new methods to perform integrated analyses across single cell omics datasets (from multiple data sources and single cell omics modalities).

A current challenge hindering the integration of datasets from different sources relates to the difficulty in successfully removing technical variation while retaining meaningful biological variation. Furthermore, many questions still remain as to what the best methods are to jointly analyse datasets from different sources or data modalities. You will develop novel analytical methodologies to address these questions.

The work might involve (but is not restricted to) combining datasets from different sources (batches, studies, laboratories, etc.), diverse data modalities (transcriptomics, chromatin accessibility, spatially resolved expression, etc.), developing algorithms for joint analysis of independent datasets, etc.

All involved parties will contribute to project conception and design, scientific discussions, data interpretation, and reviewing the output of the work including agreed regular milestones.

Methodologies and data will be transferred between EMBL-EBI and GSK as and when needed. Some travel to the GSK site in Stevenage will be likely.

You will:
  • Develop and apply computational methods that enable the analysis of large-scale single-cell genomic data;
  • Drive your own research within the laboratory, working closely with the group leader and GSK collaborators, while also demonstrating creativity and initiative to develop novel approaches and research questions;
  • Write up research work for presentation and publication;
  • Communicate material of a specialist or highly technical nature clearly and appropriately to the group, institute and at scientific conferences;
  • Contribute to the smooth running of the research group and assist in supervision of junior lab members.

You have

  • A in computational biology or a relevant discipline;
  • Experience in single cell genomics;
  • Presented research findings both internally and at international meetings;
  • Demonstrated ability to publish research in international peer reviewed journals;
  • Proven ability to develop computational methods with applications in biology;
  • Expertise in statistical methods and modelling;
  • Strong analytical and programming skills (preferably in R and/or python);
  • Excellent communication skills, verbal and written;
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently and collaboratively with other group members and external collaborators;
  • Ability to manage own workload and meet deadlines.

You might also have

  • Experience working in high performance computing environments;
  • Experience with version control.

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 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

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. Visa exemptions will be offered to international candidates and details will be discussed during interview. We believe in science without borders and this continues after Brexit.

This role is based in Hinxton, UK and you will be required to relocate once it is safe to do so if you are currently based abroad. More info on how we are recruiting in this period is available on our page: Recruitment and Onboarding during Covid19.