Postdoctoral Fellow – Birney Research (Novo Nordisk)
Location: EMBL-EBI, Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category: Postdoctoral Fellow
Contract Duration: Fixed-term for 2 years or until end of grant on 31/12/2023
Grading: Year 1 Stipend - £2,869.24 per month after tax
Closing Date: 15 June 2021
Reference Number: EBI01839
Digital health data promises to further our understanding of an individual’s disease risk and to discover determinants of differential outcomes. Such analyses are experiencing a boost in different countries by aggregating anonymised medical records of large parts of the population in secure trusted research environments. The Danish healthcare system is one of the leading countries for systematic electronic healthcare information.

Additionally, different cohorts, such as the UK Biobank, exist that have genomically profiled hundreds of thousands of individuals and characterised their health via diverse assays from MRI-scans to detailed blood counts in conjunction with linking to their medical records. Yet analysing these troves of data from millions of individuals easily overwhelms most research applications.

Your role

As part of this international NovoNordisk funded research project, we aim to analyse the electronic health records of 8 million Danes to model and quantify the influence of medical history, family history, genetics and lifestyle on future disease risk. We have developed machine learning methods to scale such analyses to data from millions of participants and quantify the influence of thousands of different past and current events. We plan to conduct these analysis across the entire catalogue of ICD-10 disease codes.

The resulting detailed risk assessments will be of unprecedented depth for each individual, will enable the identification of new risk factors and ultimately allow better schemes for disease prevention to be developed. Such analyses will also be replicated in the UK using resources provided by the UK Biobank and NHS digital. The work will be conducted in the research groups Ewan Birney (EMBL-EBI, Cambridge UK) and Moritz Gerstung (DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany)

You have

A successful candidate will have a PhD in mathematics, statistics, physics, computer science or related computational discipline with a proven academic track record of data science applications. Essential skills include deep knowledge of statistical machine learning and proficiency in programming in python or related languages.

You might also have

Highly desirable would be familiarity with TensorFlow, Pytorch, JAX and numpyro.

The candidate should have a natural curiosity to apply their quantitative talent to questions related to human health and to work in a multidisciplinary research environment.

Why join us

Do something meaningful
At EMBL-EBI you can apply your talent and passion to accelerate science and tackle some of humankind's greatest challenges. EMBL-EBI is a worldwide leader in the storage, analysis and dissemination of large biological datasets. We provide the global research community with access to publicly available databases and tools which are crucial for the advancement of healthcare, food security, and biodiversity.

Join a culture of innovation
We are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus, alongside other prominent research and biotech organisations, and surrounded by beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. This is a highly collaborative and inclusive community where our employees enjoy a relaxed atmosphere. We are committed to ensuring our employees feel valued, supported and empowered to reach their professional potential.

Enjoy lots of benefits:
  • Financial incentives: Monthly family and child allowances, annual stipend review, pension scheme including 17% employer contribution, death benefit, long-term care, accident-at-work and unemployment insurances
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Private medical insurance for you and your immediate family (including all prescriptions and generous dental & optical cover)
  • Generous time off: 30 days annual leave per year, in addition to eight bank holidays
  • Relocation package including installation grant (as applicable)
  • Campus life: Free shuttle bus to and from work, on-site library, subsidised on-site gym and cafeteria, casual dress code, extensive sports and social club activities (on campus and remotely)
  • Family benefits: On-site nursery, child sick leave, generous parental leave, holiday clubs on campus and monthly family and child allowances
  • Benefits for non-UK residents: Visa exemption.
For more details please see our employee benefits page

What else you need to know

  • Contract duration: This position is grant-limited for an estimated fixed-term duration of approximately 2 years and 7 months or until end of grant on 31/12/2023.
  • International applicants: We recruit internationally and successful candidates are offered visa exemptions. Read more on our page for international applicants.
  • Diversity and inclusion: 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.
  • Job location: 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. Read more about how we are recruiting during the pandemic.
  • Your application: To apply please submit a cover letter and a CV through our online system. We aim to provide a response within two weeks after the closing date: 15 June 2021.