Backend Engineer
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
Staff Category: Staff Member
Contract Duration: 3 years
Grading: 4, 5 or 6, depending on experience and qualifications
Closing Date: 14 August 2020
Reference Number: HD01779
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL,, one of the highest-ranked scientific research organizations in the world, is looking for a Backend Engineer who will actively contribute to software projects in the Alexandrov team in the field of spatial metabolomics. Our main project is METASPACE, an open-source cloud software platform for spatial metabolomics which helps address challenges in biology and medicine ( METASPACE has a loyal and growing community of users in academia and industry and is being developed by 3 software developers with active input from scientists locally and externally (

The key software tools and frameworks used in METASPACE are Python and JavaScript/TypeScript, AWS for computation, Apache Spark for massive parallel data processing, PostgreSQL and ElasticSearch for data storage,  GraphQL and Node.js for API, and Vue.js for frontend. METASPACE is an open-source project with the code and project boards available at

We offer options of getting involved in scientific projects including applying machine and deep learning, as well as bioinformatics.  

Your role

  • Contribute to and direct the backend development of the METASPACE software
  • Work together with other software developers in providing novel functionality
  • Work together with scientists in implementing novel algorithms
  • Monitor and troubleshoot the data processing pipeline on AWS
  • Support and improve the cloud infrastructure for METASPACE (currently AWS)

You have

  • 3+ years of experience working in a software development team
  • 3+ years of experience of backend software development and programming in Python
  • Experience in setting up and supporting cloud infrastructure

You might also have

  • Knowledge of Apache Spark or other distributed processing frameworks, AWS, Docker
  • Experience in data analysis with Pandas and NumPy
  • Knowledge of backend JavaScript, Node.js, GraphQL
  • Experience in data analysis and machine learning
  • Interest in contributing to science

Why join us

You will be a critical part of a dynamic, interdisciplinary, international and cross-cultural team where we work at the intersection of biology, chemistry, and computer science (,

Our team includes 11 scientists and 4 software developers. We develop integrative computational and experimental methods for spatial metabolomics to detect metabolites in tissues and cells and interpret this molecular data in light of the spatial context. Some of our software packages became de facto standards in the field, have a growing community of users and are generously supported by public funding ( We strive to provide a healthy work environment with a flat hierarchy supporting a diversity of opinions, with freedom to make decisions and with funded opportunities to grow professionally. EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation with a very collegial and family friendly working environment. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme, medical, educational and other social benefits. Excellent child care facility is available on campus.

What else you need to know

We are Europe’s flagship research laboratory for the life sciences – an intergovernmental organisation performing scientific research in disciplines including molecular biology, physics, chemistry and computer science. We are an international, innovative and interdisciplinary laboratory with more than 1600 employees from many nations, operating across six sites, in Heidelberg (HQ), Barcelona, Hinxton near Cambridge, Hamburg, Grenoble and Rome.

Our mission is to offer vital services in training scientists, students and visitors at all levels; to develop new instruments and methods in the life sciences and actively engage in technology transfer activities, and to integrate European life science research.

The working language of the institute is English.