Postdoctoral Fellow
Location: EMBL-EBI, Hinxton near Cambridge, UK
Staff Category: Postdoctoral Fellow
Contract Duration: Estimated for 3 years (until max. 1/07/2024)
Grading: Year 1 Stipend (£2,829 per month after tax)
Closing Date: 2 November 2021
Reference Number: EBI01855
An exciting opportunity has been created for a talented scientist to work on the development of novel computational and informatics methods to improve target selection decision-making in drug discovery. The position is funded by Open Targets, the Illuminating the Druggable Genome (IDG) project and UK SPINE. Open Targets is a public-private initiative between EMBL-EBI, GlaxoSmithKline, BMS, Sanofi and the Sanger Institute to generate and integrate evidence on the validity of biological targets for drug development. The IDG is a large-scale NIH-funded initiative to develop informatics and experimental platforms with the ultimate goal of encouraging the wider community to investigate “understudied” proteins. UK SPINE is a network of collaborators focussed on developing new therapeutics for diseases linked with ageing. Two years’ funding is being provided by Open Targets and IDG with UK SPINE providing a third year. 

Your role

Based at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) but working closely with all partners the appointee will develop computational and informatics methods that exploit the data integrated in the Open Targets Informatics Platform and IDG’s Pharos platform together with other public resources as applicable. These two resources incorporate an ever-expanding wealth of data and information pertaining to the link between target and disease phenotype, target tractability, potential safety risks and other relevant factors. The overall goal of the Open Targets-IDG project is to develop methods and insights that exploit these platforms to help drive decisions on target identification and prioritisation in the wider drug discovery and bioscience community. The UK SPINE component of the project provides an excellent opportunity to apply these concepts to diseases of ageing, working within a tight network of experimental, clinical and informatics experts to identify disease hypotheses and have these translate into experimental work.

Some of the themes that we wish to explore include data integration, the use of machine learning models to enhance target selection decisions, exploring the changing influence of different evidence over time and developing target novelty metrics. We also welcome research ideas/proposals from candidates aligned to the overall project goals and intent as part of the application process. Anyone wishing to find out more about the role is welcome to contact Dr Andrew Leach directly via email. Please include the job requisition number in the email subject. 

You will have a strong scientific background, excellent attention to detail, good communication skills and be able to interact not only with experts from your immediate area of expertise but also with scientists from other areas (including, for example, colleagues who are primarily experimentalists). We anticipate that the outputs from this project will be applied to “real life” case studies within UK SPINE network but will also be incorporated into the Open Targets and IDG informatics platforms and so be available to the large number of both academic and industrial users of these systems.

You have

  • A PhD (or equivalent) in a biological, chemical biology or biomedical science.
  • Sound knowledge of disease biology and the mechanisms of drug action.
  • Demonstrable hands-on expertise in at least one programming/scripting language (e.g. Python).
  • Practical knowledge of modern machine learning techniques
  • Experience in data handling, file manipulation
  • Good understanding of statistical methods and their application to data analysis   
  • Ability to work accurately and quickly to meet deadlines
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Good communication skills (both verbal and presentational)

You might also have

  • Practical experience working in a drug discovery and development environment.
  • Some knowledge of the diseases associated with ageing

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, part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, 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, child and non-resident allowances, annual salary 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 (if required
  • 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, 10 days of 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 a project-limited position estimated for 3 years.
  • 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, near Cambridge, UK. You will be required to relocate if you are based overseas and you will receive a generous relocation package to support you.
  • How to apply: 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.
  • DORAEMBL is a signatory of DORA and is committed to hiring and training outstanding research, service, and administrative personnel.