Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Bioinformatics)
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Bioinformatics)
Post Number
1004217
Closing Date
11 Dec 2022
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£33,050 - £40,750
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Bioinformatics to decipher pangenomes in microbial ecosystems
Months Duration
36

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

In typical microbiomes (human gut, soil) hundreds to thousands of colonizing microbial species (mostly bacteria and fungi) can be found, that often differ substantially in their genome architecture between conspecific strains. Genes are frequently lost or introduced as these species are consistently adapting to their environment.

To understand these evolutionary processes better, we will explore microbial genome plasticity using classical bioinformatics (such as assembly, genome binning, gene predictions), 3rd generation sequencing data with recent advances in deep learning. This combination will allow us to explore microbiomes at unprecedented resolution, to resolve ecoevolutionary processes determining resilience and functional plasticity of microenvironments. The output of this research will help shape environmental and health policies by defining operational borders of microbial communities.

We are looking for research focused Bioinformatician with experience in metagenomics or population genetics or comparative genomics (eukaryotic or prokaryotic). The candidate will work independently, with other group members, and with national and international collaborators to generate and analyse data.

Key Relationships

Reporting to Falk Hildebrand (Group Leader), the post holder will work closely with other members of the group and key collaborators (e.g. Quince, Leggett, Macaulay at EI) who are engaged in complimentary metagenomic algorithm research. The applicant will have direct access to established PacBio/ONT, Hi-C and single cell sequencing facilities, as well as an advance HPC cluster with dedicated GPU nodes at the EI.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Implement 3rd gen sequencing bioinformatics, deep learning
30
Determine microbial evolution in time series metagenomes
25
Use numerical ecology to explore diverse microbiomes
20
Support group with tasks such as outreach, student supervision, writing grants
15
As agreed with the line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post, for example, contributing to the work of Institute committees.
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD in Bioinformatics, Population Genetics, Genetics or equivalent experience
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Ability to troubleshoot and solve problems
Essential
Initiative and a desire to learn, to innovate, and to move out of their comfort zone
Essential
Programming skills (C++ or Perl or python or R)
Essential
Research focussed Bioinformatician
Desirable
Ability to work independently on research projects
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Familiarity with sequencing related bioinformatics
Essential
Proven track-record of research output at the appropriate level
Essential
Experience grant writing or supervising lab members
Desirable
Understanding high resolution sequence data & implications
Desirable
metagenomics or genetics experience
Desirable
Developing bioinformatic tools
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential
Reliable and conscientious
Essential
Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to work alone and as part of a team
Essential
Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to work alone and as part of a team
Desirable
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures when required
Desirable

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Attention to detail
Essential
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Essential
Willingness to work outside of normal working hours as and when required
Essential
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
Essential
Willingness to undertake any necessary training for the role
Desirable

Who We Are

Earlham Institute

About the Earlham Institute
The Earlham Institute is a hub of life science research, training, and innovation focused on understanding the natural world through the lens of genomics.

We are building a future where the biology of any organism can be understood by analysing its genome. Our mission is to decode the scale and complexity of living systems so we can understand, benefit from, and protect life on Earth.

The Earlham Institute is based on the Norwich Research Park and is one of eight institutes that receive strategic funding from the UKRI Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC).

Our Science
Earlham Institute scientists specialise in developing and testing the latest tools and approaches needed to decode living systems and make predictions about biology.

We are home to state-of-the-art facilities and technology, creating a unique combination of expertise and infrastructure. We have dedicated laboratories for genome sequencing, single-cell analysis, engineering biology, and large-scale automation; as well as one of the largest supercomputing facilities for life science research in Europe. Our Advanced Training team also provides access to specialised scientific training to upskill the next generation of research and technical staff.

Our Culture
The Earlham Institute champions 'team science'. Our collegiate and innovative research environment comes with significant support, including a commitment to your professional development, research and administrative assistance, and opportunities to build collaborations with scientists and industry on the Norwich Research Park, across the UK, and internationally.

The Institute is also home to talented technical and operational staff, whose invaluable contributions enable our science to have the maximum impact. We aim to recognise, reward, and develop all staff and students so that every individual feels able to achieve their best with us.

We work hard to nurture an engaged and positive workplace, centred on core values that include openness, technical excellence, and collaboration. We attract staff from around the world who contribute to - and benefit from - an environment that enables them to deliver world-class science alongside a supportive and social community.

Further Information:

  • Our Vision and Mission
  • Our Strategy
  • Our Culture
  • Life at Earlham Institute
  • Department

    Digital Biology

    Group Details

    The Hildebrand group is researching bacteria and microeukaryotes through metagenomics, having three research themes: the diversity, community interactions, and evolution of microbes. We develop our own metagenomic pipelines, software and complimentary laboratory protocols to enable a wholistic microbiome exploration. With this, we can go beyond species-centric interpretations of microbial ecosystems, to understand the system as a whole based on specific differences in its members.
    Our research focus is often the human gut microbiomes, but also extends to environmental (e.g. soil) microbiomes. The group was established in 2019 and is associated to both the Earlham Institute (EI, sequencing technologies & algorithms) and Quadram Institute for Bioscience (QIB, gut microbes & human health) in the Norwich Research Park. This offers the advantage of having access to both innovative experimental collaborations and unique patient cohorts, while also having access to a specialized sequencing centre and one of the largest compute clusters in the UK. For further group information see www.falk.science
    Norwich is a multinational and modern city with a large (20k+) student community, a historical center city that is situated between Cambridge and the Norfolk coast.

    Living in Norfolk

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    Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Bioinformatics)

    Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Dr Falk Hildebrand at the Earlham Institute based in Norwich, UK.

    Background:

    How quickly can microbes adapt to newly colonized environments?

    In typical microbiomes (human gut, soil) hundreds to thousands of colonizing microbial species (mostly bacteria and fungi) can be found, that often differ substantially in their genome architecture between conspecific strains. Genes are frequently lost or introduced as these species are consistently adapting to their environment.

    The candidate will work in the group of Dr Falk Hildebrand, who has a joint appointment between the Earlham Institute and Quadram Institute Bioscience, Norwich, UK. Both Institutes are part of the large, multinational Norwich Research Park (NRP), hosting the largest accumulation of microbiology focused groups in the UK. Norwich is a multinational and modern city with a large (20k+) student community, a historical center city that is situated between Cambridge and the Norfolk coast.
    https://www.earlham.ac.uk/
    https://falk.science

    The role:

    To understand microbial evolution, the candidate will investigate genome plasticity using classical bioinformatics (such as assembly, genome binning, gene predictions) and 3rd generation sequencing in combination with recent advances in deep learning. This combination will allow us to explore microbiomes at unprecedented resolution, to resolve eco evolutionary processes determining resilience and functional plasticity of microbial communities. The output of this research will help shape environmental and health policies by defining operational borders of microbial communities. Please see recent opinion article outlining some of the possible research questions: (doi: 10.1128/mSystems.00881-21).

    The ideal candidate:

    If you are interested in microbial communities (such as gut microbiome), genetics, evolution and novel technologies, this post will give you the ideal starting conditions for a scientific career. Candidates should have a PhD in topics such as Bioinformatics, Genetics, Ecology or Evolution. Previous experience in either publishing scientific articles, metagenomics, population genetics, comparative genomics (eukaryotic or prokaryotic) will be beneficial. Good organizational skills and the ability to communicate and work productively within a multidisciplinary team will be crucial. Visiting international conferences, trainings and exchanges with international collaborators are part of this post.

    Additional information:

    Salary on appointment will be within the range £33,050 to £40,750 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full-time post for a contract of 36 months.

    As a Disability Confident employer, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy.

    The closing date for applications will be 11 December 2022.