Computational biologist for vegetable trait analysis (KTP associate)
Post Details
Job Title
Computational biologist for vegetable trait analysis (KTP associate)
Post Number
1004653
Closing Date
3 Jun 2024
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£34,950 - £43,750
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Knowledge transfer partnership between Earlham Institute and Tozer Seeds Ltd. to advance and integrate genomics technologies to accelerate the speed and efficiency of vegetable breeding
Months Duration
30

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Applications are invited for a KTP Associate to join the Research Faculty at the Earlham Institute, based in Norwich, UK.

A unique opportunity to work on an innovative project, at the intersection of industry and academia, focusing on the application of genomics-based analyses for the development of marker-assisted selection protocols, with the aim of optimising the breeding of superior celery varieties.

This UKRI Innovate UK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a collaboration between the Earlham Institute and Tozer seeds. You will be employed by the Earlham Institute as a KTP Associate, however the applicant will be based at Tozer Seeds Innovation Centre in Cobham, Surrey, embedded within the R&D team. The applicant will be co-affiliated to the Earlham Institute, where they will interact remotely online (virtual working) on weekly basis and occasionally in person in one-day visits.

Based at Tozer Seeds Innovation Centre in Cobham, Surrey, the work will be multidisciplinary in nature, requiring engagement in bioinformatics, laboratory, and field-based variety trials, drawing on fundamental plant biology and bioinformatics skills, and a good understanding on how crop improvement works. A personal training and development budget will also be available for you to access, as well as receiving access to the training and facilities at both the Earlham Institute and Tozer seeds.

The applicant will develop trials, genotyping and phenotyping datasets, and GWAS statistical analysis, for marker discovery in a non-model vegetable crop species (celery). They will also implement these markers for selection of large off spring populations into an active commercial vegetable breeding programme.

The work will involve trial design, overseeing population phenotyping in field trials (UK, Spain, California) and hands-on laboratory screening assays, completing statistical analysis of multi-season multi-location trial data, bioinformatic analysis of large biological datasets, developing and documenting bioinformatic analyses and training colleagues in them, and engaging with stakeholders in the vegetable variety market, such as growers and sales/marketing colleagues. As part of the broader scope of the KTP, the associate is expected to gain a full understanding of all business operational activities and how different teams interact to achieve commercial success.

The applicant will have access to world-class breeding facilities and training at Tozer Seeds, and cutting-edge bioinformatics training and facilities at Earlham Institute. The candidate will work independently, closely interacting with other members in the R&D team at Tozer Seeds and the Crop Genomics groups and Business Development and Impact team at Earlham Institute. The applicant will bridge the academia/industry gap, coordinating between both settings, and will need to be well organised and capable of timing agility and report regularly on results and deliverables.

Key Relationships

Reporting directly to Matthew walker at Tozer Seeds and Jose De Vega at Earlham Institute, and working closely with other colleagues and managers in their teams, such as the Director of R&D (J Claxton), Head of Plant genomics (A Hall), project coordinators and members (B Nichols, F Gawthrop), Innovate UK advisers, etc. As well as external collaborators, as growers and other teams in the company and institute.
 

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Perform bioinformatic analysis of next-generation sequencing datasets from crop populations: SNP calling, population structure analysis, GWAS association mapping, candidate gene functional annotation, etc.
15
Perform trial design and statistical analysis of phenotyping results and trials to aggregate multiple season and locations; eg. BLUP and other analysis.
15
Develop trials alongside a team from Tozer Seeds: population establishment, transplanting, phenotyping, etc.
15
Laboratory-work; phenotyping of material for resistance to disease of interest.
 
15
Adapt, tune, train others on, and run pre-existing bioinformatic workflows within the company, enabling expansion to further traits and other crops
 
10
Design & evaluate markers and implement their usage for off-spring selection in large breeding populations.
 
10
Track the delivery of project; update the supervision team on deliverables; write and lead reporting to senior leads and funders.
 
10
Disseminate results; internally in meetings with the project meeting, other members, and externally in conferences and scientific articles
 
10
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
Masters in Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, or a Molecular Biology discipline with a strong computational element.
Essential
PhD in Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, or a Molecular Biology discipline with a strong computational element.
Desirable

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Solid understanding of the application of statistical methods to biological data, statistical analysis of high throughput data
Essential
Principles of Molecular biology
Essential
Good understanding of bioinformatic (computational biology) analysis
Essential
Laboratory experience (molecular): DNA extractions, PCR/qPCR, etc.
Essential
A working knowledge and practical experience with developing workflows in a preferred language (user-level R essential; basic python and bash scripting desirable).
Desirable
Basic understanding of crop breeding and improvement
Desirable
ELISA screening assays
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Computational analysis of next-gen sequencing (NGS) datasets, and genotyping and phenotyping datasets
Essential
Working in a highly collaborative research environment
Essential
Evidence of writing and reporting results in research
Essential
Primary role on scientific research projects to successful conclusion, evidenced by a track record of outputs
Essential
Working in field trials and hands-on molecular research
Desirable
Previous experience on association mapping (GWAS)
Desirable
Working in an industry setting
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral
Essential
Good organisational skills
Essential
Ability to communicate and work productively within a multidisciplinary team
Essential
Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to work as part o f ateam
Essential
Demonstrated ability to work independently
Essential
Interacting with collaborators, representing the group and institutions externally
Essential
Initiative and applying problem solving
Essential
innovative, contribute novel perspectives to projects
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Attention to detail
Essential
Representing the line managers and organisations as requested
Essential
Able to present a positive image of self and the project teams, , promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the employers
Essential
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours staff, ensuring it is a great place to to work
Essential
Willingness to travel occasionally
Essential
Willingness to work ocassionaly outside standard working hours when required
Essential

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.

For more information about working at the Earlham Institute, please click here.

Further Information:

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

    Research Faculty

    Group Details

    The applicant will be based at Tozer Seeds Innovation Centre in Cobham, Surrey, embedded within the R&D team. The applicant will be co-affiliated with the Earlham Institute, where they will interact remotely online (virtual working) on a weekly basis and occasionally in person in one-day visits.

    Living in Norfolk

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    Computational biologist for vegetable trait analysis (KTP associate)

    Applications are invited for a KTP Associate to join the Research Faculty at the Earlham Institute, based in Norwich, UK.

    Background:

    This UKRI Innovate UK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a collaboration between the Earlham Institute and Tozer seeds. You will be employed by the Earlham Institute as a KTP Associate; however, the applicant will be based at Tozer Seeds Innovation Centre in Cobham, Surrey, embedded within the R&D team. The applicant will be co-affiliated to the Earlham Institute, where they will interact remotely online (virtual working) on weekly basis and occasionally in person in one-day visits.

    This is a unique opportunity to work on an innovative project, at the intersection of industry and academia, focusing on the application of genomics-based analyses for the development of marker-assisted selection protocols, with the aim of optimising the breeding of superior celery varieties.

    The role:

    Based at Tozer Seeds Innovation Centre in Cobham, Surrey, the work will be multidisciplinary in nature, requiring engagement in bioinformatics, laboratory, and field-based variety trials, drawing on fundamental plant biology and bioinformatics skills, and a good understanding on how crop improvement works. A personal training and development budget will also be available for you to access, as well as receiving access to the training and facilities at both the Earlham Institute and Tozer Seeds.

    The applicant will develop trials, genotyping and phenotyping datasets, and GWAS statistical analysis, for marker discovery in a non-model vegetable crop species (celery). They will also implement these markers for selection of large off spring populations into an active commercial vegetable breeding programme.

    The work will involve trial design, overseeing population phenotyping in field trials (UK, Spain, California) and hands-on laboratory screening assays, completing statistical analysis of multi-season multi-location trial data, bioinformatic analysis of large biological datasets, developing and documenting bioinformatic analyses and training colleagues in them, and engaging with stakeholders in the vegetable variety market, such as growers and sales/marketing colleagues. As part of the broader scope of the KTP, the associate is expected to gain a full understanding of all business operational activities and how different teams interact to achieve commercial success.

    The ideal candidate:

    The successful applicant will have a Masters in Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, or a Molecular Biology discipline with a strong computational element. A PhD in the same discipline would be advantageous. Candidates will have laboratory experience (molecular) in DNA extractions, PCR/qPCR, have a good understanding of bioinformatic (computational biology) analysis, and knowledge in Molecular Biology principles.

    They should also have experience in computational analysis of next-gen sequencing (NGS) datasets, and genotyping and phenotyping datasets, as well as experience of working in a highly collaborative research environment with evidence of writing and reporting results in research.

    The applicant will have access to world-class breeding facilities and training at Tozer Seeds, and cutting-edge bioinformatics training and facilities at Earlham Institute. The candidate will work independently, closely interacting with other members in the R&D team at Tozer Seeds and the Crop Genomics groups and Business Development and Impact team at Earlham Institute. The applicant will bridge the academia/industry gap, coordinating between both settings, and will need to be well organised and report regularly on results and deliverables.

    Additional information:

    Salary on appointment will be within the range of £34,950 to £43,750 per annum depending on qualifications and experience.  This is a full-time post for a contract of 30 months.

    This role meets the criteria for a visa application, and we encourage all qualified candidates to apply.  Please contact the Human Resources Team if you have any questions regarding your application or visa options.

    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 3 June 2024