Research Associate (Research Data Curator)

University of Cambridge - Department of Genetics

Virtual Fly Brain is an innovative online resource that integrates diverse types of neurobiological data to allow researchers to explore the neural circuitry of Drosophila and to find reagents for their experiments. We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher to curate neuroanatomical expression data and to annotate figures depicting neural circuitry from the literature.

You will be based in the Virtual Fly Brain (VFB) group that is physically located with the FlyBase group in the Department of Physiology Development and Neuroscience, working as part of a team that is supervised by Dr Cahir O'Kane in the Department of Genetics, and colleagues in the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, the European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge, and the University of Edinburgh (See for further details).

In this role, you will be responsible for reviewing all peer-reviewed literature that relates to the Drosophila nervous system as it is published. Initially, your remit will be to capture information about the expression of transgenes (such as GAL4 enhancer traps or other molecular tools) in neurons and brain regions and to annotate figures depicting neural circuitry for display on VFB. In due course your role may expand to other aspects of the curation process such as adding newly identified neurons to the Drosophila anatomy ontology, and curating large datasets associated with published papers.

You will interact day to day with expert scientist-curators in the Virtual Fly Brain and FlyBase teams who will provide appropriate training. You will also work with other VFB team members primarily involved in the development of the website to ensure the visibility of curated data. You may also seek input from authors or other expert scientists outside the group.

You should have a PhD in a biological science, and a good general grasp of molecular genetics and neurobiology is essential. The work will suit a researcher with experience in Drosophila genetics and/or neurobiology, particularly with some neuroanatomical expertise, and ideally with an interest in learning scripting, ontology development and other bioinformatics skills.  Experience in the following areas would be beneficial - knowledge of ontologies, Drosophila bioinformatic tools and databases, and UNIX and Perl.

The position will be based in the Department of Physiology Development and Neuroscience on the Downing Site in central Cambridge; there may also be possibilities to work in the laboratory of our collaborator at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton. 

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 30 September 2017 in the first instance.

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please visit: This will take you to the role on the University’s Job Opportunities pages. There you will need to click on the 'Apply online' button and register an account with the University's Web Recruitment System (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr Cahir O'Kane

Please quote reference PC10725 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Share this job
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:


South East England