NGS Laboratory Scientist

The Pirbright Institute – Integrative Biology and Bioinformatics

Reporting To: Head of Integrative Biology

Organisation position and purpose:

The successful scientist will be experienced in high-throughput sequencing protocols and techniques to help manage the production of host and pathogen data obtained from the sequencing machines operating inside and outside its containment facility. The position is key to the delivery of several core strategic objectives detailed in the Institute Capability Grant.

The successful candidate will join the Integrative Biology and Bioinformatics (IBB) group led by the Head of Integrative Biology. In addition to developing its own research lines, the IBB group administers a state of the art computer cluster (which has about 1,000 HT cores, 4TB of RAM and 0.5 PB of disk space) and takes general oversight of sequencing capabilities.

Accountability, responsibility and duties;

  • Help to manage and run the sequencing machines (including those inside the high containment facility), and ensure the quality of data production.
  • Develop and maintain experimental protocols tailored to the sequencing of biological systems relevant to the Institute’s science (such as genomic sequencing of large DNA viruses, RNA virus and quasi-species; RNA-sequencing of virus/host interaction; sequencing of immune system components; ribosome profiling).
  • Take ownership of library preparation and support other groups to troubleshoot and optimize protocols.
  • Support, and contribute to, all the steps of the experimental process, from sequencing design to data production and subsequent analysis.
  • Collaborate with the bioinformaticians within the IBB group, in particular those developing and optimising downstream bioinformatics analysis methods.
  • Promote the sequencing capacity at Pirbright to internal and external users and help establish and drive research collaborations.

This job description is only an outline of the tasks, responsibilities and outcomes required of the role. The jobholder will carry out any other duties as may be reasonably required by his/her line manager. The job description and personal specification may be reviewed on an ongoing basis in accordance with the changing needs of the Human Resources department and The Pirbright Institute.

All employees shall actively participate in the Institute-wide quality assurance system in conjunction with the Institute’s Quality Manager. Employees are also expected to safeguard their own health and safety and security by following policies and all employees are responsible for the Health and Safety and security of staff under their management

Specific requirements


  • PhD in virology, biochemistry, biology or related subject
  • Proven experience with running machines for high-throughput sequencing
  • Proven knowledge of relevant sample preparation protocols for high-throughput sequencing
  • Proven experience with the development and optimisation of protocols for high-throughput sequencing
  • Knowledge of platform-specific sequencing techniques
  • Knowledge of platform-specific sample preparation protocols
  • Knowledge of protocol-specific high-throughput sequencing experiment design and analysis workflows
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Evidence of excellent oral and written communication skills


  • Experience with preparing samples, developing and optimising protocols, and generating sequencing data, for biological systems relevant to virology
  • Experience with relevant bioinformatics tools (base calling, quality control, alignment, assembly), and high-performance computing environments
  • Background in biochemistry, lab techniques, diagnostics assays, pathogen surveillance
  • Knowledge of basic chemistry/biochemistry
  • Knowledge of basic biology and virology
  • Knowledge of wet-lab techniques