Research Associate

UCL Institute of Neurology - Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience & Movement Disorders and UCL Department of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology

We are seeking a highly motivated individual to work at the interface of statistics, bioinformatics, and neuroscience, as part of the Human Cell Atlas program of the Chan-Zuckerberg foundation. The successful applicant will work as part of an international interdisciplinary collaboration, using advanced computational methods to classify cells of the cerebral cortex via their high-dimensional genetic expression patterns.

Understanding the operation of the brain will require a full understanding of the cell types it is built from. Recent developments in molecular biology allow a solution to this problem. Single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) allows cell types to be rigorously defined and marker genes for them identified, while in situ RNA sequencing allow for large numbers of these markers to be simultaneously localized in brain tissue, and for cell types to be identified by their combinatorial expression of marker genes. Applying this technique to brain tissue that has been previously imaged with two-photon microscopy will allow post-hoc identification of every recorded cell, a critical step toward deciphering cortical circuit function.

The data produced by these methods is complex and high-dimensional. We are seeking an individual to build and refine probabilistic models of high-dimensional gene expression patterns, and to use them to implement methods for clustering the cells into biological classes. The position would suit a candidate with a background in statistics, bioinformatics, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, or neuroscience.

Applicants should have a PhD or equivalent qualification, and an ability to work in a diverse group including experimental and computational neurobiologists. Experience with gene expression data is desirable but not necessary, however experience with large-scale data processing in some form is essential.

Starting salary on the UCL Grade 7 scale. The post is funded by a grant from the Wellcome Trust for 12 months in the first instance.

You should apply for this post through UCL's online recruitment – where you can download a job description and person specification using ref: 1720545.

Informal enquiries about the post are encouraged, and may be directed to Prof. Kenneth Harris (by email to

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact Oksana Shapoval, HR Officer, UCL Institute of Neurology (email:     

Closing date: 13 May 2018.

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