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Postdoctoral Fellow

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) - Marioni Group

About the team/job

We are seeking a talented and highly motivated postdoctoral fellow to join the Marioni laboratory and use single-cell genomics data to construct and compare senescence trajectories for cells.

This project is part of the new NIH-funded Cellular Senescence Network Consortium (SenNet). You will be based at the EMBL-EBI in Hinxton working as part of a larger collaboration with investigators predominantly based in the US.

The Marioni group is a world leader in computational biology, with a particular interest in developing methods that exploit high-throughput single cell genomics data to understand the molecular mechanisms that underpin decision making in cells in the context of normal development and cancer. The lab has contributed some of the most influential papers in the field of single cell genomics, including key methodological advances that have underpinned numerous scientific insights. John Marioni is also a key member of the teams leading development of the NIH funded Human BioMolecular Atlas Program Consortium (HuBMAP) and the international Human Cell Atlas project (HCA). This project will build on the success of these ongoing collaborations and, importantly, will enable the specific identification and prioritisation of senescent cells that may be poorly represented in standard healthy reference atlases.

The successful candidate will have a strong background in computational biology, with a PhD in a relevant discipline. They will also have excellent communication skills and a genuine interest in applying computational methods to biological questions. 

Your role

The aim of this project is to develop and utilise computational methods for constructing and comparing trajectories of senescence using single-cell genomics data. A key challenge will be to compare these trajectories between cell types, using Dynamical Time Warping and Gaussian Process-based methods, to determine whether the rate of senescence varies between cell types. This will allow identification of cell types that senesce at different rates and whether these rates vary across different molecular features (e.g., chromatin accessibility and gene expression).

Another possible project is to develop methods for understanding what extrinsic features might drive these differences (e.g., does an organ have a metabolic function?) and to predict early senescing cells. To do this we will use linear modelling based strategies, enabling proper accounting for confounding effects.

It will be important to link with the other consortium partners to ensure that any findings are tested experimentally, thereby complementing the analysis and experimental parts of SenNeT.

Methodologies and data will be transferred between SenNeT partners as and when needed. Some travel to the US (pandemic allowing) will be required.

You will:

  • Develop and apply computational methods that enable the construction and comparison of senescence trajectories for cells using single-cell omics data;
  • Drive your own research within the laboratory, working closely with the group leader and the wider consortium, while also demonstrating creativity and initiative to develop novel approaches and research questions;
  • Write up research work for presentation and publication;
  • Communicate material of a specialist or highly technical nature clearly and appropriately to the group, institute and at scientific conferences;
  • Contribute to the smooth running of the research group and assist in supervision of junior lab members. 

You have

  • A PhD in computational biology or a relevant discipline;
  • Experience in single cell genomics;
  • Presented research findings both internally and at international meetings;
  • Demonstrated ability to publish research in international peer reviewed journals;
  • Proven ability to develop computational methods with applications in biology;
  • Expertise in statistical methods and modelling;
  • Strong analytical and programming skills (preferably in R and/or python);
  • Excellent communication skills, verbal and written;
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently and collaboratively with other group members and external collaborators;
  • Ability to manage own workload and meet deadlines. 

Why join us

Do something meaningful
At EMBL-EBI you can apply your talent and passion to accelerate science and tackle some of humankind's greatest challenges. EMBL-EBI, part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, is a worldwide leader in the storage, analysis and dissemination of large biological datasets. We provide the global research community with access to publicly available databases and tools which are crucial for the advancement of healthcare, food security, and biodiversity.

Join a culture of innovation
We are located on the  Wellcome Genome Campus, alongside other prominent research and biotech organisations, and surrounded by beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. This is a highly collaborative and inclusive community where our employees enjoy a relaxed atmosphere. We are committed to ensuring our employees feel valued, supported and empowered to reach their professional potential. 

  • Financial incentives: Monthly family and child allowances, generous stipend reviewed yearly, pension scheme including 17% employer contribution, death benefit, long-term care, accident-at-work and unemployment insurances
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Private medical insurance for you and your immediate family (including all prescriptions and generous dental & optical cover)
  • Generous time off: 30 days annual leave per year, in addition to eight bank holidays
  • Relocation package
  • Campus life: Free shuttle bus to and from work, on-site library, subsidised on-site gym and cafeteria, casual dress code, extensive sports and social club activities (on campus and remotely)
  • Family benefits: On-site nursery, 10 days of child sick leave, generous parental leave, holiday clubs on campus and monthly family and child allowances
  • Benefits for non-UK residents: Visa exemption.
  • For more details please see our employee benefits page

What else you need to know

  • Contract duration: This position is a 3 year fellowship contract with the possibility of an extension up to 5 years
  • International applicants: We recruit internationally and successful candidates are offered visa exemptions. Read more on our page for international applicants
  • Diversity and inclusion: At EMBL-EBI, we strongly believe that inclusive and diverse teams benefit from higher levels of innovation and creative thought. We encourage applications from women, LGBTQ+ and individuals from all nationalities. 
  • Job location: This role is based in Hinxton, UK and you will be required to relocate once it is safe to do so, if you are currently based abroad. Read more about how we are recruiting during the pandemic
  • DORA - EMBL is a signatory of DORA and is committed to hiring and training outstanding research, service, and administrative personnel.
Location: Hinxton
Salary: Year 1 Stipend monthly £2,869.24
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 12th January 2022
Closes: 22nd February 2022
Job Ref: EBI01965
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