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Murdoch Children's Research Institute to Form Bioinformatics Center

By Alex Philippidis

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Australia's Murdoch Children's Research Institute intends to hire a head of bioinformatics who will oversee a transformation of the unit from a core service facility to an independent research center.

"We believe that this is necessary in order for us to remain competitive in modern biological science with its ever-growing dependence on the analysis of complex digital information," Andrew Sinclair, theme director, early development and disease and a professor at MCRI, told GenomeWeb Daily News. "Without research capacity in bioinformatic methods, we risk being unable to make the most of data that are generated from the latest technologies."

Sinclair said the institute's initial priority for the position will be the analysis of high-throughput or second-generation sequencing data, "but there is considerable flexibility depending on the interests and abilities of the appointee."

He added that the institute's computing facilities may need expansion, "but we are hoping to make use of large-scale computing capacity currently under development by a university-led consortium."

Victoria, Australia-based MCRI now employs 2.5 positions in its bioinformatics service core, which provides support in sequence analysis, microarray analysis, and analysis for data-intensive biological research. Another one or two hires are expected in the near future, and further growth beyond that is anticipated, subject to funding opportunities, Sinclair said.

"The new appointee will be expected to lead research in the development and application of methods for sequence analysis with special emphasis on second- and third-generation sequencing technologies. They will also be responsible for overseeing work in other areas of bioinformatics such as microarray analysis, depending on their specific background and experience," according to a detailed description of the position posted on MCRI's website.

The deadline for applications is Nov. 30.

"We hope to be able to make an appointment before Christmas but are willing to extend the search period if necessary," Sinclair said.

Among essential qualifications listed by MCRI for the position are a PhD in bioinformatics or related discipline with substantial relevant research experience; formal training in mathematical sciences, including statistics; and experience in development of methods for second-generation sequencing analysis. "Desirable" qualifications include experience with microarray analysis, particularly gene expression; and experience in a broadly-based medical research environment.

"Depending on the successful applicant's skills and interests, they would be expected to develop collaborations with various groups conducting research on these unique cohorts with analysis in areas of whole-genome sequencing, ChIP-seq, RNA-seq and DNA methylation," the advertisement stated.

The position reports to the director of the Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics unit, John Carlin, and would interact closely with the Information Services Department "and other key groups and stakeholders on the campus," according to the institute.

"The institution is funding this initiative to a reasonably generous level in the first instance, from its own resources, but the new appointee will be expected to generate funding from external competitive sources in the future, both for their own work and for collaborative research with other groups on campus," Sinclair said.

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