Bioinformatics Web Developer

Job Location
CB10 1SD
United Kingdom
Job Description

We are looking to recruit an enthusiastic, highly motivated Developer to join the Samples, Phenotypes and Ontologies team at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) located on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK. 

Are you a web developer with an eye for design? Can you grapple with complex data and work out how to present them to the world in intuitive ways? Are you excited about new front-end technologies and frameworks? If so, this is the role for you!

You’ll be working on user interfaces for two projects - the Virtual Fly Brain (VFB) and the European Bank for induced pluripotent stem cells (EBiSC). The VFB is building a resource to pull together genetic information, anatomical information and image data from the brains of fruit flies.  A massive international effort is currently underway to map the neural circuitry of the brain of the fruit fly, Drosophila, and to genetically dissect the functions of these circuits.  VFB serves this community by integrating all the available data into a queryable system backed by an innovative, OWL-based schema and the results of statistical image analysis of tens of thousands of insect brain images.

The EBiSC project is a large European public-private partnership project supported jointly by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), which aims at establishing the first European Bank for induced pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC). The Samples, Phenotypes and Ontologies team are responsible for the capture, storage and publication of all data on each cell line produced by EBiSC.

Both projects present really interesting challenges for the presentation of complex biological data to users in intuitive, visually appealing ways. As part of the VFB project, you will be developing a new web interface, integrating a range of new search and query features with a WebGL based 3D image browser. As part of the EBiSC project, you’ll be working with an existing interface to display EBiSC data stored in the Biosamples Database, so you’ll need to find ways to innovate the existing interface to better illustrate stem cell data and reflect links between the biological samples involved in producing these cell lines. Your primary responsibilities will be to take ownership of both interfaces, and work closely with the developers of the backend databases to find new ways to represent the existing data. You’ll be expected to be involved in soliciting user feedback and will need to be responsive to evolving requirements.

You’ll be working within the SPOT team at EBI alongside developers, bioinformaticians and ontologists. As part of your day to day job, you’ll be collaborating with the VFB team, who have a range of expertise in semantics, image analysis and 3D image display, and the BioSamples database team, who have experience in ontologies, databases and backend java technologies. You’ll also be interacting with other groups at EMBL-EBI and external collaborators, both within the UK and internationally, to improve our websites. 

For further information about the Virtual Fly Brain project, please visit:
For further information about EBiSC or the Biosamples database, please visit: or


You will be qualified to degree level in either computer sciences or bioinformatics.

It is essential that you have experience in modern web technologies - HTML5, CSS and Javascript together with a proven track record of user interface design and development.  You must be enthusiastic about investigating the latest frameworks to find elegant solutions to existing problems. You will have experience of interacting with RESTful APIs and Java-based back-ends, and you have to be familiar with version control - ideally Git.   Experience of Solr, Lucene or ElasticSearch is desirable, as is familiarity with SQL databases.

Experience with semantic web technologies such as OWL, RDF or SPARQL would be useful but is not essential, together with experience of any other languages, such as Python or Perl.

SPOT is a multidisciplinary team, who believe in Agile development methods, so you’ll either need to have worked in agile teams in the past or be comfortable adapting to one.

Excellent English, written and oral, and interpersonal skills are essential.

About Our Organization

EMBL is an exclusive, equal employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation.

We welcome applications irrespective of gender and appointment will be based on merit alone. Applications are welcome from all nationalities.  Visa information will be discussed in more depth with applicants selected for interview.

Please note that appointments on fixed term contracts can be renewed, depending on circumstances at the time of the review.

Applications will close at 11pm UK time on the date listed above.

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