Postdoctoral Fellow

Job Location
EMBL-EBI Wellcome Genome Campus
CB10 1SD
United Kingdom

EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme and health insurance, educational and other family related benefits where applicable, as well as financial support for relocation and installation.

We have an informal culture, international working environment and excellent professional development opportunities but one of the really amazing things about us is the concentration of technical and scientific expertise – something you probably won’t find anywhere else.

If you’ve ever visited the campus you’ll have experienced first-hand our friendly, collegial and supportive atmosphere, set in the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. Our staff also enjoy excellent sports facilities including a gym, a free shuttle bus, an on-site nursery, cafés and restaurant and a library

Job Description

We are seeking to recruit a Postdoctoral Fellow for a position in statistical genetics of neurodegeneration.

The success of GWAS studies in the last ten years has fundamentally changed our understanding of the genetic basis of complex diseases. Despite this progress, only a small fraction of these discoveries have been translated into detailed causal mechanisms, or investigated using functional experiments, to validate specific genes as potential new therapeutic targets. Open Targets ( is a public-private initiative to dramatically accelerate this process, and enable the systematic identification and prioritization of targets. We combine large-scale genomic experiments with objective statistical and computational techniques to identify and validate the causal links between targets, pathways and diseases. We accelerate and enable research and innovation by making the evidence open and accessible to all.

Open Targets has recently launched a series of projects specifically focused on neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. We are seeking a post-doctoral statistical geneticist or genetic epidemiologist, to analyse a wide variety of genetic and genomic data, to identify genetically validated therapeutic targets for these debilitating diseases. We will leverage four types of data to identify likely causal variants, genes and mechanisms:

1. Use statistical fine-mapping methods to integrate existing GWAS results with transcriptional and epigenomic resources.

2. Integrate results from analysis of >8,000 exomes from the AD sequencing project to identify potential mechanistic links between rare protein-disrupting variants and common variant associations.

3. Incorporate genome-wide transcriptomic, genetic, epigenomic, and proteomic data from around 2,500 brains from the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP)-AD consortium, UK Brain Expression Consortium, and other datasets.

4. Analyse new data from CRISPR-based approaches to causal variant identification in iPSC derived neurons and microglia, which will be generated as part of this project (led by additional new postdoc recruits, and with CRISPR targets informed by results from analyses of 1-3 above).
The successful applicant will also be encouraged to develop their own interests in this area, including development of new methodological or analytical approaches.

The position will be based at the European Bioinformatics Institute, reporting to Dr. Jeffrey Barrett. The appointee will be part of a team representing the four partners in Open Targets: the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute, GlaxoSmithKline, and Biogen, and will work closely with the groups of Daniel Gaffney, Andrew Bassett, Toby Johnson (GSK) and Karol Estrada (Biogen).


The successful applicant will hold a PhD in statistics, genomics, computer science or similar, and have extensive experience in analysis and interpretation of complex disease genetics in large datasets (ideally both GWAS and Next Generation Sequencing studies). Strong programming skills, as well as a firm grounding in relevant statistical methodologies, will be essential. The applicant will have a demonstrated track record (as exemplified by publications) and be an independent problem-solver.

The applicant should be comfortable interacting with others in an interdisciplinary setting, since research will run in close collaboration with other groups. The applicant should have good written and oral communication skills.

How to Apply

To apply please submit a covering letter and CV, with two referees, through our online system, which can be found here:

About Our Organization

EMBL-EBI is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and it is a world-leading bioinformatics centre providing biological data to the scientific community with expertise in data storage, analysis and representation. EMBL-EBI provides freely available data from life science experiments, performs basic research in computational biology and offers an extensive user training programme, supporting researchers in academic and industry. We have close ties with both the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

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