Research Associate in Life Sciences

Imperial College London Department of Life Sciences

Job summary

A bioinformatics Research Associate post with an emphasis on insect genomics is available in the research group of Dr. Nikolai Windbichler (https://www.windbichlerlab.org/) working in collaboration with Dr. Angela Meccariello and Prof. George Christophides (http://www.vigilab.org/) at Imperial College. Our joint research aims to build and improve gene drive systems, based on the use of CRISPR/Cas9, as well as apply other genome editing...

Job listing information

  • Reference NAT01038
  • Date posted 5 November 2021
  • Closing date 3 December 2021

Key information about the role

  • Location South Kensington Campus (map)
  • Position type Full time, fixed term
  • Salary £41,593 – £49,210 plus benefits
  • Department Department of Life Sciences
  • Category Researcher / Non Clinical Researcher

Job description

Job summary

A bioinformatics Research Associate post with an emphasis on insect genomics is available in the research group of Dr. Nikolai Windbichler (https://www.windbichlerlab.org/) working in collaboration with Dr. Angela Meccariello and Prof. George Christophides (http://www.vigilab.org/) at Imperial College. Our joint research aims to build and improve gene drive systems, based on the use of CRISPR/Cas9, as well as apply other genome editing technologies with the ultimate goal of controlling insect disease vectors or devastating insect pests of agriculture by decreasing the reproductive or disease transmission potential of such insect populations.

You will help produce independent and original research as part of a team of researchers and technicians involved in a multi-disciplinary research consortium. Our projects, funded by the BBSRC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are aimed at building and testing novel gene drives and we apply genomics to identify new gene drive targets, and assess their suitability and to develop tissue-specific drivers for novel gene drive strategies. Population genetics helps us to predict how gene drives will behave in the field and we have links with African partners for sampling wild populations and generate field-based datasets. The lab has achieved several notable successes in recent years and is at the frontier in the field of mosquito and medfly transgenesis and genome editing.

We are looking for a bioinformatician who is interested in insect genomics, genome editing and population genetics. The position demands a solid background in bioinformatics with a focus on genome science. Extensive experience in next generation sequencing data analysis, transcriptomics and genome annotation pipelines are essential. We do encourage the application of wet lab researchers, in particular recent PhD graduates, that have these skills but want to keep a leg in the lab door to generate their own datasets. We are not looking to hire someone for the purpose of gene drive mathematical modelling.

The post involves building your own research portfolio while fostering the interaction with other researchers of the wider group and use your bioinformatic knowledge to provide one-on-one assistance to researchers wishing to (learn to) analyse Next-generation sequencing (NGS) data (e.g. RNA-Seq) from experiments with laboratory-reared mosquitoes and medfly and population genetics (e.g. individual genome re-sequencing) data. Another element of the role will be in helping to plan NGS experiments in collaboration with wet lab researchers to ensure there is sufficient scientific power to answer the question at hand. A fundamental skill you will possess is the ability to communicate their workflow and a breakdown of their analysis to a wide range of biologists that may not have a large amount of bioinformatics experience.

Duties and responsibilities

    • To take initiatives in the planning and facilitating your own research and in supporting the wider research groups activities
    • To identify and develop suitable workflows and techniques to plan experiments for the collection and analysis of date in collaboration with wet lab researchers.
    • To provide assistance to researchers requiring Next-Generation Sequencing data (e.g. RNA-Seq) and population genetics (e.g. individual genome re-sequencing) data analysis. 
    • To contribute to the preparation of grant reports to funder, scientific publications and regular technical updates.
    • To collaborate with other allied scientists within Imperial College and elsewhere in London and abroad as appropriate.
    • To regularly discuss progress of research projects with members of the Group.
    • To acquire and interpret research data and results.
    • To maintain accurate and complete records of all findings.
    • To organize and supervise dedicated class activities or practical work for lab members and undergraduate students when required.
    • To present findings to colleagues and at conferences.
    • To promote the reputation of the Group, the Department, and the College.
    • To undertake any necessary training and/or development.

Essential requirements

    • Research Associate: Hold a PhD (or equivalent) in an appropriate biological science or computational discipline with a strong focus on bioinformatics & genomics or population genetics
    • Research Assistant: Near completion of a PhD (or equivalent) in an appropriate biological science or computational discipline with a strong focus on bioinformatics & genomics or population genetics
    • Next generation sequencing analysis, outstanding coding skills, high working proficiency in a Unix/Linux environment.
    • Experience in next generation sequencing data analysis such as transcriptomic or genome annotation pipelines
    • Track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with career stage 
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required
    • Ability to work with little supervision and show initiative with research
    • Ability to prioritise tasks and organise work effectively to meet deadlines
    • Ability to keep meticulous and accurate record of research data
    • Ability to work with tight deadlines
    • Drive to tackle and overcome scientific problems
    • Effective management of resources
    • Ability to relate well to others and form positive working relationships with a wide range of people
    • Demonstrable analytical capability
    • Ability to work in a collaborative manner
    • Ability to develop and apply new concepts
    • Willingness to temporarily work overseas or travel to collaborating laboratories as required by the project
    • Willingness to work out of normal working hours (including weekends), from time to time, as required by the project

Further information

This is a full time, fixed term position based for 36 months, based at South Kensington Campus.

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as a Research Assistant within the salary range £36,694 - £39,888 per annum.

Should you require any further details on the role please contact: [Nikolai Windbichler] – [n.windbichler@imperial.ac.uk].

The College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the journal impact factor where it is published. For more information, see https://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-evaluation/

The College believes that the use of animals in research is vital to improve human and animal health and welfare. Animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level. http://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-integrity/animal-research

We are committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment for all. We therefore encourage candidates to apply irrespective of age, disability, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation. We are an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Disability Confident Leader and a Stonewall Diversity Champion