Postdoctoral Fellow - Computational Approaches focused on the Lung Microbiome - Saffron Walden, United Kingdom

Categories: News

Tags: Postdoctoral Fellowship | Biology



Salary per annum


Full Time, Part Time, Flexible Working

Full Time/ Part Time/Flexible Working

Contract Type

Fixed Term

Contract Length

3 years

Closing Date

4 September 2022

Job Reference


We have an exciting opportunity for a postdoctoral fellow to join our newly formed Lung Microbiome Team within the Parasites and Microbes programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

About the Role:

Our lab aims to understand how the lung microbiome contributes to chronic lung disease. Working closely with our clinical collaborators, the team combines advanced airway sampling and dense longitudinal collection with state of the art ‘omic approaches to accurately describe the ecology of the respiratory microbiome in both space and time, and define causal relationships to lung pathobiology.

Your role will be to lead on the bioinformatic analysis for a number of projects including:

  1. Exacerbations in cystic fibrosis patients are highly damaging clinical events, yet it is often unclear what triggers them. We are working to identify possible microbial triggers of exacerbations in cystic fibrosis patients through direct metagenomic and metabolomic analysis of patient sputum.

  2. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most common infection found in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis and other chronic lung diseases, and these infections often last decades. We are carrying out deep genome sequencing to identify subclonal population dynamics and correlate it with changes health or response to treatment.

  3. We are interested in developing methods to allow metagenomic and transcriptional analysis of microbial populations found in challenging samples such as low biomass airway samples collected via bronchoscopy. We will require new bioinformatic approaches to analyse this data.

All of these projects utilize clinical samples collected in collaboration with partners at the Royal Papworth Hospital, the University of Cambridge and elsewhere. Our aim is to use this data to gain real-world insights into microbial evolution in the context of chronic lung disease. We expect this work to lead to a number of publications.

You will be responsible for:

  • Bioinformatic analysis of genomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic data generated by the lab

  • Where required, the development of new bioinformatic approaches to analysing these highly complex and challenging datasets

  • Contribute to the training of PhD students in bioinformatic skills

  • Lead or contribute to writing manuscripts

  • Close collaborative work with wet-lab scientists in the team.

About You:

You will have a background in biology with the ability to use computational approaches to tackle biological problems. You must be familiar with genomics and bioinformatic tools required for analysing large datasets. You should have experience with analysing microbial ‘omics data, ideally with an understanding of microbial evolution and phylogenetics.

We are looking for an ambitious individual who wants to lead projects and develop their own ideas. You will be expected to be an active member of the team and collaborate with other teams inside and outside of the institute. 

About Us:

This position would place you within Dr Josie Bryant’s team within the Parasites and Microbes Programme, set within a world leading genomics institute. You would be working closely with bioinformaticians, wet-lab biologists, Postdoctoral Fellows and PhD students within the group and across this programme. You will be required to coordinate analysis of multiple project datasets and identify and establish new collaborations and projects, as well as to form part of an integrated team. You will have substantial support and opportunities to broaden your skill-set and further your career.

Essential Skills

Technical Skills:

  • PhD in Biology, Microbiology or bioinformatics or equivalent 

  • The ability to analyse and interpret genomic data with strong quantitative/computational skills 

  • Programming and bioinformatics skills 

 Competencies and Behaviours:

  • Team player with the ability to work with others in a collegiate and collaborative environment 

  • Ability to effectively communicate ideas and results to collaborators and present orally groups 

  • Proven ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with wide range of persons of differing levels, abilities and knowledge 

  • Ability to effectively prioritise, multi-task and work independently 

  • Detailed orientated, strong organisational and problem-solving skills 

  • Commitment to personal development and updating of knowledge and skills 

  • Demonstrates inclusivity and respect for all 

Other information

For more information about what it is like to work with us as a Postdoctoral Fellow, please see video below:

Application Process:

Please apply with your CV and cover letter outlining your suitability for the role using the criteria set out above in the essentials skills and in the attached role profile.