Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)

Postdoctoral Researcher, Computational Biology and Stratified Medicine

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)

London, United Kingdom

The Centre for Experimental Medicine & Rheumatology (EMR) comprises an integrated, multidisciplinary research team of Clinicians, Scientists, Biostatisticians and Bioinformaticians led by Professor Costantino Pitzalis.

EMR research aims to better understand disease pathogenesis in order to develop novel therapeutics and maximise therapeutic utility of existing therapies for a number of autoimmune conditions including RA, SLE and Sjogren’s Syndrome. The Centre runs a strong basic science programme in the field of immunology & inflammation linked to a clinical translational programme in the following 4 research areas: (1) Breach of Tolerance and Autoimmunity, (2) Development and resolution of inflammation, (3) Mechanisms of Tissue Damage and Repair and (4) Developing new therapies through basic research (e.g. tissue specific targeting) and clinical trials.

The EMR is based at the William Harvey Research Institute (WHRI) and this post will work in a matrix team with the Centre for Translational Bioinformatics (CTB), led by the WHRI Director of Bioinformatics, Prof Michael Barnes. The CTB is multi-disciplinary team of Computational Biologists, Software Engineers and Data Scientists, leading bioinformatics in partnership with other WHRI Research teams. The team are pioneering the application of multi-omics in stratified healthcare, using cutting edge computational systems biology and data warehousing in a virtualised computing environment.

Job Purpose

To lead the delivery of high-quality computational biology research in collaboration with and under the supervision of the Director of Bioinformatics in order to realise the research objectives of the Centre for Experimental Medicine & Rheumatology (EMR).

Key areas of research include: 

  • Make significant research contributions in the genetic and genomic analysis of biomedical and disease related data, with a particular focus on improving understanding of aetiology and treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
  • Work with clinical teams to develop novel non-invasive biomarkers for RA patient stratification according to tissue-driven pathobiology.
  • Perform integrative analysis of high-dimensional biomedical data, particularly next generation RNAseq data, but also clinical data and other data relevant to drug discovery and translational research.
  • Implementation of cutting edge statistical and bioinformatics analysis pipelines to study multi-omic data generated from patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
  • Incubating new research proposals capitalising on skills in computational biology and bioinformatics.

Main Duites

  • Demonstrate expertise in the statistical and computational tools required to perform accurate transcriptomic and genomic data analysis, particularly using next-generation sequence analysis, and correlation against clinical trial results.
  • Demonstrate a broad base of computational biology skills, necessary to progress from genomic data to clinical biomarker discovery and hypotheses of molecular mechanism.
  • Obtain new knowledge by theoretical and/or practical methods. Engage actively in research at a high level in a particular subject area.
  • Ensure appropriate dissemination of research by scholarly publication or other outputs appropriate to the relevant academic discipline.
  • Support and supervise the work of research students as appropriate.
  • Submit jointly with colleagues, proposals to funding bodies (including research councils, government departments, private sector and public sector collaborators) for the financial support of research
  • Collaborate with colleagues in research activities, where appropriate, both internally within Queen Mary and externally with other Higher Education Institutes and/or non-academic organisations.
  • Play a part in developing national and international research links.
  • Prepare and present papers and other research outputs in national and international seminars, conferences, workshops and other events.
  • Take pastoral responsibility for postgraduate students in the Institute, as assigned and to support students in key aspects of personal development planning and the acquisition of relevant skills.
  • Carry out such Centre, Institute and/or College administrative tasks as may be required by the Centre Lead or Institute Director.
  • Attend Centre and Institute meetings as required as well other relevant College meetings and boards, as agreed with the Centre Lead or Institute Director.
  • Comply with relevant College policies and regulations regarding financial matters, harassment, equal opportunities, public interest disclosure, health and safety, intellectual property, data protection or any other rules, regulations or codes binding on the member of staff.
  • Participate in the College Appraisal Scheme and demonstrate a commitment to continuing professional development.
  • Undertake such other reasonable duties as may be required by the Line Manager/Head of Institute from time to time.
  • Contribute towards the scientific research output of the Centre for Experimental Medicine & Rheumatology (EMR), working as an integrated member of the WHRI Bioinformatics team
  • Responsible, under the general guidance of the PI, for undertaking the programme of work.
  • Prepare reports of appropriate research results for public presentation through seminars and conferences. Contribute to writing papers summarising research findings for publication in peer-reviewed journals (of high international standing where possible). Contribute to other reports where possible.
  • Conduct empirical research as required by the research programme.
  • Collect data and undertake any appropriate analysis of data as requested.
  • Maintain appropriate databases, keeping accurate written and computerised records and to ensure that these records are stored in a secure place, and to maintain confidentiality of all electronically stored personal data in line with the provisions of the Data Protection Act.
  • Undertake literature and database searches for the research project, and to be able to interpret and present the findings of the literature searches and advise the research teams appropriately regarding potential projects as required by the PI.
  • Keep up to date with subject related and professional issues, in particular, developments in the specific subject area.
  • These duties will be subject to review in line with the changing requirements of the School or College, and with the development needs of the postholder as identified through regular review/appraisal processes.
  • Develop, in collaboration with the Principal Investigator, such new techniques as may be necessary to achieve the objectives of the research.
  • Make research initiatives and original contributions to the research programme wherever possible, and to contribute freely to the team research environment in a manner conducive to the success of the research project as a whole.
  • Assist in the supervision of student projects, as necessary.
  • Make research contributions to the research programme wherever possible, and to contribute freely to the team research environment in a manner conducive to the success of the research project as a whole.
  • Monitor research findings with a view to commercial exploitation, and to inform the Head of Department (or line manager, as appropriate) and Head of Innovation & Enterprise of any appropriate novel research outcomes.
  • Judgements involving complex facts or situations, which require analysis, interpretation and comparison of data or any other information.
  • To adopt flexible working practices where required.
  • Encourage interaction between team members
  • Exchange relevant information, relevant to the project both internally and externally: with staff, students, senior management and peers.
  • Establish and maintain relationships in order to collaborate with researchers and academics in own team, within the department and outside the department within the College when necessary.
    • To work with students.
    • Work with external collaborators as agreed with the Supervisors.
    • Providing, receiving and presenting complex information to a large group of people.
    • Where appropriate to assist the supervision, training, expert advice and / or assistance to new members of the team, research students.

    The above list of responsibilities is not exhaustive and the jobholder may be required to undertake other duties commensurate with the level of the role, as reasonable requested by their line manager.

    This job description sets out the duties of the post at the time it was drawn up. Such duties may vary from time to time without changing the general character of the duties or level of the responsibility entailed. Such variations are a common occurrence and cannot in themselves justify a reconsideration of the grading of the post. 

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