Research Scientist (Evolutionary Gut Microbiomics)
Post Details
Job Title
Research Scientist (Evolutionary Gut Microbiomics)
Post Number
1003965
Closing Date
27 Jan 2021
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£32,255 - £39,345
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Evolution and adaptation of the gut microbiome
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Mar 2021
Months Duration
36

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

The purpose of this position is to develop metagenomic and population genetic bioinformatic pipelines, to investigate the genetics of microbial colonization of the human gut. The Research Scientist will focus on the following research topics:
•     Improving the quality of a) prokaryote and b) eukaryote MAGs (metagenomic assembled genomes)
•     Increasing confidence in SNP calls from metagenomes
•     Tracing microbial mutations in metagenomic timeseries data
•     Determining genes under selection or genes recently introduced to a microbial genome
•     Using advanced population genetic statistics to understand gut microbiome seeding & persistence

A focus in this position will be on the so far (largely) ignored microeukaryotes in the human gut microbiome: the applicant will develop high-resolution metagenomic methods, that will be integrated with existing metagenomic pipelines in the hosting group. The successful applicant will further research the genomes of (polykingdom) gut microbes at different life stages of the human host, taking advantage of longitudinal sampling and strain resolved metagenomics of novel and known taxa. As part of this, the group is currently establishing novel human cohorts, to investigate colonization and microbial adaptation of the human host.

Additionally, the applicant would be expected to help with the application of grants and drafting of scientific manuscripts, representing the group at conferences, and contributing to supervision of junior group members. The position is funded through the European Commission (ERC Starter grant) for 3 years with a possible extension after that.

Key Relationships

The successful candidate will interact with other QIB and EI groups, as well as the core bioinformatics team at both Institutes. Training and co-supervising PhD students and visitors is an integral part of this post, as is coordinating research activities with other groups in the Gut Microbes and Health programme and across the Norwich Research Park. Furthermore, the candidate will be actively involved in coordinating and building of a novel cohort focused on gut microbial evolution and the support staff for this. The group fosters active collaborations within the group, promoting team members helping each other out with their research projects and their respective expertise. The candidate will have the opportunity to visit external collaborators (UK & EU) on research projects.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Improving the quality of a) prokaryote and b) eukaryote MAGs (metagenomic assembled genomes)
20
Increasing confidence in SNP calls from metagenomes
20
Determining genes under selection or genes recently introduced to microbial genomes
20
Using advanced population genetic statistics to understand gut microbiome seeding & persistence
20
Contribute to supervision of research students and visitors to the group where necessary
10
As agreed with the line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post, for example, contributing to the work of Institute committees.
10

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD in Bioinformatics, Population Genetics, Ecology or Microbiology or equivalent experience
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Ability to troubleshoot and solve problems
Essential
Initiative and a desire to learn, to innovate, and to move out of their comfort zone
Essential
Proficiency in working in the Linux environment
Essential
Ability to work independently on research projects
Essential
Understanding genomes and interpreting gene function
Essential
Expertise in molecular evolution or numerical ecology
Desirable
Familiarity with genomic data, assosicative statistics and pipeline development
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Proficiency in at least one programming language (e.g. python, Perl, R)
Essential
Proven track-record of research output at the appropriate level
Essential
Proficiency working with sequence data
Desirable
Familiarity with theoretical evolution
Desirable
Understanding high resolution sequence data & implications
Desirable
Understanding the gut ecosystem
Desirable
Wet-lab experience
Desirable
Experience in SNP calling
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential
Reliable and conscientious
Desirable
Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to work alone and as part of a team
Desirable

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Attention to detail
Essential
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Ability to work under time pressure and to tight deadlines
Essential
Willingness to undertake any necessary training for the role
Essential
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Essential
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
Essential
Willingness to work outside of normal working hours as and when required
Desirable

Who We Are

Quadram Institute Bioscience

The Quadram Institute is at the forefront of a new interface between food science, gut biology and health, developing solutions to worldwide challenges in food-related disease and human health.

We are engaged in fundamental and translational food and health research, alongside clinical studies, endoscopy and industry, working together to become a leading international hub for food and health research, combining scientific excellence and clinical expertise, delivering impacts on patient care and accelerating innovation.

The Quadram Institute is a diverse and multicultural scientific community. We thrive on our international and European links, appointing staff from across the world. Any candidate who would like further information on current or anticipated immigration requirements can contact the HR Team on +44 (0)1603 450888 or nbi.recruitment@nbi.ac.uk.

For more information about working at Quadram Institute Bioscience, please click here.

Department

Gut Microbes and Health

Group Details

The Hildebrand group is researching bacteria and microeukaryotes through metagenomics, having three research themes: microbial diversity, microbial communities, and microbial evolution. For this we have developed innovative ways to analyse and interpret biological data, going beyond species-centric interpretations of microbial ecosystems. Our research focuses on the human gut microbiome, and extends to environmental (e.g. soil) microbiomes. The group was established in 2019 and is associated to both the Quadram Institute for Bioscience (Gut Microbes & Human Health) and the Earlham Institute (Sequencing Technologies & Algorithms) in the Norwich Research Park. This offers the advantage of having access to both innovative wetlab collaborations and unique patient cohorts, while also having access to a specialised sequencing centre and one of the largest compute clusters in the UK. For further group information see www.falk.science

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Research Scientist (Evolutionary Gut Microbiomics)

Applications are invited for a Research Scientist to join the Laboratory of Dr Falk Hildebrand in the Gut Microbes and Health Programme at Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB) / Earlham Institute (EI), based in Norwich, UK.

The role:

The purpose of this position is to develop metagenomic and population genetic bioinformatic pipelines, to investigate the genetics of microbial colonization of the human gut. The Research Scientist will focus on the following research topics:
• Improving the quality of a) prokaryote and b) eukaryote MAGs (metagenomic assembled genomes)
• Increasing confidence in SNP calls from metagenomes
• Tracing microbial mutations in metagenomic timeseries data
• Determining genes under selection or genes recently introduced to a microbial genome
• Using advanced population genetic statistics to understand gut microbiome seeding & persistence

A focus in this position will be on the so far (largely) ignored microeukaryotes in the human gut microbiome: the applicant will develop high-resolution metagenomic methods, that will be integrated with existing metagenomic pipelines in the hosting group.

The successful applicant will further research the genomes of (polykingdom) gut microbes at different life stages of the human host, taking advantage of longitudinal sampling and strain resolved metagenomics of novel and known taxa. As part of this, the group is currently establishing novel human cohorts, to investigate colonization and microbial adaptation of the human host.

Additionally, the applicant would be expected to help with the application of grants and drafting of scientific manuscripts, representing the group at conferences, and contributing to supervision of junior group members.

The ideal candidate:

Applicants should have a PhD in Bioinformatics, Population Genetics, Ecology or Microbiology, and has advanced proficiency in at least one programming language. Wet-lab experience is considered an advantage, but not required. The computational proficiency can be evidenced by links to the candidate's public repository. Special attention will be given to candidates with expertise in molecular evolution, numerical ecology, or experience in SNP calling, as well as familiarity with genomic data, associative statistics, and pipeline development. The applicant is expected to work independently and have good interdisciplinary communication skills, as the post will involve working with staff across the Institute.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £32,255 to £39,345 per annum depending on qualifications and experience.

This full-time position is funded through the European Commission (ERC Starter grant) for 3 years with a possible extension after this time. 

To apply, please submit a CV and a covering letter, stating your motivation.

We are committed to equal opportunities and welcome applications from all sectors of society.  The Institute supports equality of opportunity within the workplace and expects all employees to share and display these values.  To support our commitment, we have a range of family, faith and diversity friendly working arrangements to help all staff achieve excellence in their area of work.

As a Disability Confident employer, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy.

The Quadram Institute Bioscience is a registered charity (No. 1058499) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.