Postdoctoral Fellowship - Statistical Genetics

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Wellcome Sanger Institute
Saffron Walden, Hinxton, United Kingdom
Application Deadline
£32,375 to £39,956

Applications are invited for a 3-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Wellcome Sanger Institute based jointly in the teams of Dr. Carl Anderson (Human Genetics Programme) and Dr. Maya Ghoussaini (Open Targets, Genetics Core Team). This is an exciting opportunity for you to bring together cutting-edge genetic and genomic datasets to identify novel candidate therapeutic targets for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a chronic and debilitating disease of the gastrointestinal tract that affects 0.5% of the European population. The etiological basis is poorly understood and, as a result, existing therapeutics often fail, leaving patients to face life-changing surgical procedures.

Genome-wide association studies have identified 240 regions of the human genome associated with IBD susceptibility. As for the majority of complex disease GWAS hits, the causal variants at the majority of these loci are unknown but are believed to have their effect on disease by changing the expression of nearby genes. In order to extract causal biological insights from IBD GWAS discoveries, and identify potentially novel therapeutic targets, a vital next step is to identify these genetically dysregulated genes, the pathways and cell-types in which they operate and the potential for off-target effects.

During this fellowship, you will lead a multi-organisation collaborative project to build a causal evidence base for every gene within IBD associated GWAS loci. As a member of the Anderson group, you will also have access to the latest large-scale genetic association data for IBD, alongside functional genomics datasets derived from disease-relevant tissue in health and disease (single-cell RNA-seq and ATAC-seq). Your affiliation with the Ghoussaini Team will bring access to the massive cross-disease genetic and genomic datasets aggregated by Open Targets and presented in their web-based portals, Target Validation and Open Targets Genetics. Thus, during this fellowship you will further develop skills to address one of the most fundamental and important questions in complex disease genetics, namely, how to translate genetic associations into novel drug targets.

Open Targets is a public-private initiative between the EMBL-EBI, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Biogen, Celgene, Takeda, Sanofi and the Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI). You will benefit from working closely with other scientists from Open Targets partner institutions with expertise in statistical genetics, inflammatory bowel disease and drug development. As such, this fellowship will suit a self-motivated individual with good communication skills who is looking to make a personal contribution to genomic research, either in academia or the pharmaceutical industry.

Essential Skills

  • PhD in a relevant subject (genetics, functional genomics, computer science, maths)
  • Experience with large-scale computational analysis
  • Able to work with others in a collegiate and collaborate environment
  • Motivation and ambition to make a personal contribution to genomic research
  • An attention to detail and a drive for rigor

Ideal Skills

  • Strong scientific publication record
  • An interest in understanding the biological basis of immune-mediated diseases

Other information

Please include your CV and a cover letter outlining your suitability for the position in your application.

Candidates will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. As such, we encourage early application.

About Us

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a world leading genomics research centre. We undertake large-scale research that forms the foundations of knowledge in biology and medicine. Our findings are used to improve health and to understand life on Earth. Find out more at or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube and on our Blog.

Our campus

Set across 130 acres, just outside of Cambridge, The Sanger Institute is located on the stunning Wellcome Genome Campus. Home to some of the world's foremost institutes and organisations in genomics and computational biology, committed to delivering life-changing science with the reach, scale, and creativity to solve some of humanity's greatest challenges.

Our benefits:

There’s an attractive benefits package on offer at the Genome Wellcome Campus. We appreciate the importance of achieving work-life balance and support this with a number of family and carer-friendly policies. Plus a flexible working policy for those who may wish to amend their working pattern or arrangement.
As well as the usual benefits you would expect, we go much further:

  • 25 days annual leave (extra 1 day to a maximum of 30 days for every year you work)
  • Auto-enrolment into a generous Group Defined Contribution Pension Scheme, with enhanced company contribution (for more information, see our Pensions page)
  • Up to 2 days annual paid volunteering leave
  • Up to 10 days paid Emergency Carers Leave per year
  • Family friendly environment including options for flexible and part-time working, an on-site Workplace Nursery salary Sacrifice Schemes for pre-school children and Summer holiday club
  • Life Assurance Cover and a Group Income Protection Scheme (if on a contract of 12 months or more)
  • Enhanced maternity leave and parental leave
  • Access to substantial number of courses and training events onsite
  • Private Healthcare Scheme (after 6 months service)
  • Eyecare and Dental payment plans
  • Concessions and discounts from our corporate perks site

Being part of the Genome Wellcome Campus you will be part of the beautiful working environment with an impressive range of benefits, services and facilities also including:

  • Free bus service to and from Campus, covering various routes around Cambridge, Saffron Walden and surrounding villages
  • A car-share initiative
  • Free parking
  • A number of on-site venues where you can meet, eat and socialise with colleagues
  • A thriving Sports and Social Club which provides members with subsidised access to a gym, tennis courts, sports hall, fitness classes and a vibrant social calendar of events

Find out more about our Genome Wellcome Campus.

We hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and will consider all individuals without discrimination and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, where everyone can thrive.

About Open Targets

Open Targets is a pioneering public-private partnership between EMBL-EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Wellcome Sanger Institute (Sanger), Celgene, Sanofi and Takeda, located on the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, near Cambridge, UK.

Open Targets brings together expertise from six complementary institutions to generate evidence on the biological validity of therapeutic targets and provide an initial assessment of the likely effectiveness of pharmacological intervention on these targets, using genome-scale experiments and analysis. Open Targets aims to provide an R&D framework that applies to all aspects of human disease, to improve the success rate for discovering new medicines and share its data openly in the interests of accelerating drug discovery.


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