Research Assistant/Research Associate in Statistics/Statistical Genetics

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University of Cambridge

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Application Deadline
£26,715 - £40,322

Research Assistant - £26,715 - £30,942

Research Associate* - £32,816 - £40,322

We are currently seeking a postdoctoral statistician to work on a joint project between the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit (Department of Public Health & Primary Care) and the MRC Biostatistics Unit. The post-holder will apply and develop cutting-edge Bayesian statistical methods for disentangling ("fine-mapping") the plethora of genetic association signals for blood-based biomarkers, such as proteins and metabolites, and diseases (eg, heart attack, stroke). Results from these methods will help to identify novel causes of cardiovascular diseases and potential targets for drug development.

The position is underpinned by a Cardiovascular Data Science Award funded jointly by the Alan Turing Institute ( and British Heart Foundation ( This award aims to foster collaboration between cardiovascular researchers and data scientists to generate novel data science solutions to key problems in cardiovascular science. This project aims to develop a new class of scalable statistical tools for fine-mapping multi-trait genetic association data. This will facilitate the identification of "shared" and "distinct" causal variants across multiple layers of phenotypic information (e.g., gene expression, cellular traits, proteins, metabolites, lipids and lipoproteins, known risk factors, disease outcomes). Given the focus on cardiovascular science, the initial test examples will be drawn from the ~200 known genetic association signals for heart disease or stroke. Data for testing and employing these new methods will be derived from the rich resources at the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit (, including the INTERVAL study, a 50,000-person bioresource with imputed genome-wide array data on all participants, >100 haematological traits, >4,000 plasma proteins, ~>1,000 metabolites, >500 lipids and lipoproteins in subsets of participants. These data have recently been harnessed to discover ~2000 genetic signals for protein levels (Sun et al., Nature, 2018) and ~6000 genetic signals for blood cell traits (Astle et al., Cell, 2016).

A PhD in Statistics, Biostatistics or Computer Science (or a closely aligned discipline), or an equivalent level of professional qualifications and experience is essential. Applicants should also have a strong background in statistical modelling and computational statistics and able to implement algorithms in a low-level language (C, C++). Knowledge of approximate methods for Bayesian inference of large data sets such as Variational Bayes is also desirable. In addition to these skills, the post-holder should also be able to work independently judging priorities and have excellent organisational and communication skills.

*Appointment at research associate is dependent on having a PhD (or equivalent experience is recognised), including those who have submitted but not yet received their PhD. Where a PhD has yet to be awarded or submitted appointment will initially be made at research assistant and amended to research associate when the PhD is awarded (PhD needs to be awarded within 6 months of the start date). If an individual has not submitted a PhD or is not working towards one they could be appointed as a Research Assistant if they have either a degree or Masters in a relevant area or equivalent experience.

This post is full-time and the funds for this post are available to 31st October 2021 in the first instance.

For an informal discussion about this post, please contact Dr. Adam Butterworth ( or Dr. Leonardo Bottolo (


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