Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Bioinformatics)

Mathematics & Statistics - UK Jobs

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Dr Falk Hildebrand at the Earlham Institute & Quadram Institute based in Norwich, UK.

The Hildebrand group is researching microbial communities, specifically interested in decoding the diversity, community interactions, and evolution of pro- and eukaryotic microbes. The group develops and maintains various metagenomics software tools (see


How quickly can microbes adapt to newly colonized environments?

The Hildebrand group develop tools to reconstruct novel species and delimit even closely related strains. These enable mapping the gut microbial persistence, dispersal and evolution of microbes in microbial communities (doi:10.1016/j.chom.2021.05.008) or the relative distribution of fungi & bacteria (doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.15314) in thousands of metagenomes. However, past work often pointed to the crucial impact of the bacterial pan genomes and species interactions in communities (doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0386-6, 10.1136/gutjnl-2018-317715). These are often captured at insufficient quality with the current generation of sequencing platforms & metagenomic tools (doi: 10.1128/mSystems.00881-21).

The role:

In both human gut and soil microbiomes, typically hundreds to thousands of microbial species can be found. By all accounts, their genome architecture seems to be incredibly dynamic, with genes frequently lost or introduced. This process is part of the constant adaption to the microbe’s environment. To understand such processes better, the postholder will develop novel pipelines in metagenomics, that can automatically combine data from PacBio, single cell and Hi-C sequencing. This will enable ultra-resolution metagenomics and be used for comparative genomics based on thousands of metagenomes.

This post will therefore require a highly motivated and experienced bioinformatician, with an interest to compare microbial genomes reconstructed from metagenomes. For this, existing pipelines will be adapted and new pipelines implemented. Datasets the candidate will conduct research are diverse, e.g. gut metagenomes or soil metagenomes. These will be sequenced using 2nd and 3rd generation sequencing platforms and advanced protocols, such as illumina, PacBio, ONT, Hi-C & single cell sequencing data. The analysis will be published in research papers that the candidate should be leading.

The ideal candidate:

Candidates should have a PhD in Bioinformatics or related field, with experience in either: metagenomics, population genetics, comparative genomics (eukaryotic or prokaryotic), binning algorithms, single cell sequencing and/or sequencing technologies. The candidate will work independently, with other group members, and with national and international collaborators to generate and analyse data.

Previous experience in publishing scientific results as well as bioinformatics expertise are essential. An interest in community microbiology (such as gut microbiome), genetics and evolution will be advantageous, but prior experience or knowledge of metagenomics is not a requirement. Good organisational skills and the ability to communicate and work productively within a multidisciplinary team will be crucial. Training will be available for multiple aspects of the work.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £32,578 to £39,938 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full-time post for a contract of 3 years. 

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our website or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or quoting reference 1004217. 

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

Closing date is Sunday 27 June 2022, interviews will be held on Wednesday 6 July 2022.

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