Job Details


EMBL-EBI Hinxton near Cambridge, UK

Staff Category:

Staff Member

Contract Duration:

3 years


5 (monthly salary starting at £2,552 after tax). For more information about pay and benefits click here

Closing Date:

3 January 2018

Reference Number:

Job Description
The Samples, Phenotypes and Ontologies team are looking to recruit an enthusiastic, highly motivated Bioinformatician to join their team. You will be working on the GWAS Catalog, the major worldwide resource for capturing information about the genetic basis of disease from scientific literature. The GWAS Catalog is a manually curated, high quality repository of all published genome wide association studies that has been running since 2008. It is considered the “go-to” resource for looking up findings relating human genotype to phenotype associations.

You will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with members of the GWAS Catalog team, the Samples, Phenotypes and Ontologies Team, the Open Targets Team, and other developers and bioinformaticians at EMBL-EBI, the NHGRI and elsewhere to ensure the delivery of the infrastructure of the NHGRI-EBI GWAS Catalog.

In this role, you’ll be expected to work with the user community to acquire and store GWAS summary statistics in a streamlined and quality controlled manner. This might involve developing, or helping to develop, the necessary access tools for highly requested summary statistics, liaising with users to gather requirements and translating these into technical specifications and test plans, and developing new applications to complement and replace the existing NHGRI-EBI GWAS Catalog infrastructure. We’ll expect you to develop an understanding of the sorts of curation involved in building the GWAS Catalog, so you can help drive forward the tools that assist this process. This might mean proposing a new curation interface, or building a pipeline for mapping GWAS data to other genomic resources like Ensembl or dbGaP. Or maybe you’ll help by proposing changes to our REST API to better support different types of analysis our users want to perform.

At EMBL-EBI, we help scientists realise the potential of ‘big data’ in biology by enabling them to exploit complex information to make discoveries that benefit mankind. Working for EMBL-EBI gives you an opportunity to apply your skills and energy for the greater good. As part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), we are a non-profit, intergovernmental organisation funded by 23 member states and two associate member states and proud to be an equal-opportunity employer. We are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK, and our 600 staff are engineers, technicians, scientists and other professionals from all over the world.
Qualifications and Experience
We follow agile techniques in our approach to development, so if you’re the sort of person who likes to work in sprints, has worked with tools like Jira in the past to prioritise user requirements, or have ever tried pair-programming or code reviews, then you’ll be a good fit for our team. All of our software is built and published using continuous integration and version control, so you should at least be familiar with GitHub, and you should be confident in making your code public for others to install and run.
We are looking for a bioinformatician, or a software developer with experience in handling biological data and biological requirements. You should have a biological background but you should also be able to find your way around a terminal. Programming experience in at least one programming language (such as Python, Perl or Java) and experience with managing data and data processing pipelines would be desirable. Previous experience of working in a bioinformatics-focused environment, especially on a large, public database, would be beneficial. If you’ve worked with relational databases (MySQL, Postgres or Oracle) you’ll be at a distinct advantage. The GWAS Catalog makes extensive use of ontologies to consistently describe traits and phenotypes, so if you’ve used ontologies in the past, or are just keen to know more, this would be ideal.

Our ideal candidate will be self-motivated and capable of working both independently and with a closely interacting team of scientists in an international academic environment. This post offers the challenges and the excitement of working at the forefront of genomics and clinical data, and as such requires an eager individual with excellent communication skills.

This position represents a fantastic opportunity to gain hands-on experience at working on a resource with major scientific impact in a world-leading bioinformatics institute. It comes with the chance to work with a strong team of curators and developers team at the interface of big data architecture and expert biologists to help deliver content with real scientific impact and a variety of clinical applications.
EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme and health insurance, educational and other family related benefits where applicable, as well as financial support for relocation and installation.

We have an informal culture, international working environment and excellent professional development opportunities but one of the really amazing things about us is the concentration of technical and scientific expertise – something you probably won’t find anywhere else.

If you’ve ever visited the campus you’ll have experienced first-hand our friendly, collegial and supportive atmosphere, set in the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. Our staff also enjoy excellent sports facilities including a gym, a free shuttle bus, an on-site nursery, cafés and restaurant and a library.
Application Instructions
To apply please submit a covering letter and CV, with two referees, through our online system.
Additional Information
Applications are welcome from all nationalities - visa information will be discussed in more depth with applicants selected for interview.

EMBL-EBI is committed to achieving gender balance and strongly encourages applications from women, who are currently under-represented at all levels. Appointment will be based on merit alone.

This position is limited to the contract duration specified.

Applications will close at 23:00 GMT on the date listed above.

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