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Bioinformatician (Human Cell Atlas)

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About the team/job

This position is a fantastic opportunity to gain hands-on experience, working on a high-profile project with major scientific impact in a world-leading bioinformatics institute. The Archival Infrastructure and Technology (AIT) team is looking for an enthusiastic, highly motivated bioinformatician to join the Human Cell Atlas (HCA – project. You will support labs from all over the world contributing single-cell data to the HCA. 

The HCA is a cutting-edge initiative using recent technological advances that allows us to measure and observe individual human cells at scale. Labs all over the world are collecting vast volumes of data that will help us to understand health and disease better. As part of this team, you will support the HCA community sharing this data and increasing our understanding of human biology.

You will be defining and running processes that make single-cell data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reproducible (FAIR, as part of the Data Coordination Platform (HCA-DCP) for the HCA community. We deliver services that biologists and bioinformaticians in labs all over the world use to submit datasets to the DCP, uploading terabytes of data at a time. This is big data, but the hardest challenge we face is variability, not volume, as we support submitters to accurately describe their experiments using our tools. As part of our team, you will have the chance to engage with our collaborators from the Broad Institute and the University of California Santa Cruz.

Your role

You should have knowledge of genomics and an ability to pick up new skills quickly. You should be adaptable, enthusiastic and value-focused, as these are traits we look for in all our team members. Existing domain knowledge of data management and single-cell data is useful, but a willingness to learn and versatility in approach is key. 

As part of your day to day job, you will interact with the labs generating data for the HCA project. You will support them structuring their data to meet HCA standards and ensuring their data is FAIR. You will work with them to understand their needs and requirements for data deposition. You will engage with the HCA community and research recent literature to keep up with the latest trends and methods in the field and accommodate our metadata standard anocesses. You will also be expected  to understand what metadata is vital to ensure the FAIRness of single-cell data and that it can be used to build the Atlas. You will also work with software developers to design and implement improved processes and services to capture single-cell data and increase the level of automation in our FAIRification processes including annotating metadata with ontology terms. All of our code and data is open, you should be confident in making your work open-source. 

We follow agile principles in our approach to development and operations, focusing on our user needs when prioritizing work to be done. You will be part of a cross-functional team where bioinformaticians and software developers work together to understand the needs of the HCA scientists and deliver and run services to meet those needs.

You have

  • Experience working with sequencing or other omics data
  • Experience in Genomics and/or Bioinformatics
  • Knowledge of commonly used data formats, in particular, JSON and JSON schema
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to work as part of a team of people with a range of skills and a diversity of backgrounds.

You might also have

  • Practical experience of data management
  • Experience in single-cell genomics
  • Some familiarity with semantic technologies and the use of ontologies for annotating metadata
  • Experience in running bioinformatics training courses 
  • Experience of at least one programming language including Python and/or Java
  • Experience of working in an agile development environment
  • Interest in Cloud technologies

Why join us

Do something meaningful
At EMBL-EBI you can apply your talent and passion to accelerate science and tackle some of humankind’s greatest challenges. EMBL-EBI, part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, is a worldwide leader in the storage, analysis and dissemination of large biological datasets. We provide the global research community with access to publicly available databases and tools which are crucial for the advancement of healthcare, food security, and biodiversity.

Join a culture of innovation
We are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus, alongside other prominent research and biotech organisations, and surrounded by beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. This is a highly collaborative and inclusive community where our employees enjoy a relaxed atmosphere. We are committed to ensuring our employees feel valued, supported and empowered to reach their professional potential. 

Enjoy lots of benefits:

  • Financial incentives: Monthly family, child and non-resident allowances, annual salary review, pension scheme, death benefit, long-term care, accident-at-work and unemployment insurances
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Private medical insurance for you and your immediate family (including all prescriptions and generous dental & optical cover)
  • Generous time off: 30 days annual leave per year, in addition to eight bank holidays
  • Relocation package including installation grant (if required)
  • Campus life: Free shuttle bus to and from work, on-site library, subsidised on-site gym and cafeteria, casual dress code, extensive sports and social club activities (on campus and remotely)
  • Family benefits: On-site nursery, 10 days of child sick leave, generous parental leave, holiday clubs on campus and monthly family and child allowances
  • Benefits for non-UK residents: Visa exemption, education grant for private schooling, financial support to travel back to your home country every second year and a monthly non-resident allowance.

For more details please see our employee benefits page.

What else you need to know

  • Contract duration: This position is limited to the project duration specified above of approximately 2 years and 8 months (depending on start-date).
  • International applicants: We recruit internationally and successful candidates are offered visa exemptions. Read more on our page for international applicants
  • Diversity and inclusion: At EMBL-EBI, we strongly believe that inclusive and diverse teams benefit from higher levels of innovation and creative thought. We encourage applications from women, LGBTQ+ and individuals from all nationalities. 
  • EMBL is a signatory of DORA. Find out how we implement best practices in research assessment in our recruitment processes here.
  • Job location: This role is based in Hinxton, near Cambridge, UK. You will be required to relocate if you are based overseas and you will receive a generous relocation package to support you.
  • How to apply: To apply please submit a cover letter and a CV through our online system. We aim to provide a response within two weeks after the closing date.

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