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Head of Facility – National Facility for Data Handling and Analysis

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APPLICATION CLOSING DATE: September 1st, 2023.

Human Technopole (HT) is a new interdisciplinary life science research institute, created and supported by the Italian government, with the aim of developing innovative strategies to improve human health. HT has the mission of conducting cutting-edge research but also to translate innovation into methods and tools available to the entire National scientific community. To this end, HT is opening National Facilities that will provide state-of-the-art research infrastructure for Structural Biology, Light Imaging, Genomics, Genome Engineering, and Data Handling and Analysis.

Overview – National Facility for Data Handling and Analysis

The National Facility (NF) for Data Handling and Analysis will analyse the data generated by the other National Facilities by using state-of-the-art computational methods for bioinformatics and image processing.

Specifically, this National Facility will be responsible for primary bioinformatic processing of data generated by the other National Facilities at HT using state-of-the-art computational workflows. In this context, the NF will be responsible for the installation, maintenance and upgrade of relevant computational modules and pipelines. The NF staff will therefore include individuals with diverse expertise, who will be responsible for implementing the latest methodologies for analysis of imaging and omics data.

The National Facility for Data Handling and Analysis includes three infrastructural units: (i) the Omics Analysis Unit, (ii) the Image Analysis Unit and (iii) the Technology Development DevOps and Web Development Unit. The NF Head will have direct oversight of all activities of the Omics Data Analysis unit as well as supervise the Image Analysis Unit and the Technology Development DevOps and Web Development Unit, whose primary responsibility will be to ensure that the analysis and data infrastructure developed within the National Facility are widely applicable, reproducible, and openly available to the scientific community.

The role of Head of Facility

Human Technopole is looking for an experienced and highly motivated Head of the National Facility for Data Handling and Analysis to set up and lead this national infrastructure. The Head of Facility will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Facility’s operations as a central resource, including the coordination of state-of-the-art bioinformatics and image analysis infrastructure, the coordination of training activities, the identification of the needs for technology development and provisions, the management of budgets and personnel, and the strategic coordination with the Facility Steering Committee as well as with other HT central departments / areas, while interacting directly with Facility users and providing cutting-edge data analysis expertise to internal and external researchers. The Head of Facility will play a key role in growing the Facility’s capabilities and resources while ensuring provision of state-of-the-art analyses, innovation, and technology development, as well as making analyses open, efficient, and reproducible. The role will also be responsible for regular reporting to HT governance and external evaluations.

Key tasks and responsibilities

The Head of the National Facility for Data Handling and Analysis will be responsible for:

  • Coordination and oversight of the state-of-the-art bioinformatics analysis infrastructure, including:
    • Development of analysis pipelines to process samples for multi-omics profiling, including whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing, transcriptome sequencing, and other assays available from HT’s National Facility for Genomics;
    • Setup and maintenance of single-cell analysis pipelines, depending on the available technologies provided by the National Facility for Genomics;
    • Development of reproducible pipelines based, e.g., on Nextflow and Docker.
  • Data analysis and data sharing, including:
    • Analysis of data from patient samples and model systems and provision of results and QC to the relevant users;
    • Supporting data sharing and reproducibility of bioinformatics analyses;
    • Ensure that data management and data sharing plans are GDPR compliant.
  • Effective management of the National Facility, including:
    • Leading a team of technical posts within the National Facility with different computational expertise;
    • Defining the recruiting needs for the Facility;
    • Training and mentoring of staff;
    • Defining priorities and resource planning for the Facility; and
    • Coordination and collaboration with other National Facilities, Research Centres, and other HT departments / areas, such as the ICT & Digitisation Area and Data Centre Facility.
  • Coordinating the National Facility’s Image Analysis and Technology Development DevOps and Web Development infrastructural unit in coordination with the relevant managers by:
    • Coordinating joint activities and joint reporting;
    • Coordinating the synergistic use of the available computational infrastructure and resources.
  • Performing integrative activities, such as:
    • Direct interaction with Facility users to facilitate user access, to elaborate experimental protocols and project plans, to provide technical assistance during the project and feedback after delivery of results;
    • Liaising with the HT Scientific Training team to develop training programs aimed at the users of the National Facility;
    • Management of required scientific computing infrastructure (in collaboration with HT’s ICT and Digitisation area and Data Centre Facility);
    • Developing links with other national and international scientific computing Facilities;
    • Closely following technological developments that could benefit the National Facility;
    • Overseeing the preparation of reviews and/ or audits by external experts.
  • Effectively working with the Steering Committee of the National Facility for Data Handling and Analysis to ensure the strategic goals of the Facility will be met in the short and long term.
  • Contributing to the development of the Facility Access Management Plan, together with the Standing Independent Evaluation Committee;

Job requirements

Mandatory requirements:

  • PhD or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject, e.g., computational biology, computer science, physics, or a related field of science;
  • Extensive hands-on experience in bioinformatics applied to next-generation sequencing data;
  • Experience in a lead/managerial role in a team or Facility;
  • Documented experience with setting up bioinformatics pipelines and robust standard operating procedures for quality assurance;
  • Fluency in English – HT is an international research institute.

Preferential requirements:

  • Experience with single-cell sequencing and/or long-read technologies;
  • Experience in the analysis of human samples;
  • Excellent computational, programming, and trouble-shooting skills;
  • Familiarity with containerization systems (e.g., Docker) and workflow systems (e.g., NextFlow or SnakeMake);
  • In-depth familiarity with Unix and HPC systems;
  • Experience in supervising a team of research software engineers;
  • Experience in working with or alongside image analysis experts;
  • Good publishing track record proving the effective support to research projects;
  • Proven ability to obtain and manage external funding;
  • Outstanding track record of supporting the development of trainees.
  • Knowledge of Italian language or willingness to learn (Italian language classes will be provided for non-speakers)

Organizational and social skills:

  • Strong interpersonal skills demonstrated by the ability to lead and gain the assistance and cooperation of others in a team endeavour;
  • Proven leadership, communication, team building and problem-solving skills;
  • Ability to interact effectively with other teams and work synergistically to effectively drive projects;
  • Highly organised and meticulous work attitude;
  • Attitude towards service;
  • Ability to build trust through operating with transparency and creating an open and positive environment;
  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.

Application Instructions:

Please apply by sending:

  • a CV;
  • a motivation letter in English, specifying where the candidate’s skills meet the requirements listed above;
  • names and contacts of at least 2 referees.

Any questions concerning the role and/or queries regarding the relevant terms and conditions should be addressed to [email protected] (this email address should not be used to send applications).

Additional Information:

HT offers a highly collaborative, international, and diverse work environment. The working language is English. HT will foster top quality, interdisciplinary research by promoting a vibrant environment consisting of independent research groups that attracts outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. HT scientists have full access to cutting-edge Core Facilities.

HT is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer that seeks to promote a collegial and family- friendly atmosphere and offers attractive conditions and benefits. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme, medical and other social benefits, as well as financial support for relocation if eligible. Researchers coming to Italy for the first time, or returning after residing abroad, may benefit from income tax benefits if eligible.

Number of positions offered1

Contract offered: Fixed-term (5 years) with possibility of renewal – Executive level The position is based in Milan.

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