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Safety Data Scientist and Informatician

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About the team/job

This position provides a real opportunity to make a significant impact on a critical problem in drug discovery for the many users of the Open Targets informatics platform.

Open Targets (OT) is a unique public-private partnership working to deliver experimental data and informatics platforms that enable researchers to make more informed decisions about target selection for drug discovery. OT is a shared initiative between the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), a global leader in the management, integration and analysis of public domain life science data; world-leading pharmaceutical companies GSK, Sanofi, Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer; and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

The Open Targets informatics platform ( integrates data from numerous sources to achieve this goal. One important piece of information that may be very useful in making target selection decisions concerns the potential safety liabilities associated with a target. This may be applicable both for the therapeutic target itself as well as potential “off-target” interactions. Various data and information sources may be relevant when addressing these questions. The overall aim of this project is to assess, explore, validate and make available information on target safety to the Open Targets team and thus to its users. 

Your role

We are looking for an enthusiastic and talented data scientist and informatician to join the target safety project. We are exploring multiple approaches to understanding target safety using public data sources, including chemical, biological, genetic and clinical data. We are also interested in applications of machine learning to understand and predict potential safety concerns. 

Key responsibilities include:

  • To develop and validate pipelines for identifying and quantifying the potential safety liabilities of targets by utilising a variety of resources such as ChEMBL, clinical trials data, the scientific literature, adverse event reports and genetics studies;
  • Curate relevant data relating to target safety liabilities from a variety of sources such as the scientific literature, prescribing information, validated web resources;
  • Develop statistically robust analysis methods;
  • Use a variety of bioinformatics methods to process data from relevant sources in order to identify novel target safety associations; 
  • Collaborate with the Open Targets partners to assess, prioritise, validate and refine the resulting methods;
  • Work with the Open Targets platform and genetics core team to integrate the data and workflows into the Open Targets Platform.

The project team includes scientists from all Open Targets partners and includes safety experts from the Pharma companies. You will need to be able to demonstrate the ability to work well with colleagues and to collaborate with external partners. You must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and enjoy working in a stimulating, international environment.  

You have

  • A PhD (or equivalent) in a biological, chemical biology or biomedical science.
  • Proficiency in at least one programming/scripting language (e.g. Python).
  • Experience in data handling, manipulating file formats and working with ontologies
  • Knowledge of drug and molecular structures
  • Good understanding of statistical methods and their application to data analysis  
  • Sound knowledge of disease biology, the mechanisms of drug action and the mechanisms underlying drug and target safety.
  • Experience of biological data curation and knowledge of bioinformatics databases
  • Experience working with safety-related data sources such as FAERS, AOPwiki 
  • Knowledge of version control systems (e.g., GitHub)
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Strong communication skills, both presentations and verbal
  • Experience working in a team-oriented environment
  • Able to work independently, to manage your time and work to deadlines 

You might also have

  • Experience working in a drug discovery and development environment.
  • Knowledge and practical experience with bioinformatics methods including systems biology and genetics analysis
  • Knowledge and practical experience with machine learning methods 

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 a 3 year fixed-term contract to work on the Open Targets project/grant. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.

Click Here to Apply For The Job



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