Post-doctoral Research Associate

London (Greater) (GB)
£38,304 - £40,414, including London Weighting Allowance
May 07, 2021
End of advertisement period
Jul 25, 2021
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Psychology
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

We are looking for an enthusiastic postgraduate with a PhD in psychology, neuroscience, life sciences, genetics, epidemiology or a related subject.

The sucessful applicant will work as a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Prof Thalia Eley in the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre and will be a member of her Emotional Development, Intervention and Treatment (EDIT) Lab. The post is part of a 5-year MRC-funded project led by Prof Eley, focussed on understanding genetic and environmental influences on the development and intergenerational transmission of anxiety and depression.

The EDIT Lab strives to be a diverse research environment that is open, welcoming and supportive to all. Faculty-wide initiatives are supported by an active Diversity & Inclusion Team.  The EDIT Lab is currently predominately women from white backgrounds. To ensure that we are the diverse team we strive to be, we particularly welcome applications from men and individuals from all any other race or ethnicity background (E.g. Black, Asian, Latinx). Please see the Group Culture tab for more information on this.

If successful, you will work with data from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS). The TEDS team have followed thousands of twin pairs since birth, tracking their emotional, cognitive and behavioural development. This summer we are launching a major mental health assessment  as the twins reach their late twenties. We are also engaged in a challenging new effort linking the twins’ medical records to the information we already hold on them. You will lead analyses of the data resulting from these activities.

If successful, you will actively develop hypotheses, conduct genetic and genomic analyses and write up findings for publication. You will have the opportunty to attend relevant international meetings such as the Behavior Genetics Association and World Congress in Psychiatric Genetics. You will report to Prof Eley, but will also work with other team members including the database manager, research assistants, PhD students, postdocs and other investigators including Prof Robert Plomin.

You will also oversee the curation of the genomic data held on the TEDS twins (e.g. creation of updated genome-wide polygenic scores), and enable the use of these data beyond the core team. You will have the opportunity to get involved in other projects beside TEDS and participate in faculty-wide initiatives such as our annual Research Festival and Postdoc Network.

The EDIT Lab members believe in Open and Reproducible Science. All papers are pre-registered on the Open Science Framework.


This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for 4 years/48 months (ending no later than 31/12/2025.

This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent

Key responsibilities

  • Conduct genetic and genomic analysis of mental health data to test hypotheses set by the grant.
  • Develop and test their own hypotheses as well as those laid out in the grant.
  • Engage in data management and data preparation, especially regarding curating the genomic data.
  • Serve as first author on scientific publications arising from the project, under supervision of the Professor Thalia Eley and other collaborators.
  • Work collaboratively on analyses of TEDS data with other members of the EDIT lab and TEDS team (e.g. MSc, PhD students).
  • Prepare talks on analyses of TEDS data for presentation to the group, department and more widely.
  • Engage in public understanding of science, for example by writing blogs about their papers and/or being interviewed for a vlog to go on the TEDS website.
  • Liaise with colleagues at TwinsUK and ALSPAC regarding use of medical record linkage variables.


The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and if successful you will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.


Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria 

  • PhD, preferably in Behavioural/Psychiatric/Statistical Genetics
  • Active interest in supporting a diverse research environment
  • Experience analysing twin/family/pedigree data, genomic data, or both
  • Experience writing and publishing papers reporting genetic analyses of mental health or other complex traits
  • Excellent attention to detail (e.g. in data management)
  • Interest in mental health, especially depression and anxiety
  • Excellent time management and ability to see projects through to the end
  • Interest in collaborative working, and experience of working well within a team
  • Willing to take on a challenge
  • Awareness of and interest in Open Science practices


Desirable criteria 

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Interest in enabling others, especially with analyses
  • Strong interest in public understanding of science

*Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.

Further information 

Interviews will be held in early September.  

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