Research Associate, Department of Nutritional Sciences

London (Central), London (Greater) (GB)
£38,304 - £45,026 per annum
17 Dec 2020
End of advertisement period
19 Jan 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

We are seeking a highly motivated and skilled Post-doc to work on two exciting nutrition projects; the PREDICT programme of research and the Covid Symptom Study Diet and Lifestyle Questionnaire (CSS-DLQ) within two of the top Research Departments in the country. The PREDICT programme is the world's largest personalised nutrition study including up to 2000 twins from TwinsUK cohort. The Post-doc will work with a multidisciplinary team to predict food and health responses for individual personalised health, using multi-omic, multi-phenotypic data. The CSS-DLQ is the world largest longitudinal assessment of diet and lifestyle (>1 million respondents) undertaken pre and during the Covid-19 pandemic, to explore changes in diet and lifestyle during the pandemic and their impact on the chances of getting Covid-19 and its symptoms. The successful candidate should have a solid background in nutrition and have acquired skills in statistics, computing and epidemiology allowing them to interpret large data sets. In addition they should already have an excellent track record in writing, analysing and publishing research articles, as well as experience in interpreting dietary assessment, microbiome and metabolomics data. They should be hard working, flexible and able to work in a multi-disciplinary team.

This is a full-time post, a fixed-term contract for 15 months.

Key responsibilities

  • To undertake analysis and publication of a large nutritional programme of work (The PREDICT Programme) including the relationship between diet, genetics, microbiome, metabolism, lipids, lifestyle factors, ageing and cardio-metabolic health.
  • To perform and assist with statistical analysis of other related dietary, human microbiome and multi-omics data within the nutrition and twins groups.
  • To undertake analysis and publication of the Covid Symptom Study (CSS) Diet and Lifestyle Survey
  • To help develop and apply computational and bioinformatics tools to process large data sets of
    multi-omic human and dietary assessment data from the PREDICT and CSS-DLQ.
  • To analyse data from the PREDICT studies and the CSS-DLQ and write abstracts and papers related to the project, including human microbiome, metabolomics and genomic data.
  • To write up publications on the PREDICT study and the CSS-DLQ for appropriate scientific journals and to present research findings at scientific meetings.
  • To participate in project meetings, including symposia and consortium meetings.
  • To participate in and contribute to the development and implementation of research programmes relevant to the work undertaken within the department.
  • To contribute to the integration and collaboration of this research project with other branches of the department (Department of Nutritional Sciences and Department of Twins Research and Genetic Epidemiology) and with members of the Zoe global Ltd team.
  • To collaborate with other specialised centres of excellence to achieve the highest standard of research and publications.
  • To assist with teaching of staff and students.
  • To prepare papers as well as manuscripts, abstracts and grant applications.
  • To write up results of your own research.
  • To liaise with internal and external research colleagues and support staff on research matters.
  • To make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding and form relationships for future collaboration.
  • To communicate material of a specialist or highly technical nature.
  • To plan own day to day activity within the framework of the project and co-ordinate own work with that of others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort.
  • To make use of standard research techniques and methods.
  • To deal with problems which may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines.
  • To contribute to collaborative decisions making affecting the work of the team.
  • To identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To analyse data and write papers for the PREDICT studies and CSS-DLQ and related papers.
  • To deal with internal and external collaborators.
  • To respond to requests for information in accordance with departmental and College policies.
  • To keep up to date with recent relevant literature in the areas of human nutritional research, epidemiology and computational biology.
  • To identify areas where further research may be needed.
  • To analyse and interpret the results of research undertaken and draw conclusions on the outcome.
  • To write manuscripts for publication.
  • To assist in the writing of grant applications for future research undertaken within the department.
  • To actively participate as a member of the analytical team.
  • To collaborate with academic colleagues on areas of shared research interest.
  • To attend and contribute to relevant meetings.
  • To be involved in the assessment of student knowledge and supervision of projects.
  • To assist in the development of student research skills.
  • To demonstrate a willingness to develop personal objectives via regular appraisals with the supervisor.
  • Carry out tasks that require the learning of certain skills.
  • Required to be aware of the risks in the work environment.
  • Show consideration to others at all times.

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder 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 awarded in nutrition, epidemiology, or other related quantitative discipline
  • Excellent programming skills that include knowledge of R, other programming languages (python/perl/C), and use of statistical packages
  • Excellent computational skills and experience with high performance computing cluster
  • Ability to communicate effectively at all levels in a complex multi-disciplinary environment with the ability to produce concise verbal and written reports
  • Knowledge and aspiration to learn about personalised nutrition, nutritional epidemiology and dietary assessment
  • Good working knowledge of human nutrition, epidemiology and dietary assessment
  • Experience with the analysis of big data sets
  • Experience with the analysis of metabolomics or nutritional data
  • Ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team
  • Ability to work on own initiative and meet competing and demanding deadlines
  • Highly self-motivated and hard working

Desirable criteria

  • MSc or equivalent in nutrition

  • Experience with the implementation of software for computationally intensive analyses

  • Contact with the local bioinformatics and statistical community

Further information

This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.

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.

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