Post Doctoral Research Associate

London (Greater) (GB)
£38,304 - £40,414 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
18 Nov 2021
End of advertisement period
05 Jan 2022
Job Type
Research Related
Contract Type
Fixed Term

Job description


We are seeking an enthusiastic postgraduate with a PhD in statistical genetics, or a related analytical and computational field, to work in genetic studies of psychiatric disorders. In this exciting role, you will work with the international Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC ; ) across three disorders (major depressive disorder (MDD), eating disorders and anxiety) to identify the genetic underpinnings of these mental health disorders. Funded by the NIH to continue a decade of highly successful  PGC research, you will work with Cathryn Lewis, Gerome Breen and Thalia Eley in the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre, and their research groups.  


We strive 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.  Our research groups are predominantly from white backgrounds, and we particularly welcome applications from individuals of any other race or ethnicity background (E.g. Black, Asian, Latinx).


The succesful applicant will analyse genetic and clinical datasets shared with the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and external datasets, such as UK Biobank. You will have the opportunity to collaborate closely with other statistical genetics analysts in the SGDP Centre, and internationally through the PGC.  You will be responsible for specific projects within the MDD, Eating disorders and Anxiety PGC working groups performing genome-wide association study (GWAS) analysis and applying post-GWAS methods.  Specific projects include polygenic score studies, identifying genetic predictors for treatment response, integrating environmental risk factors, dissecting genetic heterogeneity, amd analysing dimensional measures of anxiety. These studies will provide the next generation of psychiatric genomics studies to uncover the genetic contribution to disorder risk and treatment response. 

You will report to Professor Cathryn Lewis, working closely with other SGDP academics (Thalia Eley, Gerome Breen) and researchers within our teams to perform this research. The SGDP Centre is highly supportive of career development for postdoctoral researchers: you will have the opportunity to develop independence and support to apply for fellowship funding.  Experience with analysis of genetic studies is required, with high level statistical and computational skills.  Previous experience of psychiatric traits is not necessary.


This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 3 years 

This is a full-time post, but applications for a part-time role are welcomed


Key responsibilities

Key responsibilities  

•        Conduct genetic and genomic analysis of mental health data in MDD, eating disorders and anxiety in PGC and local studies  

•        Engage in data management and data preparation to support other PGC analysts  

•        Lead analyses and write scientific publications arising from the research, serving as first author  

•        Work collaboratively with team members at the SGDP Centre and in the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium  

•        Contribute to supervision of MSc and PhD students 

•        Present results of analyses to team members, to the PGC, and at scientific conferences  

•        Undertake reproducible analysis in an open science framework, developing analysis pipelines and using github repositories.  


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  

  1. PhD in statistical/psychiatric/behavioural genetics or allied academic area with strong analysis component
  2. Excellent R programming and linux/unix skills with use of github
  3. Experience in analysis of genetic data and genome-wide association studies
  4. Previous analysis of large genetic and clinical data sets  
  5. Excellent attention to detail (e.g. in data management and reporting results)  
  6. Strong interpersonal and written communication skills, with ability to discuss research findings and methods to audiences of different backgrounds 
  7. Experience of writing and publishing papers reporting genetic analyses of mental health or other complex traits
  8. Previous involvement in collaborative team science


Desirable criteria

1.      Active interest in supporting a diverse research environment  

2.      Commitment to open science through reproducible analysis pipelines and github repository.  

3.      Previous experience of mental health research 


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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