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Postdoctoral Researcher in Genomics: Genetics Links to Anxiety and Depression Study

Employer
KINGS COLLEGE LONDON
Location
London (Greater)
Salary
£38,826 to £55,299 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance (Grade 6 or Grade 7 starting, dep
Closing date
16 Mar 2023

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Academic Discipline
Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health, Life sciences
Job Type
Research Related
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Hours
Full Time

Job Details

Job description

This is an exciting position that will play a vital role in supporting research and will be supported to lead research in the world’s largest genetic study of depression and anxiety - the Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (  GLAD) study.   

 

The Study: 

GLAD is the world’s largest study of major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders, with >32k recontactable volunteers with a history of depression and/or anxiety who have completed online mental health and treatment response assessments, based on an extended version of UK Biobank’s Mental Health Questionnaire. They have provided DNA for GWAS and genome sequencing, and have consented to health record linkage that is in progress via the UK Longitudinal Linkage Collaboration CC   https://ukllc.ac.uk/

 

GLAD is projected to reach 40,000 cases by 2023 and is part of the re-contactable UK NIHR BioResource (biobank), and we conducted very similar assessments of >14K healthy volunteers in the NIHR BioResource, who provide a control group. In addition, a large amount of longitudinal follow up questionnaires on 32,000 (19,000 cases and 13,000 control participants) were collected during the pandemic. For analyses, GLAD will also, with permission, be merged with UK Biobank to provide an unique data set from the UK population with over 70,000 cases of MDD and anxiety, all on the same genotyping array and with very similar mental health questionnaire information. 

 

The Opportunity 

This is a 3 year postdoctoral position that will lead statistical genetics analyses aiming to generate new hypotheses of psychiatric disorder aetiology and treatment. You will have the opportunity to grow in the position and lead your research also. The postholder will also work with collaborators and with consortia in which we are members, in particular from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium MDD and anxiety disorders groups. The postholder ideally will already have experience in psychiatric or behavioural genetics or have a keen interest in mental health or behaviour. 

You will hold a relevant PhD in statistical genetics or bioinformatics, and experience in the generation or analysis of high-throughput genetic and genomic data and bioinformatics. Optimally, this will include genome wide association studies, and/or exome or whole genome sequencing analyses. Alternatively, you will have experience in large scale chemoinformatics or biomarker informatics. You will have good skills in statistical analysis, preferably in R and/or python, and LINUX/bash. You will have experience in, or a keen interest in, mental health. You will be able to work independently, to maintain excellent relationships with our collaborators. High quality written communication and presentation skills are essential. 

 

Our Environment and Group.

The GLAD study team strives to be a diverse research environment that is open, welcoming and supportive to all. The faculty-wide initiatives are supported by an active Diversity & Inclusion Team. To help us achieve our goals, we particularly welcome applications from people from backgrounds who are currently under-represented in Higher Education (E.g. Black, Asian, Latinx and other white ethnic minorities).

 

The post will be based in the Biomedical Research Centre’s (BRC) BioResource for Mental Health Theme and the Translational Genetics Group (lead Professor Gerome Breen). We collaborate closely with the Emotions Development Interventions and Treatment Lab (lead Professor Thalia Eley) and are all based at the Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at KCL. The successful post-holder will have the opportunity to work alongside world leading academic researchers to support the development of new treatments and diagnostics for mental illnesses.  

 

The successful candidate will be a member of a team that includes wet lab postdocs, a genomics core with Illumina and Nanopore sequencing facilities, database developers, systems administrators, and postdoctoral bioinformatics researchers, PhD students, and a specialised team for the collection of participant data. The candidate will have the opportunity to supervise or co-supervise PhD and MSc students. The candidate will be involved in the whole research process from the beginning, including planning, decision making, data collection, data cleaning, analysis, until the end resulting in distribution of results in written form as well as oral presentations. In our team, we value the open science approach by pre-registering our projects on the   Open Science Framework and documenting our research process transparently using   GitHub.   

 

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

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

 

Key responsibilities

  • Acting as lead analyst on specific research projects, the post holder will provide statistical data analysis which includes appropriate summary analysis, linear modelling, genetic association analysis, and whole genome or exome sequence data analysis, using R or other statistical programs as appropriate.
  • Provide statistical and bioinformatics support and guidance to members of the investigators undertaking research associated with GLAD.
  • Assist in the planning of current and future research programmes
  • Participate in research group meetings, present, and discuss data analyses and scientific papers.
  • Write up planned or actual analyses and power calculations to form part of grant applications and scientific papers.
  • Write and contribute to articles for publication in high quality peer reviewed journals.
  • The post holder will communicate with the multidisciplinary team regarding genetic tests and analysis of results, noting that the multidisciplinary team includes an audience with limited genetic and statistical knowledge.
  • Ensure compliance with good working practices and adhere to local and national health and safety policies.
  • Keep accurate written and/or electronic records of statistical work and service operations, ensuring workload values and data is entered and stored appropriately.
  • Meet regularly with the Project Leads to discuss progress and prioritise workload
  • Deputise for Senior staff as appropriate when requested by the Project Leads

 

Skills, knowledge, and experience

  • Good all-round IT and database skills and familiarity with LINUX/UNIX environments. Some formal programming experience or training would be a plus.
  • Ability to take initiative and generate results
  • Work together with a multidisciplinary team
  • Work closely together with collaborating research teams
  • The ability to maintain a customer facing profile in dealings with other projects and investigators and responding to email and requests in a professional and courteous manner. Demonstrate excellent communication skills via email, phone and in person.
  • Ensure that group leads are kept appraised of communications and issues, primarily via email but also via meetings.

 

Essential  

 

1.       A relevant degree or equivalent qualification (e.g. genetics, mathematics, statistics or bioinformatics) 

2.       Excellent organisational, communication, interpersonal and administrative skills 

3.       Excellent time-management skills with ability to work to deadlines 

4.       Fluent in written and spoken English 

5.       Ability to follow research guidelines and protocol 

6.       Good all-round informatics skills in LINUX/UNIX and R. 

 

Desirable 

 

1.       Experience writing papers on complex mental health problems such as anxiety/depression.

Company

King's College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world and among the oldest in England. King's has more than 27,600 students (of whom nearly 10,500 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and some 6,800 staff.

King's has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) King’s was ranked 6th nationally in the ‘power’ ranking, which takes into account both the quality and quantity of research activity, and 7th for quality according to Times Higher Education rankings. Eighty-four per cent of research at King’s was deemed ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (3* and 4*). The university is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of more than £684 million.

King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar.

King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.

King’s £600 million campaign, World questions|KING’s answers, has delivered huge global impact in areas where King’s has particular expertise. Philanthropic support has funded new research to save young lives at Evelina London Children’s Hospital; established the King’s Dickson Poon School of Law as a worldwide leader in transnational law; built a new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital; allowed unique collaboration between leading neuroscientists to fast-track new treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, depression and schizophrenia at the new Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute; created the Cicely Saunders Institute: the first academic institution in the world dedicated to palliative care, and supported the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership in the Ebola crisis. Donations provide over 300 of the most promising students with scholarships and bursaries each year. More information about the campaign is available at www.kcl.ac.uk/kingsanswers.

Company info
Mini-site
KINGS COLLEGE LONDON
Telephone
+(44)02078365454
Location
STRAND
LONDON
WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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