Research Associate in Epigenetics and Social Science

Bristol , City of Bristol (GB)
£32,548 - £36,613 per annum
07 Apr 2018
End of advertisement period
06 May 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

This post offers an excellent opportunity for a talented epigenetic epidemiologist to join the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit as a Research Associate in Epigenetics and Social Science. Based within the Department of Population Health Sciences in the Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, one of the leading centres for Epidemiology in the UK.

It is widely accepted that early life influences shape our development and health and behavioural outcomes across the lifecourse. Epigenetic mechanisms are increasingly implicated in these complex interactions and provide a key to understanding (i) what aspects of our environment impact upon gene regulation, (ii) how our environment and way of living become embodied in human biology, over what timeframe and with what degree of persistence and (iii) how social and biological inequality may influence development and health.

The post holder will be part of a project called ‘Epigenetics: Environment, Embodiment and Equality (E4)’, which is bringing together eight richly-phenotyped longitudinal cohort studies with extensive epigenetic to extend methodologies and develop tools for analysis and interpretation of lifecourse data on the complex, bidirectional relationship between epigenetic, phenotypic and sociocultural domains. We are building upon existing expertise to address fundamental and as yet unanswered questions. The scientific objectives of the project are to understand:

  1. the influence of complex exposures on the epigenome;
  2. the persistence of epigenetic differences across the lifecourse and their bidirectional causal relationship with health and behaviours;
  3. the role of epigenetic variation in health inequality; and
  4. the interrelation of biological and social constructs in objectives 1-3. 

The post holder will specifically investigate the interrelation of differences between the sexes as well as gender variance within the sexes. The E4 project will also include a further six longitudinal cohort studies that possess genome-wide genetic data (approx. 550,000 individuals) and can therefore facilitate causal analysis approaches that utilise genetic variants as causal anchors to aid our understanding of the associations observed between a range of exposures, epigenetic variation and subsequent health and behaviour outcomes.

E4 is co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

The successful applicant will have a PhD (or equivalent research experience) in Epigenetic Epidemiology, Statistical Genetics or a related quantitative discipline and a track record of research, including the analysis of high-dimensional data, published in high impact journals. They will ideally also have some familiarity with the sex differences and sex hormone epidemiology literature.

The University is committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities. 

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