University of Exeter
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Full Time
Closes: 17 December 2023
Applications have closed
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Computational Biologist)

This new full-time post is available immediately until 31st April 2027 on a fixed-term basis.

The post

The Faculty wishes to recruit a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to lead a programme of computational modelling and ‘omics analysis of the regulatory network dynamics of mammalian pluripotency. This Medical Research Council and European Research Council funded post in the group of Professor Austin Smith is available immediately. The role holder will develop a programme of computational research and supporting bioinformatics analyses to delineate developmental trajectories, uncover gene regulatory networks dynamics, and delineate cell fate transition paths.

You will work primarily with single cell NGS data from stem cell self-renewal, differentiation and perturbation studies, from natural embryos, and from embryoid models. Studies will include comparative analyses between human, non-human primates and other mammals, using stem cells and embryos. You will create and implement algorithms, analysis methods, visualisation tools and machine learning approaches to interrogate multimodal ‘omics datasets. You will create mathematical and/or computational models of the pluripotency gene regulatory network and of cell fate transitions that will iteratively inform experimental analyses.

You will have scope to develop your own research and to supervise project students. You will also collaborate with wet lab researchers in the group and will have the opportunity to perform your own laboratory experiments if appropriate.

Prior knowledge in stem cell or developmental biology is not essential, but experience in working closely with experimental researchers is necessary.

About you

The successful applicant will be able to develop research objectives, projects and proposals; identify sources of research funding and contribute to the process of securing funds, and make presentations at conferences and other events.

Applicants will possess a relevant PhD or equivalent qualification/experience in mathematical, computational, or systems biology, or in bioinformatics. The successful applicant will be a nationally recognised authority and possess sufficient specialist knowledge in the discipline to develop research programmes and methodologies. The successful applicant will also be able to work collaboratively, supervise the work of others and act as team leader as required. Applicants will have research expertise in high-throughput data analysis with competence in a UNIX/Linux environment and programming/scripting language. You will have a good understanding of statistics. You will have experience in next generation sequencing pipelines, including transcriptomics, chromatin accessibility and single cell analyses. You should have a general understanding of molecular cell biology and be able to work in productive partnerships with experimental researchers. Specific knowledge of stem cell or developmental biology is not required, but you will be familiar with biological data and be motivated to analyse and model biological processes.

Please ensure you read the Job Description and Person Specification for full details of this role.

What we can offer you

  • Freedom (and the support) to pursue your intellectual interests and to work creatively across disciplines to produce internationally exciting research;
  • Support teams that understand the University wide research and teaching goals and partner with our academics accordingly;
  • An Innovation, Impact and Business directorate that works closely with our academics providing specialist support for external engagement and development;
  • Our Exeter Academic initiative supporting high performing academics to achieve their potential and develop their career;
  • A multitude of staff benefits including sector leading benefits around maternity, adoption and shared parental leave (up to 26 weeks full pay), Paternity leave (up to 6 weeks full pay), and a new Fertility Treatment Policy;
  • A beautiful campus set in the heart of stunning Devon.

The University of Exeter

We are a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities and in the top 200 universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024 and QS World University Ranking 2024).  We combine world-class teaching with world-class research, achieving a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework Award 2023, underpinned by Gold ratings for Student Experience and Student Outcomes.

Our world-leading research impact has grown more than any other Russell Group university in recent years, and we are home to some of the world’s most influential researchers, seeking to answer some of the most fundamental issues facing humankind today.  More than 99% of our research is of international quality and 47% is world-leading (2021 Research Excellence Framework).

We encourage proactive engagement with industry, business and community partners to enhance the impact of research and education and improve the employability of our students. Read about our world leading research – Green Futures and how we are transforming education for a changing world. We are located in a beautiful part of the country and Exeter (a fast growing tech hub) is one of only a few UK cities to have been designated as a UNESCO Creative City

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commitment

We are committed to ensuring reasonable adjustments are available for interviews and workplaces.

Whilst all applicants will be judged on merit alone, we particularly welcome applications from groups currently underrepresented within our working community.

With over 30,000 students and 7,000 staff from 150 different countries we offer a diverse and engaging environment where our diversity is celebrated and valued as a major strength. We are committed to creating an inclusive culture where all members of our community are supported to thrive; where diverse voices are heard through our engagement with evidence-based charter frameworks for gender (Athena SWAN and Project Juno for Physics), race equality (Race Equality Charter Mark), LGBTQ+ inclusion (Stonewall Diversity Champion) and as a Disability Confident employer.

Further information

For further information please contact Professor Austin Smith, e-mail