1. Job Details
Job title: Statistical geneticist
Deanery/Support Dept: Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences / Usher Institute
Unit: Centre for Global Health Research
Line manager: Prof Evropi Theodoratou
2. Job Purpose
The post holder will support the work of Prof Evropi Theodoratou’s group in cancer, genetic and molecular epidemiology. Cancer of the large bowel (or colorectal cancer - CRC) is one of the commonest causes of cancer death in the UK, but is potentially preventable by understanding the genetic basis of the disease.
The group has amassed very large genotype, phenotype and clinical datasets. The overall aims of the CRUK funded programme of work are: to construct and validate risk prediction models for CRC for clinical and/or public health benefit; to conduct gene-environment and gene-gene interaction studies; to perform Genome Wide Assiociation Studies (GWAS) and Phenome Wide Association Studies; and to apply Mendelian Randomisation and Instrumental Variable methods.
The post holder will develop new research ideas and will contribute to scientific direction and replication studies. Duties will also include application of innovative computational approaches and working alongside other Unit scientists to analyse large datasets.
3. Main Responsibilities
Conduct and facilitate a programme of individual research in cancer, genetic and molecular epidemiology and be responsible for delivering core elements of the research programme. This includes: (i) management and curation of existing and new datasets to enable data analysis; (ii) statistical analyses on datasets of genetic and phenotypic data using established and novel methods in risk prediction, GWAS, PheWAS and Mendelian Randomisation; (iii) gene-gene and gene-environment interaction analyses; and (iv) survival analyses to identify genetic and phenotypic data affecting cancer outcome. Analyses need to be performed to a high standard acceptable for publication in scientific journals. (Approx 50% of time)
Maintain accurate and up-to-date records of data analysis and data files to an acceptable and agreed standard in order to document the research progress. Take a lead role in writing up data for publication (including as first author). Present data at group meetings, section meetings, and conferences to make data available for other scientists (at national and international levels). Regular reporting of progress to the PI/other members of the research team is expected. (Approx 20% of time)
To develop, accumulate and maintain knowledge of the scientific literature relevant to the fields of statistical genetics and cancer/ genetic/ molecular epidemiology. (Approx 10% of time)
To communicate effectively and cooperatively with others, of different skill levels and abilities, within the team and to provide guidance to colleagues and supervision for student projects. (Approx 10% of time)
To prepare research proposals and applications to external funding bodies based on a line of future research. (Approx 5% of time)
To get involved in cancer related teaching and knowledge exchange activities. (Approx 5% of time)
4. Planning and Organising
The post-holder will plan and manage their own programme of research activity on an ongoing basis, to ensure that the research is conducted in accordance with the research timetable. They will also assist more junior members of the research team in planning and scheduling their workloads, in accordance with the demands of the overall project.
5. Problem Solving
The post holder is expected to show initiative in problem solving. They are also expected to use creativity and initiative to identify areas for research, to develop new research methods and to diversify the research parameters. They will need to use initiative to analyse and interpret research data, to draw conclusions from it, to help other researchers in the team to resolve project problems and to develop new techniques and methods, as appropriate.
6. Decision Making
Taken independently: Organise own workload according to priority and adapt as necessary, setting of short-term time-lines, design experimental set-up to address specific research aims;
In collaboration with others: Problem solving and data interpretation, experimental design and discussion of short-term research aims and potential new research strategies;
Referred to manager: Overall timelines, changes of direction, response to serious and unexpected events, identification of the best way forward and interpretation of complex data (although input to these areas is expected);
Level of Direction Given: Line manager will offer general orientation and advice, in addition to support in developing and implementation of research strategy, there will be an appropriate degree of independence.
7. Key Contacts/Relationships
Internal: PI (Prof Evropi Theodoratou) and members of the immediate research team (Prof Malcolm Dunlop, Prof Paul McKeigue, Dr Peter Hall, Prof Harry Campbell, Dr Athina Spiliopoulou, Dr Susan Farrington).
External: Collaborating researchers worldwide, external networks to share information and develop links as appropriate.
8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job
• PhD (or near completion) in Mathematics, Statistics, Statistical Genetics, Quantitative Genetics, Genetic Epidemiology or a closely related discipline.
• Strong record of experience in the statistical analysis of large-scale data including large scale genetic association studies, genotype-phenotype associations, handling and analysis of large omic data, GWAS, PheWAS and Mendelian Randomisation.
• Strong expertise in programming using R, Python or both
• Demonstrate working knowledge of statistical methods used in statistical genetics, quantitative genetics, genetic epidemiology and/or statistical methodology relevant to human genetics.
• Experience in managing, annotating and working with large datasets.
• Experience in developing methodologies to capitalise on data resources available to the group.
• Experience in database management.
• Experience establishing effective collaborations and interacting with members of scientific and informatics communities.
Knowledge, Skills and Competencies
• A proven track record of scientific publications.
• Ability to conduct and perform individual and collaborative research and effectively interact with a broad range of other scientists
• Strong analytical and organisational skills
• Demonstrated involvement in biomedical research.
• Effective verbal and written communication skills.
• Motivation to aid the supervision of undergraduate, graduate and PhD students or junior researchers working in the group.
• Expertise in developing statistical models and implementing advanced computational tools to interrogate large scale databases for epidemiology research.
• Effective problem-solving and decision-making skills with the ability to troubleshoot complex analysis issues.
• Able to prioritise and plan workload.
• Self-motivated, imaginative and creative.
The appointee will be appointed to the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute. The Principal Investigator is Prof Evropi Theodoratou. Major innovations in analysis would be discussed with the PI, Senior Staff and other members of the team, but the post-holder would be expected to produce fully worked-out proposals.
The work will be set in the context of a highly integrated and collaborative environment within the Usher Institute and IGMM and will be in collaboration with long term collaborators within Edinburgh, the UK and internationally. The post-holder will interact directly and indirectly with Principal Investigators and many scientific researchers across other Universities within the UK.
10. Job Context and any other relevant information
Available: 01/05/2020 – 30/04/2023 with potential for extension subject to successful Grant renewal.
10 most recent publications
1) Montazeri Z, …, Theodoratou E, Zheng W, Little J*. Systematic meta-analyses, field synopsis and global assessment of the evidence of genetic association studies in colorectal cancer Gut 2019
2) Wu P, Gifford A, …, Theodoratou E, Wei W-Q. Developing and Evaluating Mappings of ICD-10 and ICD-10-CM codes to Phecodes. JMIR Medical Informatics 2019
3) Li X, … Theodoratou E. A phenome-wide Mendelian Randomization study on serum urate levels in UK Biobank. PLoS Med 2019
4) He Y, …, Theodoratou E. A comprehensive study of the effect on colorectal cancer survival of common germline genetic variation previously linked with cancer prognosis. CEBP 2019
5) Meng X, … Theodoratou E. Phenome Wide Mendelian Randomization Study of genetically determined Vitamin D on multiple health outcomes using the UK Biobank Study. IJE 2019
6) Gill D, Georgakis MK, … Theodoratou E, … Tzoulaki I. Genetic variants related to antihypertensive targets inform drug efficacy and side effects. Circulation 2019;140(4):270-279
7) He Y, … Theodoratou E. Performance of prediction models for long-term prognosis of colorectal cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Surg Oncol 2019;29:196-202
8) He Y, Theodoratou E, …, Timofeeva M. Common genetic variants associated with colorectal cancer risk do not influence survival after diagnosis. IJC 2019;145(9):2427-2432
9) Vaughan-Shaw PG, Zgaga L, Ooi LY, Theodoratou E, et al. Circulating vitamin D is associated survival outcome after colorectal cancer surgery, independent of systemic inflammatory response. Gut 2019
10) Law PJ, Timofeeva M, …, Theodoratou E, …, Houlston RS, Dunlop MG. Genetic and gene expression analyses identify multiple novel risk loci associated with colorectal cancer. Nat Comm 2019;10(1):2154
The role is grade Ue07 and attracts an annual salary of £33,797 to £40,322 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.
This post is available on a fixed term basis until 30 April 2023.
This role is grade Ue07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.
For further information please visit our pension’s website: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/finance/pensions/scheme-details/uss
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Closing date: 27 July 2020 at 5pm.
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