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University of Edinburgh University of Edinburgh

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Vacancy Details
Statistical Geneticist
Vacancy Ref: : 052455 Closing Date : 27-Jul-2020
Contact Person : Prof. Evi Theodoratou Contact Number :
Contact Email :

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.

Personal Attributes

• Team-player.
• Flexible.
• Able to prioritise and plan workload.
• Self-motivated, imaginative and creative.

9. Dimensions

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.

Pension Scheme
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:

Right to Work
In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and Immigration Act 2016 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).
To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on right to work please visit our right to work webpage

If you are from outside the EEA and not currently eligible to work in the UK, there are visa routes that may be available to you, for example:

  1. Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent): If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. This route requires you to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK). However, if you are applying for a senior academic role, e.g. Professor/Reader there is an accelerated route to endorsement. Further information can be found on the UKVI website
  2. Tier 2: The University is a UKVI licensed sponsor and is able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who are offered highly skilled roles and meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa).

Please note if you were last granted leave to stay in the UK in any Tier 2 category in the 12 months immediately preceding an application and the leave has
• ended or expired.
• the CoS which led to that grant of leave was issued for more than 3 months, and
• you are either:
o applying for entry clearance from outside the UK, or
o you are in the UK and had a previous period of Tier 2 leave, but then changed (‘switched’) into a different immigration category and now wishes to apply again under Tier 2.
You must wait 12 months before applying again.

Further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes can be found at:

Application Procedure
All applicants should apply online by clicking the “apply” button at the foot of this page. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

Closing date: 27 July 2020 at 5pm.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.

Usher Institute
The Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics is a high-energy, interdisciplinary environment dedicated to improving the health of individuals and populations locally and globally through transformative research, education, knowledge exchange and innovation. The Usher Institute is currently directed by Professor Aziz Sheikh, and sits within the Edinburgh Medical School in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Working with partners across the NHS, policymakers, industry partners and the public is central to the highly collaborative ethos of the Usher Institute. Three core research centres in Global Health, Medical Informatics and Population Health Sciences are at the heart of the Usher Institute, ensuring it boasts a truly interdisciplinary environment. Around 300 researchers and support staff with expertise in a varied range of methodologies and topics contribute to world-leading research in global health, population health sciences and medical informatics. Our research expertise is at the heart of the excellent educational experience we offer in a wide range of taught and research postgraduate programmes, both online and on-campus, our programme of continuing professional development and in our contribution to the undergraduate medical degree. We maintain an open, engaging and dynamic environment and welcome collaborations from around the globe.
Usher Institute
Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences
Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences is one of three Deaneries in Edinburgh Medical School which, together with the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, makes up the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. The Deanery is headed by Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley and comprises the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM), the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, the Division of Pathology and the Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit. The Deanery currently attracts annual research grants of around £40M, including a number of full programme grants, and has around 630 employees including 39 Professors, over 260 other academic members of staff and 330 members of support staff. The Deanery operates across three University of Edinburgh sites; the Western General Hospital campus, the Central Area, and Little France. Staff contribute undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and offer on-campus and on-line programmes. There is a vibrant PhD community in both IGMM and the Usher Institute.
Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences
The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine traces its origins back nearly 500 years (Darwin, Simpson and Conan-Doyle were students here) and is internationally renowned for its research and teaching. Professor Moira Whyte is the Head of College, the only conjoint Medical and Veterinary Medical School in the UK. The College employs over 3000 academic and support staff. The College has two Schools, the Edinburgh Medical School comprising 3 Deaneries; Biomedical Sciences; Molecular Genetic and Population Health Sciences and Clinical Sciences and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences

Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Teaching Organisation

Edinburgh Medical School: Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences

Edinburgh Medical School: Clinical Sciences

The undergraduate medicine teaching programme in the College enjoys a high reputation nationally and internationally, with over 1,300 students enrolled on the MBChB and Intercalated courses and nearly 1000 on the Veterinary Sciences BVS and related programmes. In addition, approximately 2000 students are currently enrolled in the College’s taught and research post-graduate courses, including an extensive range of online distance learning diplomas and degrees. They are trained by over 1000 outstanding academic staff. Details of PhDs, research programmes and studentships are available through our interdisciplinary research institutes and centres.

The academic disciplines within Medicine are largely concentrated in the two teaching hospital campuses, the Royal Infirmary at Little France and the Western General Hospital. Both have extensive new infrastructure with major research institutes and state of the art research facilities on clinical sites. Edinburgh hosts a number of prestigious MRC and BHF Research Centres. The approach is interdisciplinary, with basic and clinical researchers working together at the laboratory bench and in our clinical research facilities to address major themes in basic, clinical and translational medicine.

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies on the Easter Bush Campus houses outstanding teaching and clinical facilities as well as the splendid Roslin Institute, one of the world’s leading veterinary research centres. The College offers outstanding opportunities to address ‘One Health’ and Global Health problems of the highest international priority.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

The College’s reputation as one of the world’s leading centres of medical and veterinary medical research has been reaffirmed by its UK REF2014 results. Medicine, the University’s largest submission, was ranked in the top 5 in the UK. Veterinary Medicine came 1st in the UK, and retained its position as the UK’s top Vet School. It made a joint submission with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Neuroscience was ranked 3rd in the UK out of 82 submissions, representing a major advance. Overall, 84% of the College’s research activity was rated world leading or internationally excellent (3* and 4*). In terms of 'one medicine' research (human and animal medicine), the University of Edinburgh's research power (quality x volume) is the strongest in the UK.
The University of Edinburgh
For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.
The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 41,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 14,500 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.

The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.

University Family Friendly Initiatives

Equality Networks:

Staff Pride Network for LGBT+ colleagues and allies
Disabled Staff Network

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
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