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Senior Research Associate in Bioinformatics for Human Cell Atlas research

Requisition ID:  5402

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  17-Nov-2020


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Salary: £41,526 - £45,361 per annum


Closing Date: 5 January 2021

The Role

The Institute of Biosciences has an opening in the Haniffa Lab research group for a Senior Research Associate. Under the leadership of Professor Muzlifah Haniffa, you will join a diverse team that works on the Human Cell Atlas initiative with external partners including Dr Sarah Teichmann at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. We apply disruptive cutting-edge techniques and use advanced computing capabilities to develop new multi-omics technologies including single cell sequencing, spatial transcriptomics and high dimensional flow cytometry and imaging mass cytometry. The group studies human tissue as the basis for understanding human health and diagnosing, monitoring and treating disease.

We invite applications from postdoctoral researchers with a strong background and experience in bioinformatics and programming. You should have a PhD in Computer Science or related Bioinformatician discipline, with a good grounding in computational fundamentals (ML/AI/Algorithms). You will have substantial professional experience of research.  You will have experience of project management, including the preparation of proposals for research funding, and monitoring research budgets.  You will be expected to be undertaking research both individually and collectively and contribute to advancing the stage of knowledge and understanding within their particular area of expertise.  The post plays an essential role in supporting the group's research effort, and you should be proficient using Python and/or R, and have experience of working with and analysing large datasets. You are expected to proactively collaborate with researchers and have a demonstrable record of productivity in high quality peer-reviewed literature. Existing knowledge in immunology and developmental biology would be highly desirable.

You will be located in state-of-the-art laboratories housed within the Biosciences Institute at Newcastle University. The Institute has a vibrant community of bioengineers and cellular, molecular and computational biologists. Researchers work together across many of the Faculty’s research themes and our Innovation Hubs provide advanced methodology and access to the latest infrastructure. You will have access to excellent dedicated core research facilities for single cell and spatial genomics, flow cytometry and mass cytometry.  


This post is full time, fixed term tenable for 3 years.


Informal enquiries to Prof Muzlifah Haniffa (m.a.haniffa@newcastle.ac.uk).


Key Accountabilities


  • To provide high-level bioinformatic analysis for single cell milti-omics datasets from human tissues
  • To take a leading role in planning and delivering bioinformatics support for research projects in the Haniffa group focused on the Human Cell Atlas in close collaboration with Dr. Sarah Teichmann at Wellcome Sanger Institute
  • To ensure  that  knowledge  and  bioinformatics  skills  in  their  own, and  related,  areas  of  scholarship  are  extended  and  inform  research activities and to develop collaborative networks to support analytical method development
  • To interface with research support engineers within the research group for visualisation of datasets through a browsable web portal
  • Use of high-performance computing clusters to perform analyses
  • To independently develop new implementations or algorithms (machine learning or otherwise) for analysis of single cell and spatial datasets. Deploy these algorithms for use by others both in-house and externally within new or existing open source packages
  • Lead on the preparation and writing of research papers and make significant contributions to group research papers
  • Provision of advice to and training of undergraduate and graduate students regarding the setting up of specific analytical systems and programming and analysis of data
  • To present results from their own and their team's research activity, including information on progress and outcomes and input into the research project’s dissemination, in a variety of formats.   Researchers at this level will be expected to present at conferences of international quality or exhibit potential for  international quality (in part through strong national qualitypublications) at the frequency appropriate to the discipline
  • Identify research objectives and potential funding sources and lead or support writing proposals for funding
  • Play an active part in research networks and actively seek out and develop opportunities for interdisciplinary research
  • Will play an active role in project management, including the preparation of proposals for research funding, and monitoring research budgets
  • Will provide leadership and mentorship for pre- and post-doctoral fellows in the Haniffa Lab. In particular providing guidance and expert advice as required to any support colleagues and/or research students. Work with the support colleagues and, on occasions, with undergraduate and postgraduate students, and interact intellectually with other academic members of the Institute
  • Support supervision of postgraduate research students and take responsibility for their training


The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Substantial professional experience of research
  • A strong publication record for the discipline, showing evidence of work of at least national quality
  • Substantial theoretical and practical proficiency with Python and/or R, and scripting languages (e.g. Perl, Shell)
  • Practical experience of transcriptomic analysis including the use of large next generation RNA and DNA sequencing datasets (ideally including single cell transcriptomics)
  • Strong background and experience in bioinformatics and programming
  • Good grounding in computational fundamentals (ML/AI/Algorithms)
  • Practical experience of a range of bioinformatics software packages, database resources and version control
  • Good coordination, time management, analysis and presentation skills
  • Involvement in drafting manuscripts
  • Experience of project management, including the preparation of proposals for research funding, and monitoring research budgets
  • Existing knowledge in immunology and developmental biology (Desirable)


Attributes and Behaviour

  • Demonstrate substantial bioinformatics skills applied to a broad range of computing and biological sciences
  • Keeps up to date with new/improved bioinformatics knowledge, skills, techniques and research
  • Ability to work to deadlines and manage conflicting priorities
  • Demonstrates development of intellectual independence and establish a reputation within the particular research field and academic discipline via their outputs
  • Ability to provide leadership to small research teams and to work with multi-professional teams
  • Possesses the ability  to  evaluate  concepts/theories in order to develop original solutions and particular knowledge of, and expertise in, research methodologies appropriate to their area of scholarship
  • Commitment to development to include extensive reading and literature/bioinformatics methods review to continue development as a future research leader in the specific field
  • Expectation and willingness to work outside normal office hours including weekends and to work away from main laboratory site including national and international collaborative visits



  • A PhD in Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, Biomedical Sciences, Physics or Engineering or a similar discipline with an interest in Life Sciences and experience in Bioinformatics and Programming



Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.



The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Please be advised that due to the minimum salary thresholds imposed by the UKVI, this post may not qualify for University sponsorship under Tier 2 of the points based system.



Requisition ID: 5402