University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Research Associate (Bioinformatician) (Fixed Term)

We seek a highly motivated computational researcher for a key role within Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian's pioneering research programme to advance our understanding of sequence, structure and chemical modifications in DNA and RNA. Using their expert knowledge of programming languages, statistical/machine learning methods, bioinformatics tools and resources, the ideal candidate will use and develop computational approaches to transform raw sequencing data into biologically meaningful information. The candidate will have strong problem analysis/solving skills and be able to work collaboratively within a multidisciplinary team working at the interface between chemistry, biology and bioinformatics.

Specifically, the post-holder will work as a bioinformatics research scientist contributing to research areas such as:

  • Elucidating the fundamental role of non-canonical nucleic acid structures, such as G-quadruplexes, in the genome and transcriptome (e.g. Chambers et al., Nature Biotechnology 2015, DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3295; Hänsel-Hertsch et al., Nature Genetics 2016, DOI: 10.1038/ng.3662; Marsico et al., Nucleic Acids Research 2019, DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkz179; Zyner et al., eLife 2019, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.46793; Zyner et al., Nature Communications, 2022, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-27719-1).

  • Identification and mapping of chemically modified bases, such as cytosine and thymidine modifications, and understanding their function in the genome and epigenome (e.g. Booth et al., Science 2012, DOI: 10.1126/science.1220671; Bachman et al. Nature Chemical Biology 2015, DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.1848; Kawasaki et al., Genome Biology 2017, DOI: 10.1186/s13059-017-1150-1; Hofer et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b01915; Liu et al., Nature Chemistry 2019, DOI: 10.1038/s41557-019-0279-9)

Key functions of the role include:

  • Playing a leading role in experimental design.
  • Performing, customising and/or developing computational analyses/algorithms for raw data from sequencing-based assays such as ChIP-seq and RNA-seq and other data types (e.g. proteomics).
  • Pre-processing of raw datasets and high-level analysis and visualisation to enable interpretation and deduce new biological insights.
  • Managing research collaborations with experimental scientists and developing independent projects.

Skills required include:

  • Programming/scripting skills in languages such as R or Matlab, Python or Perl, C/C++, Ruby or Java.
  • Working knowledge of Linux/Unix, with experience in data processing in an HPC cluster environment and basic understanding of computer systems administration.
  • Knowledge of biological data resources (e.g., NCBI, EMBL-EBI, KEGG, ENCODE and ELIXIR) and bioinformatic tools.
  • Algorithm development, data mining and statistical analysis of large datasets (such as Bayesian statistics, Markov models, simulation models or machine learning).
  • Experience collaborating with experimental scientists e.g., chemists or biologists, and managing several concurrent projects with changing priorities

Applicants should have a strong foundation in statistical methods and computational science with a PhD in a computational discipline such as bioinformatics, computational biology/chemistry, computer science or quantitative biology. Previous experience in analysing genomic (especially high-throughput sequencing data) and or other type of biological datasets is highly desirable. For academic candidates a consistent record of strong scientific publications is essential. We also welcome candidates with equivalent industrial experience. The position requires strong communication and teamwork skills and involves regular interactions with experimental and computational researchers across Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian's two laboratories based at the CRUK Cambridge Institute (CI) and the University's Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry. The role holder will be based at CI but expected to spend part of the time in Chemistry. The successful candidate will be highly organized, with good time management skills. Experience in project management would also be welcomed.

See and for further information

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a security check.

Closing Date: 7th June 2022.

Interview Date: TBC.

Please ensure that you upload a 2-page Curriculum Vitae (CV), a covering letter and publications list in the Upload section of the online application. If you upload any additional documents that have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

For queries regarding applying online for this post, please contact Jo Lockhart, Science Administrator, email:

Appointment at Research Associate level is dependent on having a PhD. Those who have submitted but not yet received their PhD will initially be appointed as a Research Assistant (Grade 5, Point 38 £30,497) moving to Research Associate (Grade 7) upon confirmation of your PhD award.

Please include details of your referees, including email address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please quote reference SW31049 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online