Senior Research Fellow of Bioinformatics and Medical Genomics
growth thanks to recent theoretical and technological advances, but there is a lag in interdisciplinary research, which also contributes to the difficulties in translating basic research results into clinical practice and viable science-based business ideas. The main task of the research group is to unlock and promote synergy both in terms of advancing basic science and technology, and delivering research results that cross the boundaries of established research directions, thereby creating a new frontier of science at the host institution. To this end, the research in the cGEM ERA Chair group will be focussed on combining tools and data from different disciplines to gain insights into the genetic variation, regulatory mechanisms for gene expression and gene-environment interactions responsible for variation in complex human traits and susceptibility to disease within and between and populations, and translating these insights into clinical practise and collaboration with industry.
The cGEM ERA Chair group offers unique opportunities for this research as it is tightly integrated with the Institutes of Genomics (IG) and Clinical Medicine (ICM) at the University of Tartu, with a vibrant and internationally recognised research community and unique resources such as the Estonian national biobank containing 200,000 samples with matching genetic, physiological and health information, a global biobank of over 25,000 human DNA samples from hundreds of populations, as well as modern facilities and equipment, including High Performance Computing cluster (hpc.ut.ee), high-throughput sequencing, ancient DNA facilities, and processing of sample tissue, blood and cell cultures. In addition, the secured funding allows to hire one Junior Research Fellow and one PhD student working under the supervision of the successful applicant.
The main responsibilities of the post hold will be to carry out research and development in medical and functional genetics, bioinformatics, personalised medicine or related fields; to work with the other members of the groups to unlock synergy between large scale population-based biobank, computational genomics, population and medical genetics in genomics guided evolutionary medicine; and to supervise Junior Research Fellows and PhD students in the group. The post holder will also have an essential role together with the cGEM group leader, PI and the Project Management Board in the selection process during recruitment of Junior Research Fellows and PhD students.
Main tasks of this position are:
• Research, development and creative (RDC) activities in medical and functional genetics, bioinformatics, personalised medicine or related fields, at least 70% of working time.
• High-level RDC activities, including directing RDC activities in the research theme, taking care that necessary resources are available for it, and taking responsibility for the performance of RDC activities.
• Internationally recognised research in five years at least in the volume equivalent to that of two doctoral theses.
• Supervision of academic staff members involved in RDC activities.
• Participation in the research-organisational activities of international dimension.
• Development of skills necessary for RDC activities, and professional development.
• Teaching and activities related to the administration and development of teaching, up to 20% of working time.
• Teaching, using modern teaching methods and educational technology; primarily supervision of students, incl. doctoral students.
• Professional development to enhance teaching and supervising skills.
• Activities related to the governance and institutional development of the university, at least 5% of working time.
• Social and public activities, at least 5% of working time.
• Nationally/Internationally-recognised knowledge and emerging reputation in Genetics/Genomics
• Proven ability to work effectively as part of a team
• Track record of producing publications of outstanding quality
• Track record of contributions to national/international research conferences
• Track record in supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students
• Strong organisational skills
• Excellent communication skills
• Capacity to engage, mentor and motivate colleagues
Desirable skills and experience
• Track record of industry collaboration
• Track record of obtaining funded research projects
• Recognised teaching ability
• Experience in team or project management
• Experience in classroom teaching and tutoring
Please do not hesitate contacting:
Dr. Anders Eriksson, cGEM ERA Chair, group leader genomics guided evolutionary medicine, anders.eriksson [ät] kcl.ac.uk
Dr. Mait Metspalu, Institute of genomics, director, PI of the project, maitb [ät] ut.ee
Dr. Andres Salumets, Institute of clinical medicine, WP leader, andres.salumets [ät] ut.ee
Dr. Tõnu Esko, Institute of genomics, head of Estonian Genome Center, tonu.esko [ät] ut.ee
Ms. Merit Kreitsberg, project manager, merit.kreitsberg [ät] ut.ee
Ms. Merilin Raud, assistant, merilin.raud [ät] ut.ee
For the full description of the ERA Chair project and roles of the ERA Chair team members, please contact the contact persons listed above. Here we give a concise summary of the mission, expected impact and tasks of the cGEM ERA Chair project.
The cGEM ERA Chair group aims to apply advancements in genomic medicine in an evolutionarily-aware framework to account for different evolutionary pathways of populations which have led to differences in susceptibility to common diseases. This requires in-depth knowledge about genetic risk factors for diverse ethnic groups, and relevant tools to highlight the underlying genetic predisposition to diseases in complex human populations. For this reason, we will bring together the scientific expertise in three institutions: the Estonian Biocentre (EBC) and the Estonian Genome Center (EGC) which were consolidated to form the Institute of Genomics at the University of Tartu (IGUT) in January 2018, and the Institute of Clinical Medicine (ICM) of the same university. The synergy between the three scientific hubs will create research capacity required for tackling the above mentioned aim. This capacity will be established to apply a holistic approach to understand the evolutionary driving forces that have led to common diseases; develop disease risk prediction models applicable in different populations, and explore the means of translating these findings into a suitable input for everyday clinical practice. All three partners have unique resources such as biobanks, modern facilities and equipment, including high-throughput sequencing, ancient DNA facilities, and processing of sample tissue, blood and cell cultures.
The EGC develops and manages a population-based, longitudinal biobank representing about 20% of Estonia’s adult population (200,000 participants), established in 2000. The whole cohort of the biobank is fully genetically characterized by whole-genome genotyping assays, 3,000 individuals are additionally whole-genome and 2,500 whole-exome sequenced. The data repository is linked with national health registries and hospital databases for up-to-date phenotypic information. The return of individual genomic results (such as polygenic risk scores, high impact alleles and clinically actionable mutations) to biobank donors has started, and strengthening the collaboration with the ICM is instrumental in translating basic research to clinical practice. At the same time, the EBC maintains a sizable sample bank of over 25,000 human DNA samples from hundreds of populations from Eurasia and beyond, which will be critical in establishing the evolutionary driving forces of human complex diseases.