The University of Cambridge wishes to appoint a talented senior postdoctoral research associate in bioinformatics/computational biology and statistical genetics to join a team of clinical, laboratory and computational scientists in the research groups of Prof Patrick Chinnery, Prof Rita Horvath and Dr Jelle van den Ameele at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit.
The post holder will lead an exciting project to discover how nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) interact in the human population. They will then determine whether the disruption of these interactions contributes to common late onset diseases including neurodegenerative disorders.
Human mitochondria incorporate ~1100 proteins which are encoded two distinct genomes: nuclear DNA and mtDNA. Although inherited by totally different mechanisms, the proteins encoded by nDNA and mtDNA directly interact and are essential for mitochondrial function. Preliminary evidence indicates that the two genomes have co-evolved in the human population, but the underlying genetic mechanisms for this interaction are now known. The post holder will harness the power of very large whole genome sequence datasets, including UK Biobank and the NIHR BioResource, to establish a framework to look for nuclear-mtDNA epistasis and determine whether specific nuclear-mtDNA interactions are under selection at the population level. This will form the basis for human disease studies, where a disruption of the normal balance between nuclear genes and mtDNA contributes to neurodegenerative diseases. Down-stream functional work will include transcriptomic and metabolomic datasets.
This provides a unique opportunity to gain access to patient cohorts and clinical data alongside leading genomic technologies in the Cambridge cluster, and to work closely with other bioinformaticians, laboratory and clinical scientists in the University, Wellcome Sanger Institute, and the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute. The team publishes high-profile publications including: Cell 2023 PMID36827974; Nature Commun 2023 PMID36823193; Nature 2022 PMID36198798; Nature Commun 2022 PMID35468895; Brain 2022 PMID 34791078; Nature Genetics 2021 PMID34002094; Nature Medicine 2021 PMID34426706; EMBO J 2020 PMID33128823; eLife 2019 PMID31513013; Science 2019 PMID31123110.
Candidates are expected to be independent, highly motivated, and keen to work collaboratively with wet-lab and computational biologists within and outside the research groups. In addition to their own research, there will be opportunities for training and career development, and supervision of junior researchers.
The role will be located within the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit housed in the Wellcome Trust/MRC Building on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, with state-of-the-art facilities available to group members, including computational resources (i.e. access to HPC facilities, a Linux cluster and storage).
Lab websites: MRC MBU Research groups: https://www.mrc-mbu.cam.ac.uk/research-groups Cambridge Clinical Mitochondrial Research team: https://www-neurosciences.medschl.cam.ac.uk/mitocamb/ MRC MitoCluster: https://nmgn.mrc.ukri.org/clusters/mitochondria/
Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 36 months (3 years) in the first instance, with the possibility of extending beyond this.
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