University of Edinburgh



, Scotland

 United Kingdom

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488 days ago Apply now

Fixed Term 3 years – Full Time

A postdoctoral researcher is sought for a three-year post in the lab of Prof. Andrew Jackson FRS, to investigate the biological basis of indel cancer signatures.

The Opportunity:
Mutation underlies cancer development, genetic disease and evolution. Sequencing of cancer genomes has defined many mutational signatures, but for a substantial number the underlying mechanism is unknown. Linking such signatures to cellular pathways will be key for personalized medicine targeting future cancer therapy.

The purpose of this post is to use computational approaches harnessing large-scale whole genome sequencing (ICGC, GeL, others) and in house NGS datasets to understand mechanisms underlying indel mutational signatures. The successful applicant will investigate the role of transcription-associated mutagenesis and the ID4 cancer signature in cancer, to define when, where and how it occurs, extending recent lab discoveries (Reijns et al. Nature 2022). Alongside they will contribute to methodological innovations, including development of novel computational and experimental techniques for mutation detection.

The post-holder will be part of a multidisciplinary team, allowing their computational insights to be experimentally tested by wet-lab colleagues. They will also have the opportunity to contribute to the diversity of the lab’s research, ranging from human gene discovery, genome-wide CRISPR screens, epigenetic regulation of growth, and the cell biology of DNA replication and genome stability.

The research group is internationally diverse and strongly competitive with 12 papers published in Cell and Nature journals in the last 10 years.


Main responsibilities

· Design, execute and interpret experiments investigating the biological basis of mutational signatures – 70%

· Maintain accurate and up-to-date records to document the research progress – 5%

· Take a lead role in writing up data for publication in peer-reviewed journals – 5%

· Present data at group and section meetings – 5%

· Contribute to the dissemination of research at national and international meetings – 5%

· Establish and maintain knowledge relevant to mutation signatures and mutagenesis mechanisms – 5%

· Provide guidance and supervision for student projects and instruction of students – 5%

Planning & Organising

The post-holder will plan and manage their own programme of research activity, to ensure that the research is conducted in accordance with the research timetable.

Problem Solving

The post holder is expected to resolve most problems using accumulated experience, with only the more challenging, non-standard issues reported to the line managers for assistance. To use creativity, initiative and knowledge to identify areas for research, develop new research methods, and diversify the research parameters. Use initiative and experience to analyse and interpret research data, and draw conclusions from it. Use initiative to help other researchers in the team to resolve project problems and develop new techniques and methods, as appropriate.

Decision Making

The job holder will independently organise their own workload according to priority, set short-term time-lines, and design experimental set-up to address specific research aims.

Andrew Jackson as line manager will offer general orientation and advice, in addition to support in developing and implementation of research strategy.



  • PhD in relevant discipline
  • Excellent computational skills
  • Strong academic research track record
  • Strong programming skills in Python and/or R


  • One or more first author papers in a prominent journal
  • Background in cancer genomics or human genetics
  • Experience with large scale genomic datasets
  • Compute cluster or cloud computing experience
  • Knowledge of cancer mutational signature analysis
Additional Information:


· Interacting with other members of the Jackson group

· Active participation in critical discussion at group, section and Institute meetings

· Produce data for first author publications in high impact journals

· Present data at appropriate national and international meetings

The post holder will be managed by Prof Andrew Jackson and will work in a research group composed of six postdocs, two research assistants and a senior technician. The research group is within the Disease Mechanisms section of the MRC Human Genetics Unit.

Additional Information

· Ability to conduct high quality research

· Ambitious and self-motivated

· Good interpersonal skills for working within the group and with collaborators

· Effective presentation skills to present to the group, the unit and at scientific meetings

· Ability to maintain clear and accurate records

· Ability to work flexible hours when needed


mutational signatures


whole genome sequencing

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