Opportunities in the CSSB:

The CSSB and the Systems Biology Laboratory are currently looking to recruit several new members of the Systems and Synthetic Biology Team.

Lead Bioinformatician

As part of the Systems Biology Laboratory, the University is making a substantial investment in new computing resources for bioinformatics. A bioinformatician is wanted who will be involved in establishing and running the core tools necessary for local project-related bioinformatics, and in applying them to a range of research projects within the group and collaboratively.

Tools will include: transcription study LIMS and analysis systems (including BASE), local BLAST databases and searching, next generation DNA assembly and analysis tools (including Galaxy and MAQ), and data integration and presentation tools (including GBrowse). Additional systems administration support will be provided through the School of Information Systems Computing and Mathematics.

The Bioinformatician will establish and maintain the core bioinformatics tools and resources, and will have an educational and support role to members of the group and collaborators, but will also be a fully research active team member of the CSSB, including projects in which they will take the lead in directing and performing studies primarily within the areas of data analysis and systems biology.

Ideally, the applicant will have a biosciences background, with post-doctoral work in experimental biology, as well as experience of working with at least some of the core bioinformatics tools, and demonstrable capability of working with and establishing the others. We are looking for a team player who enjoys working with a range biological sciences project and wants an active involvement in the research and project development of the group, rather than a primarily support and service role.

As the CSSB develops, it is envisaged that this post will have a supervisory and collaborative role working with additional research-grant associated bioinformatics focussed members of the team.

This post is initially funded for 2 years, funding for a further two years has been applied for, and this post is seen as a core component of the CSSB team for which support will be sought on an on-going basis.

This post will be formally advertised in the New Year, but interested applicants may send their CV, a covering letter, and the details of at least three academic referees to Professor Saunders at any time, and are encouraged to do so.

Post-doctoral position

A post-doctoral scientist is sought to complete two projects related to neisseria meningitidis: a BBSRC funded study of neisserial gene regulation based upon transcriptomics, and a Meningitis UK project addressing protective immune responses using a novel protein microarrays. Both studies are advanced and are likely to generate data for publications in a relatively short time-frame, and will be particularly useful for researchers wishing to obtain substantial outputs and to develop their skills in these areas. These projects / positions have been combined so that a single / longer appointment can be made, and to maximize the opportunities to complete both projects successfully.

This post is funded for 10 months. Other grant applications are pending, and someone who performs well in this position will be competitively placed for a position one of these forthcoming projects.

This post will be formally advertised in the New Year, but interested applicants may send their CV, a covering letter, and the details of at least three academic referees to Professor Saunders at any time, and are encouraged to do so.

Research technician

A research technician is sought to work on a range of ongoing and new projects within the group. Work will primarily focus upon new synthetic biology projects related to a novel mechanism of gene expression control, and with the development of a new serodiagnostic platform and its application to human infection. The technician will primarily work with Professor Saunders, but will also assist the post-docs in the group in their on-going projects.

This post is initially funded for 2 years, and funding for a further two years applied for.

This post will be formally advertised in the New Year, but interested applicants may send their CV, a covering letter, and the details of at least three academic referees to Professor Saunders at any time, and are encouraged to do so.

PhD studentships

There are a number of PhD student projects available within the group, which may be singly or jointly supervised between the Biosciences and Computing sciences components of the CSSB, by Professor Saunders and / or Professor Gilbert, as well as by other members of the team. There is currently one funded studentship (at (UK / EU rates) available to work with Professor Saunders.

Projects areas available in the areas of:

Synthetic biology: 

Project 1: Synthetic regulation. This project centres around the development of a new tool for the design and construction of synthetic regulatory networks. The detail of the methodology is not currently in the public domain, and people interested in this area of research should contact Professor Saunders to discuss in more detail.

Project 2: Accelerated evolution. We are developing a project in this area, which exploits several aspects of evolution and next-generation sequencing. The details of the approach are not in the public domain at this time, and people interested in this area of research should contact Professor Saunders to discuss in more detail.

Systems biology

Project 3: The basis of neisserial virulence, a comparative approach. We have developed a new way to address the differential behaviour and virulence of pathogens. The method has been successfully applied to Neisseria gonorrhoeae (currently submitted for publication), and we now intend to pursue this work in other pathogens, including Neisseria meningitidis, and to pursue the functions of the key genes which have been identified.

Project 4: The regulatory networks that control the responses of pathogens to their hosts and that enable them to adapt to different conditions. We have a number of on-going projects in this area, addressing specific and global aspects of regulation. Projects available include highly wet-work / biological projects, as well as more computational ones, as well as projects with a mixture of both. Specific projects in this area will be developed in discussion with potential applicants to ensure a good match of their personal interests and the overall goals of the group.

Project 5: The roles of epigenetic DNA modification / methylation in bacterial regulation and evolution. The roles for DNA methylation mediated by restriction systems within MMEs (minimal mobile elements) and in the regulation of gene expression are increasingly apparent in Neisseria. This is an emerging area of interest in the laboratory, with a number of potential projects associated with it.

Application of protein arrays to diagnostics

Project 6: (self-funded applicants only): We have developed a new method for highly sensitive antibody detection, in a protein microarray format, which we now wish to apply to infectious diseases diagnostic applications. Which infections will be initially targeted can be discussed with Professor Saunders, if this project is of specific interests.

Computational systems biology (Potential studentships available via the School if Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics)

Project 7: Systems biology of host-pathogen interactions.  Several lines of evidence suggest that metabolism and metabolic products are key to intra- and inter-specific behaviour and signalling. This provides a novel opportunity for the integration of pathogen and host metabolic pathway modelling and behavioural predictions of the behaviour and responses of both bacterial and host systems mediated by a 'common currency' of metabolites, and the development of new computational models and algorithms for their exploration and description.

Project 8: Model checking for multi scale models of biological systems.  Model checking is a well-established technique in systems biology at the intracellular level, usually applied to network models which exhibit significant dynamic behaviour, e.g. signalling pathways.  Current work in the CSSB includes multi scale modelling.  There is now a real need to extend current model checking to multi scale descriptions, which can include data over a variety of types.

Students are strongly encouraged to think about the project areas that they are interested in, and how they fit with their personal interests and future career aspirations. We like to develop project in collaboration with students, and take an approach in which the student makes a progressive transition from highly directed to more independent working through the course of their PhD program. We are happy to discuss and develop projects within these areas which fit with the groups on-going research and interests.

Potential candidates should send a detailed CV, contact information (including email) for at least 3 academic referees with direct experience of their work including at least one former project / experimental work supervisor, and a cover letter describing their preferred area of research and reasons for wishing to pursue it. Suitably qualified candidates will then be directed to complete the appropriate Brunel University on-line application.

Fellowship opportunities:

The CSSB is happy to consider supporting applications for fellowships with competitively qualified candidates. Those wishing to pursue this route should contact Professor Gilbert or Professor Saunders, as most appropriate for their research interests, in the first instance.

Faculty positions:

There are no faculty positions currently available. However, positions arise periodically within both Biosciences and SISCM, where applicants are sought with strategic and research interests which align with and complement existing strengths and areas of active research. Informal approaches and discussions are always welcome from people with interests in the general research area of Systems and Synthetic Biology.

Page last updated: Thursday 21 June 2012