Bioinformatician / Molecular Biologist job with Animal and Plant Health Agency

Bioinformatician/Molecular Biologist

Grade: HSO

New Haw

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and works on behalf of the Scottish Government and Welsh Government. Our diverse teams of over 2,000 skilled and committed professionals come together to safeguard animal and plant health for the benefit of our environment, and the economy.

The Department of Bacteriology, Bacterial Characterisation group is looking for a Bioinformatician/Molecular biologist to work on an exciting new project in the One-Health European Joint Programme (OH-EJP) project FARMED (Fast Antimicrobial Resistance and Mobile-Element Detection using metagenomics for animal and human on-site tests).  Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major threat to both human and animal health; current AMR (and pathogen) detection is primarily reliant on classical culturing techniques, which may be slow, thus new tools for real-time detection of resistant pathogens is vital to empower veterinarians with knowledge to apply the most appropriate actions. The project aims to develop rapid on-site and real-time metagenomics sequence analysis methods, independent of culture techniques, to facilitate rapid diagnosis and interventions.   

We are seeking a bioinformatician/molecular biologist to join the AMR and virulence characterisation team to work on this innovative project. The successful candidate will establish rapid on-site DNA extraction methods from metagenomic samples, develop protocols for long-read DNA sequencing using the Oxford Nanopore Technology MinION, and enhance the development and application of bioinformatics to define the bacterial community and detect AMR genes with the microbiome and resistome.  The post-holder will have work-package management responsibilities within FARMED, liaising closely with line managers/project leaders, and will be required to meet targets for delivery of work, project milestones and produce publications. The post holder is expected to work collaboratively and contribute their expertise to expand the capability of bacterial molecular characterisation at APHA. The successful applicant will enjoy and thrive working within a multidisciplinary team.

We are looking for applicants with PhDs in Bioinformatics, Molecular Microbiology or a related discipline together with experience of whole genome and/or metagenomic sequence analysis.  It is highly desirable that applicants have python/perl/R or other programming expertise in a Unix/Linux environment. Applications are invited from enthusiastic, self-motivated, with excellent verbal and written communication skills, and have excellent data management skills as well as good analytical capabilities.

The Weybridge site is a strategically important national asset due to its role as a reference laboratory supporting the Government’s response to national emergencies including disease outbreaks. For this reason all post holders based at the APHA Weybridge site must hold a valid Counter Terrorist Check (CTC) security clearance or above. It is up to each person applying for a post at APHA Weybridge to ensure they meet the CTC residency criteria. Applicants must be currently resident in the UK & have between 3 to 10 years continuous UK residency depending on the level of security required.

Inclusion, support and the development of our people matter to us. We aim to support the career and personal wellbeing of everyone in APHA. Our benefits include generous annual leave, a contributory pension, staff bonuses and recognition, salary sacrifice benefit options, and an employee discount scheme. We also offer flexible working.

Apply before 11:55 pm on Monday 6th September 2021.

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