Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Department of Statistics and the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics
University of Oxford

Closing Date: 30th July 2021

Grade 7: £32,817 – £40,322 p.a 

We invite applications for a PDRA to develop statistical methods to study differences in healthy phenotypes and disease risks between human populations, and apply these to Biobank-scale datasets. This work aims to develop improved approaches to genetic prediction of disease risk by combining information among groups and/or modelling the evolution of traits through time.

The post holder will develop methods to understand whether strong differences in identified genetic predictors in different human populations, and lack of transferability of polygenic scores among human groups, reflect mainly genetic or environmental differences. They will also map the origins of disease-causing rare variants in time, and at fine geographic scales for example within regions of the UK, in order to understand the applicability of rare variant discoveries to other regions or populations. Leveraging genealogical approaches previously developed within the group represents a natural start-point for this project, but it will also be essential to integrate functional information and to leverage large-scale data on both phenotypes and variation, for datasets incorporating a range of ancestries. The UK Biobank and Genomics England data, in which we have ongoing work, provide two important examples.

This position is based jointly within the Department of Statistics and the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics. The post holder will join Oxford’s leading genomics research community, and the project may involve international collaboration and potential visits to collaborating groups.

The successful candidate will hold or be close to completion of a PhD/DPhil in a relevant quantitative scientific discipline, for example statistics, machine learning, mathematics, statistical or population genetics, or related disciplines. They also should have experience in developing and applying novel statistical methods, and low-level programming. Experience in analysing high-dimensional datasets, for example in computational statistics, or machine learning, is highly desirable. They should have a strong interest in biological problems, genetics and/or genomics, but previous experience is not essential.

Queries about this post should be addressed to: Professor Simon Myers at

This post is fixed-term until 10 September 2023. Only applications received before 12.00 midday on 30 July 2021 will be considered. Interviews will be held on 25 August 2021.

For more information and to apply, click here.