Bioinformatics Developer


Key information

  • Location: EMBL-EBI Hinxton
  • Staff category: Staff Member - Science, research and training
  • Contract duration: 3 years (renewable)
  • Grading: Grade 5 or 6 (starting at £2,738 - £3,063 after tax per month)
  • Closing date: 28 August 2020
  • Reference number: EBI01660

Continue reading for more information about this position, or apply now.




About this position

We are seeking a highly motivated bioinformatics developer to help expand comparative genomics resources in Ensembl (www.ensembl.org), a world-leading provider of genomics data, infrastructure and tools.

The Earth Biogenome Project (https://www.earthbiogenome.org) aims to coordinate the sequencing, assembly and annotation of the genomes of all known species on the planet.  This will provide unprecedented molecular-level insights into evolution and biodiversity, and for the first time we will be able to study the genomics of whole ecosystems. Ensembl will provide a platform for the annotation and comparison of these genomes. 

You will join the Ensembl comparative genomics team whose work spans computational biology, software development, large-scale compute, big data, workflow management and automation. We collaborate with consortia and communities from all over the world to compare an ever-increasing number of genomes and infer their evolutionary history.

As part of the team, you will collaboratively develop high-throughput methods and pipelines that will enable Ensembl to grow to supporting tens-of-thousands of genomes in the next 5 years.

Your role

You will develop, maintain and deploy large-scale analysis workflows in the areas of gene-level and genome-level alignment and phylogeny, working closely with collaborators and keeping up-to-date with scientific research in the field. Specific responsibilities will include:

  • Developing, maintaining and deploying pipelines for producing
    • whole-genome multiple sequence alignments
    • gene-level homology and evolutionary trees 
  • Coordinating analysis and delivery of comparative genomics data and resources as part of the Ensembl release cycle
  • Maintaining and developing the comparative genomics infrastructure (databases and APIs)
  • Proposing and implementing innovative infrastructure and algorithmic solutions to enable Ensembl to scale to tens-of-thousands of genomes

You have

You should have a post-graduate qualification (MSc, PhD or equivalent) in computational biology or bioinformatics, and should have practical experience working with genomic data. Specifically, we are looking for:

  • Proficiency with at least one programming language (e.g. Perl, Python)
  • Proficiency with relational databases and SQL
  • Ability to understand, write and maintain complex code
  • Experience working with a compute clusters
  • Understanding of biological sequence analysis techniques and tools 
Problem-solving skills and attention to detail are critical aspects of this role. You should also be comfortable with communicating your ideas both orally in writing, and have the ability to manage time and keep to deadlines. 

You might also have

Experience with the following will be considered a plus:

  • Developing software for commercial cloud platforms (e.g. Amazon or Google)
  • NoSQL databases (e.g. document stores)
  • Biological applications of machine learning

Why join us

At EMBL-EBI, we help scientists realise the potential of ‘big data’ in biology by enabling them to exploit complex information to make discoveries that benefit mankind.

Working for EMBL-EBI gives you an opportunity to apply your skills and energy for the greater good.

As part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), we are a non-profit, intergovernmental organisation funded by 27 member states and two associate member states.

We are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK, and our 850 staff are engineers, technicians, scientists and other professionals from all over the world.

EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme and health insurance, educational and other family related benefits where applicable, as well as financial support for relocation and installation. . For more information about pay and benefits click here

We have an informal culture, international working environment and excellent professional development opportunities but one of the really amazing things about us is the concentration of technical and scientific expertise – something you probably won’t find anywhere else.

If you’ve ever visited the campus you’ll have experienced first-hand our friendly, collegial and supportive atmosphere, set in the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. Our staff also enjoy excellent sports facilities including a gym, a free shuttle bus, an on-site nursery, cafés and restaurant and a library.

What else you need to know

To view a copy of the full job description please click here

To apply please submit a covering letter and CV through our online system. Applications are welcome from all nationalities and this will continue after Brexit. For more information please see our website. Visa information will be discussed in more depth with applicants selected for interview.

3 year staff member contract renewable up to 9 years of service.

EMBL-EBI is committed to achieving gender balance and strongly encourages applications from women, who are currently under-represented at all levels.

Appointment will be based on merit alone.

Applications will close at 23:00 GMT on the date listed above.


Join EMBL and you’ll join a community of world-class researchers and skilled professionals working together to uncover the secrets of life.

We offer attractive conditions and benefits to attract and retain the brightest talent. Learn more.

One laboratory. Six locations. Global reach.

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is a single organisation spread across six European locations. Each of our sites hosts its own research units, services and facilities.

EMBL is Europe’s leading life sciences laboratory.

EMBL seeks to better understand the molecular basis of life. In the process, we’re changing European science.