Computational Research Assistant in Cancer Early Detection

University of Cambridge, UK is inviting applicants to apply for a postdoctoral position in genomics. Applications are welcome before November 25, 2018.

We are looking for a Computational Research Assistant to join our multidisciplinary team ( in the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme ( The successful candidate will work closely with experimental researchers, clinical colleagues and collaborating computational groups. Specifically, this role will involve the analysis of genomic sequencing data and the implementation of analysis workflows to facilitate clinical/translational testing of cancer early detection assays. This key role in our group will require teamwork and communication skills. Programming skills and a quantitative background are a must. Experience of high-performance computer environments and pipeline tools would be an advantage. The successful candidate will have a desire to contribute to multidisciplinary translational research through teamwork and self-motivation to develop analysis skills. A working knowledge of high throughput genomic data analysis, DNA methylation and/or rare-event detection would be an advantage.

Cancer survival rates are highest when diagnosed at an early stage, therefore we are developing sensitive, specific and minimally invasive tests that could inform the early detection and stratification of urological cancers. Our projects build on the results of large-scale molecular profiling studies [1] to implement targeted high-sensitivity genomic analyses of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) in liquid biopsies [2]. Molecular markers include recurrent genomic alterations [1,3] and epigenetic changes [4-5] that are specific features of early stage cancers. These studies generate large amounts of genome sequencing data and require bespoke analysis methods to identify rare events with high sensitivity and specificity.

There will be considerable scope for personal development in this post, through access to training courses, collaborative working with leading groups in the field and mentoring support. Effective coordination with colleagues and collaborators will be key in this role, as will innovative thinking to ensure the maximum impact in these multidisciplinary projects.

For informal inquiries or more information about the role please contact Dr Charlie Massie on

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 30 April 2021 in the first instance.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a security check. This appointment also requires a Research Passport application.

The closing date is 25th November 2018, with interviews to be confirmed.

Please ensure that you upload a covering letter and CV in the Upload section of the online application. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

Please include details of your referees, including email address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager.

[1] Wedge DC et al. Sequencing of prostate cancers identifies new cancer genes, routes of progression and drug targets. Nat Genet 2018; 50(5): 682-692. [2] Wan JC et al. Liquid biopsies come of age: towards implementation of circulating tumour DNA.

Nat Rev Cancer. 2017;17(4):223-238. [3] Armenia J et al. The long tail of oncogenic drivers in prostate cancer. Nat Genet 50(5): 645-651. [4] Massie CE, et al. HES5 silencing is an early and recurrent change in prostate tumourigenesis. ERC. 2015; 22(2):131-44. [5] Massie CE, Mills IG, Lynch AG. The importance of DNA methylation in prostate cancer development. JSBMB. 2016; pii:S0960-0760(16)30105-4.


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