AstraZeneca (UK) seeks senior computational scientist

Full job posting on AstraZeneca website here:,0269488758&key=42174441&c=763656125471&pagestamp=seqrippclipulivnce

Business Area Research and Development
Specialism Innovative Medicines
Department Discovery Sciences Imed
Location Cambridge
Closing date for applications 16 June 2015

Function / Team / Location

The High Content Biology group, part of Discovery Sciences is a multidisciplinary research unit in R&D working on projects at the heart of contemporary drug discovery. A dynamic research group with a global remit, we develop phenotypic assays and high-content approaches to make significant contributions to projects across the AstraZeneca portfolio. The group is housed in world-class cellular and tissue imaging facilities and works to impact on multiple areas of drug discovery; drug target discovery and validation, early insight into compound toxicity and characterizing compound mode of action in disease relevant models.

We are seeking a talented, highly motivated informatician/scientific computing specialist to maintain and develop the scientific computing environment needed for cutting-edge high-content imaging and multivariate data analytics. The successful candidate will be an integral member of the department, working closely with bioscientists, image analysts and IS/IT support staff within and external to AstraZeneca to impact drug discovery. You will have opportunities to help shape the necessary scientific computing high-content infrastructure across AstraZeneca as well as identifying, validating and implementing innovative solutions to advance the field of bioimage informatics.

The role will be based in Cambridge, UK

Salary - Competitive

Candidate Focus & Challenge

The jobholder will be involved in all aspects of the high-content biology activities within the Discovery Sciences function and will specifically support the scientific computing requirements for imaging users across the department. The role encompasses the following accountabilities:

• To provide practical scientific, mathematical and computing expertise: Independently develop and implement approaches to manage and handle imaging data in accordance with AZ standards and guidelines. Ensure all projects are able to deliver required results, data, documentation and information.

• Day-to-day management of the data management and processing infrastructure to support high-content imaging applications. The image acquisition systems (including CellInsight, IXMicro, CV7000) produce many terabytes of information in the form of images and metadata so the design, implementation and management of the data and image informatics infrastructure is a key focus of the role. For this it would be useful for the jobholder to have experience of database management in Oracle or SQL and virtual computing environments.

• Day-to-day management of the computerised image analysis and data analysis systems based in the group. The image and data analysis systems include Definiens, Matlab, Metamorph, Cell Profiler, Columbus, GeneData, Spotfire, Pipeline pilot, KNIME and the statistical packages S+ and R. There will be the opportunity to work with dedicated image analysts and informaticians to develop unique image analysis algorithms and methods for visualisation, clustering and classification of multiparametric biological data.

• Proactively collaborate and liaise with key stakeholders internally to ensure solutions are aligned with AZ strategy and stakeholder requirements. Develop networks between scientists within AstraZeneca as well as with external academic and biotechnology collaborators. May be a key member of a collaboration or supervise an external scientist for AZ.

• To be an effective team member, of a multidisciplinary team of scientists and IT professionals involved in the development of advanced cell imaging and data analysis techniques to support drug discovery projects to meet their objectives. May lead such projects, scheduling work-plans such that objectives of the team are met. To conduct where appropriate in parallel more than one agreed area of work to agreed timelines.

• Contribute novel ideas and assist as an active member in team meetings helping to expand the remit, vision and evolution of High-Content Biology at AstraZeneca. Maintain an awareness of current developments in bioimage informatics and big data computing. Contribute to the overall scientific computing strategy for bioimage informatics at AZ.

• Produce reports on the development and progress of work, effectively presenting data and findings to key stakeholders at divisional and departmental levels. Achieve external scientific visibility through oral presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

• Where necessary, manage the deployment of hardware and software applications to the stakeholder or IT support organisations providing appropriate support to resolve any queries or problems. Deliver comprehensive and timely training to ‘end users’ providing appropriate reference material and training formats to ensure the smooth and successful deployment of the scientific computing platform.
Minimum Requirements - Education and Experience

Candidates should have a B.Sc., Masters or PhD in a relevant field (computer science, statistics, mathematics, informatics) with proven success in the field of informatics although candidates qualified in a biological subject with subsequent programming/analytical/bioinformatics skills would also be considered. We particularly encourage candidates with a passion for data management, infrastructure, big data analytics, image analysis, statistics, programming and oracle/SQL.

Deadline for applications is 16th June 2015

Skills & Capabilities

The following skills and experience are necessary to ensure success in the role:

• Scientific domain knowledge and ideally experience in one of the following areas: High content screening, biological microscopy, immunohistochemistry, pathology
• General knowledge of Biology and the Drug Discovery process is desirable but not essential
• Hands-on experience with laboratory equipment and associated IS/IT infrastructure including Thermo Scientific CellInsight, Molecular Devices ImageXpress Micro, Yokogawa CV7000, Essen IncuCyte and laboratory automation platforms would be an advantage
• The ideal candidate will have experience managing image repositories / databases, image processing environments and implementation skills, including Windows Server, Unix, Oracle PL/SQL, OMERO, Postgres.
• Proficiency in programming/scripting (e.g. Perl, Java, JavaScript, Excel VBA, Pipeline Pilot, R, C++, Python, Powershell), with skills in high-content data handling, manipulation and analysis is desirable to allow writing integrative code to enable new workflow development. Knowledge of image analysis, machine learning, computer vision and the associated multi-dimensional data analysis processes, issues and workflows would be beneficial.
• Experience with relevant software tools, such as Matlab, Definiens, GeneData, and experience of software development and project documentation. Skills for data processing and software development e.g. Java, .net and data pipelining tools (e.g. KNIME, pipeline pilot), statistical software packages
• Ability to curate, store and retrieve large datasets, familiarity with multidimensional data analytics and statistical analysis of complex data sets preferred. Knowledge of advanced computational techniques, numerical and combinatorial optimisation, high-dimensional data reduction, correction/normalisation methods and analysis would be an advantage
• Capable of scouting for scientific and technical developments in the field of bioimage informatics to invest in appropriate state-of-the-art platforms and help identify/evaluate potential external collaborators. Interface with biologists for requirements gathering, testing and training
• Excellent problem solving skills, not limited to own area of expertise
• Project management skills
• Scientific judgement and communication skills with proven ability to demonstrate technical content clearly and concisely to colleagues with a non-technical background
• First rate decision making skills, coupled with tenacity to see decisions through, even in situations of ambiguity.
• Excellent team working, communication and facilitation skills with experience of interacting effectively across interfaces of discipline, culture, and expertise. Ability to think beyond the boundaries of your own job and discipline, challenge the status quo and actively seek new opportunities.