Dr. Nicholas Schork, Director of Quantitative Medicine at TGen, seeks a creative, independent, and highly motivated researcher interested in developing and applying novel and comprehensive quantitative methods for understanding and characterizing the genetic and molecular determinants of human longevity and longevity enhancement, through cross-species comparative genomes. Dr. Schork is one of the two principal investigators (PIs) for the NIA-funded longevity consortium, whose goal is to characterize the genetic basis of human longevity, and a co-PI on another NIA-funded consortium grant to identify genetic targets for longevity-enhancing interventions. Dr. Schork is also a PI for the Animal Cancer Foundation-funded canine cancer genomics consortium, with a goal to characterize the parallels of cancer mutations in canine and humans, and to improve therapeutic options for human and pet patients. The methods, analyses, and tools to be developed will leverage these connections, but go beyond them, in developing bioinformatic and biostatical analysis methods to identify genetic longevity-enhancing intervention and cancer-associated targets, and designing studies to test their effects.
Brief Professional Activities Description
The Bioinformatic Engineer will have the opportunity to perform cross-species comparative analysis of longevity-associated vertebrate genomes, identify evolutionarily conserved sequence features, and investigate germline/somatic mutation drivers for canine-human comparative oncology analysis. TGen provides a very collaborative environment that includes basic scientists, computational and quantitative scientists, biomedical technology developers and clinicians, including those at TGen's affiliated institution, the City of Hope National Medical Center in East Los Angeles, as well as its many other partner institutions.
There is tremendous interest in the identification of factors that affect human longevity and potential interventions that enhance human
longevity. Unfortunately, human longevity is a complex, multifactorial phenotype with a number of interacting genetic and non-genetic determinants. Characterizing the factors influencing longevity will be difficult since the effect of any one factor can be obscured by the effects of others. As a result, more sophisticated and integrated approaches are needed. This is true for both the identification and characterization of longevity-enhancing factors and testing longevity-enhancing interventions that target these factors. A research challenge will be to develop reliable techniques for mining data relevant to genetically-mediated factors (for example, from genome-wide association studies focusing on longevity) and cross-species studies to identify better longevity-enhancing intervention targets, as well as methods to test interventions that exploit those targets. In this context, the proposed activity and research will involve:
- Performing cross-species comparative analysis of vertebrate genomes including human, canine, and other species
- Identifying evolutionarily conserved genes/proteins, functional elements, non-coding sequences, through orthology, synteny, and pangenome approaches
- Identifying germline and somatic mutation drivers, coding and non-coding, and mutation signatures in canine cancers
- Performing canine-human comparative oncology analysis and identifying therapeutic targets
- Presenting findings on cross-species comparative genomics and canine cancer at major conferences and in peer-reviewed publications
TGen has access to resources (such as one of the largest and fastest computing systems in the world, a large phase I clinical trial center, genomic and other omic assay-oriented labs) that can be leveraged in the proposed research. In addition, the development of the proposed strategies and methods will likely have a broad, international impact, given the amount of attention human longevity research is receiving, so the research to be pursued will be highly visible and competitive, and as a result could propel the career of an independently-minded researcher looking to make an indelible impact on a biomedical science and humanity in general.
- M.Sc. in Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Systems Biology, Computational or Quantitative Biology, Biostatistics, Statistics, Applied Mathematics, or a related field.
- Computer programming, R and other statistical analysis packages, and scripting languages skills
- Demonstrated 5+ years of experience in genomics and NGS long/short read sequencing technologies
- Experience with large biological data sets
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills, willingness to work in collaborative settings
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About Our Organization
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, and diabetes, through cutting edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research towards patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and rare complex diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities literally worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. TGen is allied with City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and cancer and diabetes treatment center. This precision medicine alliance enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen.