Job:Postdoctoral Researcher in statistical analyses and modelling of drug combination data (ERC funding)
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jing.tang • 0
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Postdoctoral Researcher in statistical analyses and modelling of drug combination data

Description:  The Quantitative Systems Pharmacology research group led by Dr. Jing Tang focuses on mathematical and statistical tools to tackle biomedical questions that may potentially lead to breakthroughs in drug discovery. We are developing network pharmacology methods aiming at a systems-level understanding of how cancer signalling pathways can be inhibited by synergistic and selective drug combinations through multi–target perturbations. These methods offer an improved efficiency to identify more effective and safe cancer treatments for personalized medicine.

The open position is part of the ERC funded project DrugComb in the field of computational drug combination discovery research. The advances of high-throughput screening techniques have enabled the assaying of a large collection of chemical compounds that allow us to measure the degree of drug interactions at multiple doses. A drug combination is usually classified as synergistic or antagonistic, depending on the deviation of the observed combination response from the expected effect calculated based on a null model of non-interaction. We have recently developed mathematical models and tools for characterization of drug interactions in high-throughput drug combination data [Ianevski et al. 2017, Bioinformatics, 33, 2413-15; Yadav et al. 2015, Comput. Struct. Biotechnol. J. 13, 504-13]. However, there is a lack of formal statistical testing methods for quantifying the significance of drug interactions [Tang et al. 2015, Front. Pharmacol. 6, 181]. The successful candidate will be mainly involved in the development of statistical testing and modelling approaches to assess the significance and reliability of the drug combination experimental data. This would greatly facilitate the interpretability and replicability of potential drug combination hits that warrant follow-up mechanistic investigations. Furthermore, the statistical modelling approaches should be extended for more complex experimental designs to access the drug interactions at the single-cell or cell subpopulation levels. This will help identify synergistic drug combinations that inhibit only the cancer cell subpopulations while incurring minimal effects on healthy cells.

Qualification and experience:  The postdoctoral researcher will be jointly responsible for driving the projects and supervising PhD students in an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment. A successful candidate is expected to have a doctoral degree in a suitable subject (statistics, computational biology or other relevant fields). Strong statistical skills are required. Experience in solving data-intensive problems through close collaborations with life scientists will be an advantage. A strong motivation to develop software tools for the science community is highly appreciated.

Salary & contract:   A two year contract is available for the position, starting as soon as possible, with a possibility for extension pending successful review. The salary will be commensurate with qualifications based on the Finnish university salary (YPJ) system depending on the credentials, previous experience and performance of the postdoctoral researcher.


How to apply:  The application deadline is 27.10.2017 at 16.00 EEST. Applications are submitted by completing the application form and submitting a CV and a cover letter as a single PDF file (max 5 pages) in English at: Review of applications will begin after the close of the call and applicants will be notified of the results of the preliminary review by mid-November.

For further information about the position, please visit our website at or contact Jing Tang. For questions about the FIMMPOD programme, please contact the FIMMPOD coordinator Milla Kibble.


Useful links:

Online application form for the 2017 FIMMPOD Annual Call

FIMMPOD Postdoctoral and Senior Researcher Program

FIMM Research

University of Helsinki Research

The International Staff Office of the University of Helsinki


The Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) is an international research institute focusing on human genomics and personalised medicine at the Helsinki Institute for Life Science of the University of Helsinki. FIMM integrates molecular medicine research, technology centre and biobanking infrastructures under one roof, promoting translational research in grand challenge projects, specifically, the impact of genome information from the Finnish population in personalised health and medicine, individualised cancer medicine, and digital molecular medicine. FIMM is part of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, composed of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the centres for molecular medicine in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and the EU-LIFE Community.

FIMM offers postdoctoral researchers an internationally recognised and unique biomedical research environment with an exciting combination of basic and translational research.  Situated in the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Helsinki, FIMM operates within and surrounded by national Centres of Excellence of the Academy of Finland, a Nordic Centre of Excellence, research programmes of the Faculty of Medicine, as well as numerous ongoing clinical trials.  Researchers at FIMM are able to work closely with the hospital as well as other institutes and departments of the University.

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