The WashU Genome Center is hiring! Well, they’re almost always hiring, but one of the current open positions is in my group. So I thought I’d put the word out here on Massgenomics.
The basic requirements of the staff scientist position are outlined on the GC web site. We’re looking for someone with a degree (preferably graduate degree) and 4+ years of experience in computer science, biology, or a similar field. This person must have solid programming abilities, ideally in Perl. Most of these guidelines apply to just about any non-laboratory position at the GC, so they’re not terribly informative. Since we’re hiring someone in my group, however, I can probably offer some advice about what we’re looking for.
Our work centers around analysis. We develop, test, and apply algorithms for sequence analysis, mutation detection, and similar tasks. We work on several projects concurrently. As one of the big three genome centers in the U.S., we play a significant role in major initiatives like the Tumor Sequencing Project (TSP), the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), and the 1000 genomes project. Our analysis pipeline for traditional capillary-based resequencing is largely in place, so the focus is on next-gen technologies (Roche/454, Illumina/Solexa, ABI/Solid).
For this position, programming abilities are not the only requirement. Simply put, we’re looking for a scientist. This means that the strong candidate will have all three of the following:
- Technical skills. Experience with multiple programming languages including Perl. The experts here will test you and probably ask for some code samples. Familiarity with common bio-informatics tools like BLAST, BLAT, BioPerl, etc.
- Scientific rigor. Your CV should list publications in peer-reviewed journals, scientific meetings attended (with talks/posters given), etc. Be prepared to talk about them, and if things go well, to give a brief talk.
- An interest in biology. This will come across both in the CV and in the interviews. We’re looking for someone who’s self-motivated and passionate about biological questions.
There are some important realities about working in academia. First, it usually won’t make you a millionaire. Genome Technology’s annual salary survey will tell you that salaries are almost always higher in the private sector. However, pay at the GC is very competitive for an academic setting, and the benefits are excellent. Second, we’re proponents of open source and open access. I hope you know your way around Linux, because we only have one Windows workstation and it’s not allowed to access the internet.
It’s just my opinion, but I find this a pretty exciting and rewarding place to work. The GC early access to lots of new cutting-edge technologies. WashU consistently ranks in the top 5 for medical schools and the top 10 for biomedical research. I like to think that we tackle some of the biggest problems in biology and human genetics. If you’re interested, the instructions for applying are on the employment opportunities page.