Science Coordination & Community Engagement

Postdoctoral Fellow, Rare Disease Computational Biology

Postdoctoral Fellow, Rare Disease Computational Biology

At Sage Bionetworks, we believe that we can learn more by learning from each other. We develop and apply open practices to data-driven research for the advancement of human health. We are working to establish actionable biomedical observations through the reliable analysis and responsible sharing of representative data. By improving the way scientists collaborate and by increasing the reliability of research, we will improve human health.

Sage Bionetworks is recruiting qualified candidates for a two to three-year postdoctoral fellowship in computational approaches to study rare diseases like neurofibromatosis and schwannomatosis (NF), sponsored by the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF). This role has potential opportunities for future career progression at Sage Bionetworks. Computational research in NF poses challenges such as substantial disease heterogeneity and the limited availability of large public datasets. There are substantial opportunities in this field to rethink the types of computational methods that are used, as well as opportunities to use freshly-published and underutilized datasets. In this fellowship, the trainee will tackle these challenges and leverage these opportunities by leading collaborative, community-driven research studies that use public datasets generated by CTF-funded projects ( and other repositories.

Ideal candidates will have a computational biology background and have a desire to gain experience with rare disease (NF) research. The work is inherently collaborative; the position will work closely with scientists and engineers inside Sage and with external academic collaborators.

Learning objectives include: 

  • Uncovering new insights about rare disease by exploring of the landscape of NF data
  • Develop new connections with the rare disease, cancer, and scientific computing research communities
  • Gain experience integrating multimodal data (e.g., genomics, healthcare data, patient registry data)
  • Build analytical and data visualization skill sets
  • Become familiar with cloud computing, containerization, and workflow technologies
  • Collaborate with software developers, governance experts, data engineers at the intersection of biomedical research and technology
  • Gain experience in open science ethos, practices, tools
  • Develop scientific communication skills (e.g present work to experts in NF research community and conferences, writing pre-prints and publications)

What you’ll be doing:

  • Computational analysis of neurofibromatosis type 1, type 2, and/or schwannomatosis datasets (genomics, transcriptomics, other data types)
  • Developing and leading one or more open research projects that invite contributions from the research community (coordinating and designing community-based analyses of publicly-available NF datasets)
  • Engaging and coordinating the researchers participating in open research projects
  • Lead science communication efforts to disseminate information across research communities.
  • Work with bioinformatics engineers to identify or develop pipelines for data processing and analysis
  • Lead and contribute to manuscripts and grants
  • Serve as an expert mentor and organizer in rare disease community-driven hackathon events (e.g. Hack4Rare)

We’d love to hear from you if:

  • Computational biology & bioinformatics researcher looking to gain experience in rare disease
  • A graduate-level degree (PhD or MD) within the last seven years
  • Extensive experience using Python or R for  analyzing data and visualizing results
  • Experience analyzing ‘omics data, such as RNA-seq, methylation, or genomic sequencing, or other high-dimensionality data types
  • The candidate must be comfortable working as part of a team, be detail oriented, accurate, flexible, and possess strong analytical skills.
  • Effective and efficient communication skills for diverse audiences.
  • Demonstrable experience in writing clear, detailed scientific content.

Additional preferred qualifications:

  • Project management/leadership experience, preferably with scientific teams.
  • Knowledge of genomic data generation and analysis techniques.
  • Familiarity with and interest in analysis of electronic healthcare record datasets
  • Experience with Git
  • Experience contributing to open-source R or Python packages

About Children’s Tumor Foundation

The Children’s Tumor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding effective treatments for the millions of people worldwide living with neurofibromatosis (NF), a term for three distinct disorders: NF1, NF2, and Schwannomatosis. NF can cause tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and may lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities, and disabling pain. NF affects one in every 3,000 people, more than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s disease combined. The Children’s Tumor Foundation funds critical research into neurofibromatosis. In addition to benefiting those who live with NF, this research is shedding new light on several forms of cancer, brain tumors, bone abnormalities, and learning disabilities, ultimately benefiting the broader community.

About Sage Bionetworks

Sage Bionetworks is a nonprofit health research organization that was founded in Seattle in 2009. We use open practices that increase the reliability of scientific claims to speed the translation of science to medicine. We support responsible data sharing, objective evaluation of methods and results across researchers, and the empowerment of participants to be active partners in research. Sage is a 501c3 and is supported through a portfolio of competitive research grants, commercial partnerships, and philanthropic contributions. Sage embraces diversity, equity and inclusion. We offer a comprehensive benefits package, including relocation benefits, to bring the right talent to the team. We are based in Seattle, WA, and collaborate broadly throughout the world.

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