RESEARCH ASSOCIATE IN GENETIC EPIDEMIOLOGY (MENDELIAN RANDOMIZATION) AT THE K.G. JEBSEN CENTER FOR GENETIC EPIDEMIOLOGY, NTNU, TRONDHEIM, NORWAY

 

The collaboration between the K.G. Jebsen Center for Genetic Epidemiology at the Department of Public Health and Nursing, NTNU and the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol are jointly announcing a Post Doctoral Fellow or Researcher position. This is a 3 year temporary position.
 
The candidate is expected to spend 2 years of the position at the K. G. Jebsen Center for Genetic Epidemiology at ISM, NTNU, and 1 year of the position at the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit in Bristol, UK. For more information, see www.ntnu.edu/huntgenes and www.bristol.ac.uk/integrative-epidemiology/. For information about the department, see www.ntnu.edu/ism.
 
Specific responsibilities
The focus of this research is on Mendelian randomization studies, utilizing large-scale array based genotyping data combined with comprehensive health registries to examine causal associations of modifiable exposures. We are interested in candidates with a strong interest in the field of causal epidemiology.
 
Successful candidates will be responsible for both the application and development of new methodologies in Mendelian randomization using information from large population-based cohorts available to the K.G. Jebsen Center for Genetic Epidemiology. This includes genotype data on more than 70,000 individuals linked with comprehensive health information from both local and national health registries such as information from hospitals, primary care, the birth registry, the death registry and the prescription registry.
 
More specifically, we see exciting opportunities for between-sibling and intergenerational Mendelian randomization, Mendelian randomization of health-related behaviours, multivariable Mendelian randomization, and automatization of bi-directional Mendelian randomization. Mendelian randomization using genetic variation in known drug target genes for information on efficiency and safety of pharmaceutical therapies is a central area of interest.
 
The work will focus on the following issues:
 
(1) Between-sibling Mendelian randomization: conventional MR can be biased due to dynastic effects, such that genetic variants are inherited along with aspects of the parental environment including genotypically influenced effects on the environment. Between-sibling analyses do not suffer from these potential biases. We will conduct a series of analyses which compare conventional MR approaches to between-sibling approaches in the same database, and provide some empirical estimates on the extent to which such a bias may exist across a wide range of phenotypic domains.
(2) Mendelian randomization of health-related behaviours: coffee consumption, alcohol and smoking behaviours are tractable to MR approaches and these will be extended beyond the outcomes that have already been examined in relation to smoking in the HUNT studies with smaller genotyped samples and only a single genetic variant
(3) Mendelian randomization of drug target effects: MR approaches utilizing genetic variation in drug target genes will be used to evaluate efficiency and safety of pharmaceutical therapies, and to separate specific drug target effects from effects of downstream phenotypes. Factorial MR will be used as an analogue to factorial trials to evaluate effects of combining drugs. MR analyses across subgroups will be used to predict generalizability of treatment responses. 
(4) Intergenerational Mendelian randomization: the influence of maternal and paternal characteristics on their offspring will be examined in the parent-offspring dyads and triads available in HUNT, with a focus on behaviours and physiological factors (e.g. blood lipids). For the latter effects seen with maternal but not paternal genotype could indicate effects of maternal intrauterine environment.
(5) Multivariable Mendelian randomization: the application of newly developed methods that allow use of multiple genetic variants to assess the potential effects of pleiotropy and separate effects of correlated phenotypes when some variants influence more than one phenotype will be applied to a variety of specific issues, such as body mass index and mental health, inflammatory markers and cardiovascular risk factors/disease, and educational outcomes and health trajectories.
(6) Bi-directional Mendelian randomization: applying MR in both directions can strengthen inference and where possible this will be applied and methods further developed in the above settings.
(7) Methodological investigations of Mendelian randomization: methodological issues, ranging from the influence of assortative mating in the MR context through to new sensitivity analysis approaches (e.g. the mode estimator) will be interrogated. 
 
Qualifications
Successful applicants must hold a doctorate in a relevant field for the position, such as epidemiology, medicine, genetics, and biostatistics. The applicants will primarily be assessed on their documented scholarly achievements.
Emphasis will also be placed on personal aptitude. It is important that applicants have good collaborative skills, and have the ability to work across traditional disciplinary boundaries.
Successful candidates are highly motivated and exhibit a commitment to build a career path within genetic epidemiology. In addition, successful candidates must demonstrate fluent English language skills as this is our day-to-day working language.
The position will include structured mentorship and support for applying for additional funds.
 
Specific requirements
Considerable and relevant expertise in the fields of genetic epidemiology and statistics will be weighted. Competitive applicants will have experience with statistical software (R, Stata, SAS or equivalent). Demonstrated scientific creativity, insight in medicine and molecular biology, and familiarity with population based high-throughput genotyping is an advantage.
 

General information

We offer:
Š Challenging and stimulating work and a good work environment
Š Good pension, insurance and loan schemes in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
 
Depending on qualifications and academic background, Post-doctoral (1352) candidates at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences will be remunerated at wage levels 57-60 on the Norwegian State salary scale, with gross salary from NOK 489 300  -  NOK 516 000 per year, of which 2 % is deducted for the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund. Researcher (1109) is remunerated at wage levels 57 -  77 on the Norwegian State salary scale, with gross salary from NOK 489 300 -  720 000, normally remunerated at wage levels 57 -  66 (NOK 489 399 -  NOK 577 400) of which 2 % is deducted for the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.
 
The appointment will be made in accordance with current regulations and supplementary rules with guidelines for employment as PhD candidate appointments at universities and university colleges.
 NTNU is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applicants from both EU/EEA and non-EU countries. The university is strongly committed to diversity within its community and welcomes applications from members of ethnic minorities. Chosen applicants will be invited to undergo an interview.
 
How to apply:
Applications are to be submitted electronically through Jobbnorge website by 30th September 2017: https://www.jobbnorge.no/ledige-stillinger/stilling/141362 
 
 
For further information about the position, please contact: 
Professor Bjørn O. Åsvold, Responsible for Mendelian randomization, K.G. Jebsen Center for Genetic Epidemiology, Telephone: +47 92466240 or Email: bjorn.o.asvold@ntnu.no

 

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