Research Officer-Molecular Biology and Genomics

Reference Number: 
Employment Type: 
Full time
Statistics and Epidemiology
Job Grade: 

To work on the NIHR-funded Global Health Research Group “Application of Genomics and Modelling to the Control of Virus Pathogens in East Africa – GeMVi.”



  • GeMVi Director.
  • The Bioinformatics PDRA.


  • None.


  • None.


The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Collaborative Research Programme (KWTRP) researches diseases with the highest burden in developing countries for which it is recognised internationally within the fields of international public health, clinical tropical medicine, epidemiology and immunology. The programme aims to maximise opportunities for learning and training in order to maintain a cadre of highly skilled and experienced staff from all disciplines.

The goal of the GeMVi project is to improve capacity for response to endemic, epidemic and pandemic viral disease in East Africa. To do this GeMVi will focus on the application of whole genome sequence (WGS) data and predictive models to support intervention decisions. It will extend and enhance the collaboration between KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme and University of Warwick and create a network of research centres in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Technical advances in the integration of genome sequence data and models of infectious disease transmission will be made.

The position will be based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme but will work collaboratively with Zeeman Institute for Systems Biology and Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research (SBIDER) and with the GeMVi partner institutions (UVRI in Uganda and KCRI Tanzania). The candidate will be expected to support the molecular diagnostics, sequencing and bioinformatics aspects of the project for a range of viral pathogens relevant to human health including for example, rabies, measles, rotavirus, and a range of respiratory, arbo and enteric viruses.



  • To implement, optimize and troubleshoot viral pathogen sequencing protocols by providing both wet-lab and basic sequence analysis support
  • To provide molecular diagnostic screening for a range of virus targets of human health importance.
  • To manage and update sample flows through the molecular diagnostic pipeline
  • To assemble viral sequence contigs/genomes from the raw sequencing reads
  • To perform preliminary phylogenetic analyses and produce and present the results
  • To contribute to development of scientific manuscripts


  • To participate in the training of East African research fellows in molecular diagnostics and screening so as to help them develop skills in laboratory diagnostics and genomics necessary to generate informed policy.
  • To provide advice and supervise junior colleagues and research fellows as necessary.

Administration and Other Activities

  • The duties and responsibilities outlined are not intended to be an exhaustive list but to provide guidance on the main aspects of the job.  You will be required to be flexible in your duties.


  • An MSc degree in Molecular Biology or Biotechnology or Bioinformatics (including those pending graduation)
  • A Bachelors degree in a relevant field.
  • Evidence of relevant experience
  • Practical working knowledge of PCR, DNA sequencing and other nucleic acid manipulations.
  • Capability and practical skills in genome assembly and phylogenetic analysis of sequence data.
  • Familiarity with viral molecular diagnostics and sequencing including both short and long-read sequencing.
  • Ability to plan their workload and keep accurate scientific records. The candidate will be expected to organize their work to changing priorities.


  • Knowledge and capability in programming for bioinformatics e.g. Shell scripting, R or Julia, Python or Ruby, C/C++ would be an added advantage. 
  • Experience in creating bioinformatics workflows.
  • Excellent communications and interpersonal skills.
  • Evidence of ability to work independently


  • Based at the KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya but flexible to travel to other partner institutions
  • Be available to work out of hours if necessary.
  • Exposure to materials considered infectious and/or biohazards.


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All applicants are required to state their current/last salary.

Candidates must supply an email and telephone contact that will be used when offering interviews.  Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Shortlisted candidates shall be required to produce ORIGINALS of their National Identity Card, academic and professional certificates, original transcripts and testimonials, detailed curriculum vitae and valid clearance certificate (certificate of good conduct) during the interviews. 

The application closing date is 22 July, 2019. 

 KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) is an equal opportunity employer. Direct or indirect canvassing will lead to automatic disqualification.  KWTRP does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, processing, training or any other fees).