Lead Research Data Scientist in Omics @ AstraZeneca

December 22, 2019

Research Data Science lead for Omics, AstraZeneca R&D, Oncology

Boston US / Cambridge UK


As part of AstraZeneca’s Data and AI transformation, we have an exciting opportunity to take a leading role in a new team committed to pushing the boundaries of Oncology R&D by building advanced algorithms and AI to harness knowledge, genomic and phenomic data.  The team will take full advantage of big data initiatives at AstraZeneca such as knowledge graph builds, NGS and longitudinal ctDNA profiling of thousands of patients in our trials, multi-omics and single cell initiatives, investment in a Functional Genomics Center and membership of consortia like the UK Biobank and DepMap.  By developing algorithms to read richer insight from our genomic and phenotypic data, this team will build a fuller understanding of the complexities of cancer biology to drive discovery of a new generation of cancer targets and precision medicines.


Minimum Requirements:

  • A graduate degree (e.g. Masters or PhD) in a quantitative discipline (Applied Mathematics, Physics, Machine Learning, Computational Statistics or similar).
  • Programming proficiency esp. Python and R
  • 5 or more years of relevant work experience, including full time industry experience or post-doctoral research.
  • Extensive experience applying advanced analytical techniques to complex data problems, multi-modal data and knowledge, with particular strength in either:
    • Probabilistic models e.g. Bayesian networks, Gaussian processes 
    • Machine learning including deep learning
  • Expert in analysis and deriving actionable insight from NGS and other ‘omic data types.
  • A deep understanding of the molecular drivers of human diseases, and ideally oncology or, drug discovery
  • Experienced project manager with proven ability to mentor and motivate teams..
  • An ability to influence leadership across disciplines, and direct scientific and technical strategy.
  • Well networked across relevant data science and scientific communities.
  • Skilled in effective communication of complex data and methods to a non-expert
  • An excellent publication track record.
  • Comfortable with networked and cloud-based systems, FAIR data practices, and graph data representations.
  • Attractive but not essential to have experience with graph techniques, reinforcement learning, transfer learning, machine attention, active learning,


About the job


The Oncology Disease Data Science team focus on harnessing data science and AI for genomics, phenomics and knowledge graphs, and is part of a larger Computational Oncology group including Bioinformatics and Production Informatics.  Data Scientists work in our drug project teams alongside biomedical scientists to provide end-to-end analysis and solutions across the drug discovery pipeline, contributing directly towards patient-benefit.  Through advanced analyses of public and proprietary clinical and pre-clinical NGS and multi-omic data, you will discover and drive new hypotheses into our portfolio.  As part of our burgeoning data science and AI community this team will transform early R&D, surfacing novel insights to improve our understanding of oncology disease, patients, targets, experiments and drug response.


As a data science lead in the team, you will be motivated by the power of data and AI to transform how we discover new therapies.  You will apply your skills and innovation to:

  • Work alongside domainexperts to identify opportunities for impact and maximize value to drug project teams.
  • Lead, coach and supervise a team of 3 data scientists to establish approaches that develop interpretable probabilistic learning, machine learning and AI techniques to:
    • Uncover targets and biomarkers by enriching actionable feature detection from NGS and ‘omic data modalities.
    • Capture causal relationships across multi-omic and single cell data to derive a new understanding of disease and drug activity.
    • Predict patient outcome, tumor evolution and drug resistance.
  • Influence Computational Oncology and cross-functional leadership teams to define priorities, project alignment and direction, maintain awareness of the state-of-the-art.
  • Influence investment in data generation or licensing, via articulation of the vision and impact on the drug R&D pipeline to senior stakeholders.
  • Direct development of end:end solutions by collaborating with phenomics and knowledge graph initiatives, IT data foundation projects, data and graph engineers, bioinformaticians, and visual analytics experts.
  • Educate the AZ scientific community to recognize opportunities for AI and adopt a FAIR data-first culture, including engagement in active and reinforcement learning.
  • Collaborate with the burgeoning Data Science and AI community across AZ to benchmark best practices and maximize impact, sharing code and peer insight.
  • Grow our external reputation by publishing innovative methodologies and scientific discoveries.


AI @ AstraZeneca


We have exciting opportunities for people passionate about the power of data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a catalyst for change.


At AstraZeneca, we are united by a common purpose: to push the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines. Our work helps to make hearts healthier, helps people breathe easier, and helps more people survive cancer. Every single day, we make a difference by delivering potentially life-changing medicines to millions of people worldwide. 


A significant investment in state-of-the-art data science and AI is at the forefront of our AZ2025 innovation program.  This will include assembly of teams to deliver a FAIR science data foundation, AI-augmented drug design, and data science led biological insights.  As part of this initiative you will support us in positioning AstraZeneca at the forefront of drug discovery, developing techniques to augment and transform how we discover and develop new medicines in future.


Apply today to be part of something extraordinary.

  • AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines for some of the world’s most serious diseases. But we're more than one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. At AstraZeneca, we're proud to have a unique workplace culture that inspires innovation and collaboration. Here, employees are empowered to express diverse perspectives - and are made to feel valued, energized and rewarded for their ideas and creativity.


  • To be considered for this exciting opportunity, please complete the full application on our website at your earliest convenience – it is the only way that our Recruiter and Hiring Manager can know that you feel well qualified for this opportunity.  If you know someone who would be a great fit, please share this posting with them.




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AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity.  We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills.  We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be.  We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics.  We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements.