Research Fellow in Computational Sciences for Infectious Diseases

University of Melbourne
Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology
Australia VIC Melbourne


We are seeking a highly motivated Research Fellow to join Prof. Matthew McKay and Dr. Syed Faraz Ahmed to assist with research projects related to following grants:

NHMRC Ideas Grant, Using Big Data to Engineer Highly Immunogenic Hepatitis C Virus Envelopes for the Induction of Broad Neutralising Antibodies
ARC Discovery Grant, Engineering Methods for Resolving Complex Mutational Networks in Proteins
The first project looks at using data science methods to rationally design vaccines for HCV and the second project looks at developing computational platforms to understand the complex mutational patterns that underpin virus protein evolution.

The appointee will be a member of a team focused on employing computational approaches/machine learning/data science to understand viral infectious diseases, their evolution, and to design next-generation vaccines and therapies. The team is computationally focused and works with experimental virologists and immunologists in the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (where Prof McKay is jointly appointed in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology), as well as with other national and international collaborators. Recent scientific contributions of the group include guiding the development of commercial COVID-19 vaccines and commercial products for measuring human immune responses.

The appointee will contribute to a program involving the development of computational models and bioinformatics platforms to identify immune targets for viral pathogens including Hepatitis C virus, SARS-CoV-2, and future pandemic threats. The platforms will be used to design vaccine strategies for eliciting targeted T cell responses and/or inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies. The successful candidate will work under the direction of Prof McKay and Dr Syed Faraz Ahmed and will work closely with computational and experimental collaborators.

Responsibilities include:

Independently planning and carrying out research on the nominated research project and working towards completion of the aims of the project
Be responsible for qualitative and statistical analysis of research data
Identifying sources of funding to support individual or collaborative projects, relating to teaching, research and engagement practice in the discipline
Contributing to teaching, training, scientific mentoring and supervision of students


To be successful in this role you will exhibit a strong willingness to engage in multidisciplinary research, and an ability to apply novel computational solutions for addressing key virological/immunological questions. You will be expected to have a strong technical and computing background; relevant biological knowledge is a plus, but not essential. (A keen willingness and passion to learn relevant biology/immunology concepts is essential, however.) You will have excellent written and verbal communication skills, demonstrated by presentation of research results at conferences, internal forums and through manuscript submissions.

You will also have:

A PhD, or near completion of PhD, in electrical engineering or computer science, or in other relevant technical fields including computational biology, bioinformatics, biophysics, statistics, mathematics, genetics
A record of quality research in relevant fields, as evidenced by publications in leading journals and at conferences commensurate with opportunity
Demonstrated experience with one or more high-level programming languages, e.g., Python, R, Matlab
Demonstrated capacity to communicate research concepts to technical and non-technical audiences

Start date

As soon as possible

How to Apply

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