Postdoctoral fellow – Machine Learning for Biological Networks in Cancer

University College Dublin
Ireland Dublin 4 Belfield


The UCD Cancer Data lab ( at the Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research and the UCD School of Computer Science are recruiting postdoctoral fellows to work on machine learning approaches to predict synthetic lethal interactions in cancer.

Project Description:
Synthetic lethality, where one gene becomes essential in the presence of a mutation in another, has emerged as a promising approach by which we might identify new therapeutic targets for a variety of cancer associated mutations. Advances in genetic screening technologies, most notably CRISPR gene-editing, have enabled large-scale efforts to identify new synthetic lethal targets in cancer. However, testing all human gene pairs for synthetic lethality in even a single cell line is well beyond the field’s current capacity. Furthermore, it has become clear that synthetic lethal interactions are highly context-specific: a combination of genetic perturbations that is lethal in one cell type or genetic background may be well tolerated in another. The nature of this context-specificity and the factors that influence it are almost entirely unknown. However, such knowledge is critical both for identifying new synthetic lethal therapies and for anticipating resistance to such therapies. The overall goal of this project is to understand what factors contribute to the context-specificity of synthetic lethality in cancer and to develop machine learning models capable of predicting context-specific synthetic lethality. The fellow recruited for this role will primarily work on the machine learning side. Relevant recent work from our lab includes Lord et al, eLife (2020), De Kegel et al, Cell Systems (2021), and Tudose et al, bioRxiv (2023).


A PhD in bioinformatics / systems biology / genetics / computer science. The ideal candidate for these roles will have good programming and analytics skills and prior experience in the use of data-integration approaches to understand biology. Prior experience of cancer biology or genetic interactions is a plus, but certainly not a prerequisite for the roles.

Start date

As soon as possible

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted to the UCD Jobs Site ( using reference number 015822 by the closing date and time specified.

Closing date: 17:00hrs (local Irish time) on 25th April 2023


Colm Ryan