Open position: lab coordinator

We’re searching for a new HHMI administrative lab coordinator. Michelle Merry is leaving us to take a great new position at a startup company down in Kendall Square; we expect her to be running the place. Her last day is May 14, so we’re hoping to find our new lab coordinator quickly.

It’s a part-time, 20hr/wk position, afternoons each weekday. Though part-time, it qualifies for full HHMI employee benefits. If you’re interested, or if you know of someone who might be interested, more information is at the HHMI job applications website here, and at LinkedIn here, or you can contact me directly.

’tis the season

Harvard’s Quantitative Biology Initiative is searching for a new tenure-track assistant professor. This is a broad search — we don’t have any particular focus areas in mind. We are interested in people studying fundamental biological questions using quantitative, computational, theoretical, or experimental methods. The Initiative emphasizes cross-departmental interaction among our life sciences departments (including Molecular & Cellular Biology, MCB; Stem Cell  & Regenerative Biology, SCRB; and Organismic & Evolutionary Biology, OEB) and our Physics, Statistics, and Chemistry departments, as well as our areas in our School of Engineering including Computer Science and Applied Math.

Ads are out now in the usual places, including Times Higher Education, Science, and LinkedIn. To apply, see

I’m on the search committee, a member of the MCB and Applied Math departments, and I’m happy to answer questions either here or by email.

I’d like to personally emphasize that a lot of what I hear about Harvard faculty searches isn’t true. I do read your application and your papers; I’m perfectly happy to read a bioRxiv preprint, and I don’t count your publications or your C/N/S papers or your citations at all. I want to recruit people from anywhere, not just from Boston or the Ivy League or the elite coasts; I grew up in rural Western Pennsylvania and I’d be happy to have some more people from coal mining towns here at Harvard, or indeed from anywhere else. Search committees here are taught about implicit bias, and we take steps to reduce  implicit biases against women and minority candidates. Harvard does have a tenure track, has for years (unlike when I came up through the system), and junior faculty are supported and mentored. We have on-campus childcare, family-friendly policies, and we work hard to make two-body spousal hires work.

I strongly, strongly encourage you to apply, and not to take yourself out of our candidate pool because you think that Harvard’s not going to look at your application for some cynical elitish reason you might have read on Twitter. Yes, we’re looking for top-flight scientists, but my experience is that many top-flight scientists tend to be pretty uncomfortable with proclaiming (or even realizing) that they’re top-flight scientists.  Apply, and tell us the cool science you want to do.

New open positions

We have two new open positions in the group. We are looking for a bioinformatics analyst and a scientific software engineer to join the teams that develop the HMMER and Infernal software packages for biological sequence analysis. The teams are growing, with a key new team member Nick Carter, who joined us from high performance computing research at Intel and a previous computer science faculty position at U Illinois. We’re aiming in particular to bring out the next release of HMMER, the long-fabled HMMER4. These positions offer the short-term opportunity to help us bring these existing projects to the next level, and a longer-term opportunity to participate in a variety of fundamental computational biology algorithms research and software development.

The scientific software engineer will work most closely with Nick and myself on HMMER, and later on Infernal in collaboration with Eric Nawrocki (NIH/NCBI). Our codebases are ANSI C99, we take advantage of SIMD vectorization instructions on multiple platforms, and we’re working hard on parallelization efficiency with multithreading (POSIX threads) and message passing (MPI), so we’re looking for someone with expertise in these technologies. We currently work primarily on Apple OS/X and Linux platforms ourselves, but our code has to build and work on any POSIX-compliant platform, so we’re also looking to expand our automated build/test procedures. Our codebases are open source and we work with standard open source tools such as git, autoconf, and GNU make, and development is distributed amongst a small group of people throughout the world, especially including collaborators at NIH NCBI, U Montana, HHMI Janelia Farm, and Cambridge UK; you can see our github repos here. The official advertisement for the position is online here, with instructions on how to apply.

The bioinformatics analyst will work most closely with our bioinformatics secret agent man Tom Jones, Nick, and myself. We’re looking for someone to bridge the gap between the computational engineering and the biological applications, someone who will have one hand in the development team (working on how our command line interfaces work, and how our output formats come out), and another hand on our collaborations within Harvard and with the outside world using and testing our software on real problems. We want someone thinking about benchmarking and testing, with expertise in a scripting language (Python, Perl); we want someone working on user-oriented documentation and tutorials (Jekyll, Markdown); we want someone thinking about ease and elegance of use; we want someone working on how our tools play well with others, including Galaxy and BioConductor, and liasing between us and the various package managers who bundle our software (such as Homebrew, MacPorts, all the various Linuxen). The official ad and instructions to apply are online here.

We are reading applications now, and will accept applications in a rolling fashion for at least another month or so; beyond that depends on how our candidate pool looks. The positions are available immediately. Our funding for them has just activated, supported by the NIH NHGRI under the NIH’s program (PA-14-156) for Extended Development, Hardening and Dissemination of Technologies in Biomedical Computing, Informatics, and Big Data Science; we gratefully acknowledge this new support, as I’ve rejoined the NIH community after ten years away at a monastery.

open position: lab coordinator

We have an open position for a new lab coordinator. Ads are running at Nature and elsewhere. Our LC is our point of contact for everything administrative that makes the lab run smoothly, including responsibility for our financial accounting/purchasing with both HHMI’s and Harvard’s systems, tracking our funding, managing our travel planning, and coordinating the lab’s internal scheduling and communications (a mix of Google Calendar, Google Drive, OneNote, and Slack), among other jack-of-all-trades things. If you know of candidates, pass this info along — and if you’re a candidate yourself, see one of the ads for info on how to apply (to HHMI HR, who do the preliminary resume screening for us).

Open software/web engineer positions

The lab’s growing – the new space opened in November – and we’re starting to get settled in. Now we’re looking for a scientific software engineer and a web portal engineer to join the group.

The scientific software engineer will play key roles in the HMMER and Infernal projects, including optimization, parallelization, automated testing, and coordination with other open source developers in academia and industry. I’m especially looking for someone with experience in parallelization, including SIMD vector parallelization, POSIX threads, and MPI.

The web portal engineer will be a jack (or jill!) of many trades, taking charge of many the lab’s various outward-facing portals for distributing software, papers, and documentation from our group, including our web site and our GitHub repositories.

We have ads out for these positions with some additional information, such as these at Nature for the scientific software engineer and the web portal engineer. To apply, you can go through one of the ads or straight to the HHMI application system: here, for the scientific software engineer, or here, for the web portal engineer. The ads run through the end of February, I believe, but we will keep looking until these positions are filled.