Data Analyst: Research Consultant
The Center for Conservation Biology in the Biology Department at the University of Washington is seeking a highly qualified, innovative data analyst who will examine genetic and related data to address complex forensic and research problems. We are particularly interested in someone who has a keen interest in applying mathematics and algorithms to solve real world problems, and also has strong statistical, data analysis, bioinformatics, and coding skills (including R and C++). A major part of this position involves use and optimization of our custom software for genetically assigning geographic origin to forensic samples. An ability to communicate and collaborate well with others is also important.
The Center uses innovative field and laboratory techniques to non-invasively study and monitor a wide variety of wildlife populations around the world. Our primary forensic projects use microsatellite DNA fragment and sequence analyses to identify the locations of major elephant and pangolin poaching hotspots across Africa over time. We also use these data to link transnational criminal organizations to multiple large ivory shipments based on direct and familial sample matching. Our main wildlife monitoring programs examine: (a) impacts of wolf recovery on the distributions, diets, microbiome and physiological health of sympatric predators and prey in Washington state and (b) impacts of prey loss, toxin and vessel traffic exposure on orca and baleen whales in the Salish Sea. The Center works closely with state, federal and international governments, law enforcement, and non-government organizations. More information about our program can be found at: http://conservationbiology.uw.edu/.
· Investigate how to integrate and interpret diverse data sets collected over large spatial scales with highly varied error components and develop data collection, storage, and analysis instruments for integrating and interpreting these diverse data sets.
· Develop and apply tools for processing and analyzing a wide variety of studies, including DNA methods for forensic investigation of transnational wildlife crimes, and ecological methods that are not adequately addressed by existing models.
· Investigate limitations in current datasets to determine what additional data are needed to resolve existing problems, and design appropriate analyses to test these fixes. Examples include:
o Using large reference data sets for genetic assignment of elephant tusks and/or pangolin scales seized in illegal transnational shipments made worldwide.
o Resource selection models and spatially-explicit mark-recapture models applied to genotyped, geo-referenced scat samples collected by detection dogs over large remote areas.
· Optimization of our DNA assignment and sample matching software, written in C++ and R
· Conduct statistical analyses using standard and advanced statistical techniques on a wide variety of genetic, ecologic and physiologic data
· Prepare results for reports, publications and/or presentations.
· Lead continued development of the infrastructure for the assemblage of data and computer models. Here, the candidate will work with graduate students, post-doctoral students and staff.
· Contribute to research study design including methodology and analysis for grant proposals.
· Other duties may be assigned.
· BS or MS in biostatistics, bioinformatics, genetics, computer sciences, mathematics, or related field.
Solid understanding of mathematics, computer programing and biostatistics.
· Ability to utilize computational tools in common scripting languages (e.g R, C++)
Experience working with high performance computing.
Ability to manage projects and solve problems independently.
Excellent collaboration skills with interdisciplinary teams.
· Strong written and oral communication skills.
On occasion, it will be necessary to respond immediately to urgent questions from the P.I. and other managers if problems arise that impact the work flow or deadlines for the Center - these may require that extra hours be worked on a given day.