Research Associate - Department of Microbiology & Immunology (Computational Biology)

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime


We are seeking a PhD-level scientist to assist with analyzing SARS-CoV-2 sequence data from across Canada to track SARS-CoV-2 variants and assess the impact on critical immune determinants.

The position will be part of the computational biology and in silico modelling pillar of CoVaRR-Net, a pan-Canadian rapid response network to monitor and characterize SARS-CoV-2 variants:

The successful applicant will be based at McGill University in Montreal, with the possibility for remote work initially. The current funding allows for a contract of 1 year of full-time work, with the possibility for renewal.

The research associate will report to Dr. Jesse Shapiro at the McGill Genome Centre (, and be supported by pillar co-leads Dr. Fiona Brinkman at Simon Fraser University (https://www.brinkman.mbb. ), Dr. Morgan Langille at Dalhousie University ( ), Dr. Jorg Fritz at McGill ( ), Dr. Sally Otto at UBC (https://www. ) and Dr. Caroline Colijn at SFU ( ).

For more information on the Pillar activities:


The CoVaRR-Net relies on synergies and efficient communications across all pillars, with other members of the scientific community and with government bodies, for rapid response to the emergence of new Variants of Concerns (VOCs) for SARS-CoV-2. The successful candidate will focus on developing methods to track the impact of mutations on critical immune determinants and will ensure that data is synthesized and integrated within the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

The successful candidate will:

  • Utilize computational tools to predict T and B cell epitopes
  • Apply in silico protein structure modelling tools to locate linear and conformational epitopes
  • Synthesize and integrate epitope information data from across Canada and internationally
  • Apply mathematical models of virus evolution to evaluate epidemiological or within-host scenarios that might lead to the appearance of vaccine escape mutations
  • Develop computational tools to superimpose SARS-CoV2 mutations observed in clinical samples on predicted and clinically verified epitopes
  • Produce plots and reports to communicate results within CoVaRR-Net, with PHAC and with provincial public health agencies


  • Ph.D. in bioinformatics, immunology, microbiology, genomics, computational/mathematical biology, or related field.
  • Programming experience (R, python, etc.), high performance computing (inc. Linux), big data management
  • Must be able to exercise good judgment, exercise considerable independence, take initiative and possess strong interpersonal skills
  • Must possess exceptional communication skills (verbal, written and presentation) and be comfortable engaging and exchanging information with members of the network
  • Background in immunology, HLA and lymphocyte biology
  • Proficiency in French an asset

Faculty/Department/Unit: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences – Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Position:  Research Associate

Job Status: Full-time (35 hours/week)

Position Duration: 1 year (possibility of renewal contingent on performance and funding)

Location:  McGill’s Montreal Campus (possibility of remote working)

The following supporting documents are required:

  • Cover letter & curriculum vitae (as 1 pdf document).

Use a personal email address when creating an account in Workday to submit your application. Do not use or email accounts to apply.

Hourly Salary:


Hours per Week:

35 (Full time)


Penfield 740



Position Start Date:


Position End Date:


Deadline to Apply:


McGill University hires on the basis of merit and is strongly committed to equity and diversity within its community. We welcome applications from racialized persons/visible minorities, women, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as from all qualified candidates with the skills and knowledge to productively engage with diverse communities. McGill implements an employment equity program and encourages members of designated groups to self-identify. Persons with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations for any part of the application process may contact, in confidence, .

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