Bioinformatician sought - Opportunity now closed

Immediate start

Biotangents (Edinburgh), founded in 2015 and awarded “Best Start-Up of 2020” by IHS Markit Animal Health, are developing diagnostics for infectious diseases of livestock, with first product launches in 2021. Currently a team of 10, we are seeking a Bioinformatician to join our team and contribute to the development and application of our nucleic acid detection platform, Moduleic Sensing™.

The opportunity

Medical diagnostics is going through a step change as isothermal molecular technologies offer the potential for rapid point-of-care tests to replace time-consuming centralised PCR-based testing. The increased design complexity of isothermal diagnostics is a great opportunity for bioinformaticians. The successful candidate will gain experience and expertise in the multiple facets of this field while working in an innovative and sociable multidisciplinary team.

This position is particularly well suited to an ambitious individual with a desire to learn and challenge themselves. It is an exciting opportunity for the right individual to work as part of a small team in a fast-paced environment to help refine a ground-breaking technology with a clear market need.

  • Position: Bioinformatician

  • Contract type: Permanent, full-time (please state in your application if you are interested in working part-time)

  • Salary range: £26,000-£32,000 per year, commensurate with experience

  • Location: Initially remote due to COVID-19 restrictions. Flexibility between remote working and working at our Penicuik site will be offered when COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Candidate experience

You must meet the following requirements:

  • A minimum of an MSc with a bioinformatics focus, or a BSc with professional experience or training in bioinformatics in a research or industry setting.

  • Experience in coding using Python 3.

  • Experience in processing nucleotide sequence data.

  • Experience in developing bioinformatics pipelines.

  • An excellent understanding of molecular biology, including factors influencing DNA and RNA interactions.

  • An inventive, problem-solving mindset.

  • The ability to communicate well and work effectively in a small team.

The following would additionally be desirable:

  • Experience working in genetics, genomics, next-generation sequencing or transcriptomics.

  • Familiarity working with cloud-based high-performance computing systems (e.g. AWS Elastic Cloud, or the University of Edinburgh’s Eddie or Archer servers).

  • Familiarity with statistical tools such as JMP, SAS.

  • Experience in designing oligonucleotides or primers.

  • Experience working with nucleic acid secondary structure (e.g. NUPACK, UNAFold, ViennaRNA Package 2.0).

The role

Under guidance from our Senior Bioinformatician, you will take the lead in designing new diagnostic tests by identifying nucleic acid diagnostic targets and designing components of our Moduleic Sensing™ diagnostic platform. You will develop pipelines to streamline this process and use published data and biological insight to decide how to maximise diagnostic test sensitivity while minimising specificity challenges relating to other organisms that may be present in clinical samples.

You will also be required to:

  • Design oligonucleotide probes with complex secondary structure and interactions to selectively recognise genetic targets.

  • Use cloud-based high-performance computing systems.

  • Be proactive and inventive in devising solutions to technical challenges.

  • Use best practice in documenting your code.

  • Present findings and data at internal meetings (with opportunities to present externally).

  • Embody our core values of proactivity, pragmatism, fairness and integrity.


The dynamic working environment will allow you to develop skills in statistical analysis, computational modelling, and our machine learning-based DNA sequence design algorithms. Thanks to our small multidisciplinary team and the diverse set of challenges you will encounter, you will have the opportunity to gain experience in a range of areas outside of your core role, such as data analysis, Design of Experiments (DoE), ODE modelling, and machine learning approaches to nucleic acid sequence design. Guidance, support, and the opportunity to develop your skills will be available throughout this process.

How to apply

Applications comprising a CV and cover letter should be sent to Dr Andy Hall-Ponselè at We will only consider applicants able to demonstrate the right to work in the UK, and you should explain in your application how you can evidence this.

The vacancy will remain open until we secure the right candidate.

About Biotangents

Biotangents aim to be the go-to company for portable infectious disease diagnostics. We have an advanced technology for detecting infectious diseases using a unique implementation of the isothermal amplification of DNA concept. Developed entirely in-house over the past four years, and using machine learning algorithms to guide its adaptation to specific disease targets, we are using our technology, called Moduleic Sensing™, to develop portable diagnostic tests for various infectious diseases of livestock. Having developed Moduleic Sensing™ initially as a laboratory diagnostic test, we are now working to incorporate it into a portable device to bring advanced diagnostics directly to the point of need. By catching diseases earlier, treatments can be applied more effectively, and the spread of the disease can be reduced.

Copyright © 2019 Biotangents Limited. All rights reserved. 

Registered company number: SC495625. VAT Number: GB 219 8525 83.

Registered company and trading address: Douglas House, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland EH26 0PZ.