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Current Opportunities

Bioinformatician, Data Scientist - Toronto, Ontario

Position:  Bioinformatician, Data Scientist
Site:   MaRS Centre, Toronto
Department:  Informatics   
Reports To:  Dr. Paul C. Boutros 
Salary: Commensurate with level of experience
Hours: 35 Hrs/week
Status:  Full Time, Permanent

Are you an expert in machine-learning and analyzing huge datasets? Do you admire the work done at fivethirtyeight.com? Do you enter kaggle contests for fun? Do you want to impact the care of cancer patients? The Boutros Lab is looking for somebody with these skills to help us analyze some of the largest datasets in the world. We are sequencing the complete genomes of thousands of cancer patients, and need detail-minded, innovative Data Scientists to help us identify the key, clinically-relevant trends within them. Experience with cancer or genomics is certainly a benefit, but top-tier machine-learning and data science skills are critical and we will train highly-qualified individuals. This is not primarily an algorithm-development role; we are looking for a strong skillset in applying existing techniques, although new method development is sometimes needed.

The datasets you would be studying can include (amongst others):

  • The Canadian Prostate Cancer Genome Network (CPC-GENE), the largest prostate cancer genomics study in the world, sequencing the whole genomes, methylomes and transcriptomes of 500 prostate cancers (up to 7 billion data-points per individual)
  • The ICGC pan-cancer initiative, performing a meta-analysis of >2500 tumour WGS
  • The ICGC-TCGA DREAM Somatic Mutation Calling Challenge, a global crowd-sourcing challenge aimed at standardizing NGS analysis methods for cancer data

    Your colleagues will be experts in cancer genome data-analysis and machine-learning, with a track-record of publications in the highest impact journals. It is an inter-disciplinary and integrated team of bioinformaticians, software-engineers and statisticians. There are people here at all levels of training from full-time staff (at the Bachelors, Master’s and PhD levels) to trainees (from undergraduate to post-doctoral). Software development is professional, with test-driven development and continuous integration, and we have a >8000 CPU computing cluster to support our research.

This is a unique opportunity to develop your strong computational skillset and to make a major impact on our understanding of cancer. Join us in studying unique datasets that will help rewrite the textbook of cancer genomics.


  • BSc or equivalent education in computational biology, engineering, mathematics, computer sciences or molecular biology. Graduate degrees are a strong asset.
  • Strong applied experience in both machine-learning and general statistics is essential (i.e. documented applied analysis in grad-school or to real-world problems). Candidates are encouraged to submit documentation of their results on kaggle, DREAM or other equivalent Challenges, or blog entries outlining their analysis experience.
  • Strong R skills
  • Demonstrated experience visualizing complex data


  • Experience with cancer or genomics is a major asset, but we will train strong candidates
  • Experience working with test-driven programming and version control
  • Programming skills in Perl/python/C
  • Strong communication skills (both verbal and written)
  • Previous experience with big-data problems (at a minimum thousands of variables, millions of records)

OICR is an innovative cancer research institute located in the MaRS Centre in the Discovery District in downtown Toronto. OICR is addressing significant challenges in cancer research with multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional teams. New discoveries to prevent, detect and treat cancer will be moved from the bench to practical applications in patients. The OICR team is growing quickly. We are innovative, dedicated professionals who bring expertise to each of our roles. We are looking for individuals interested in being part of a culture of excellence that will result in Ontario being recognized internationally as a leading jurisdiction for cancer research.

Launched in December 2005, OICR is an independent institute funded by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science.

For more information about OICR, please visit the website at www.oicr.on.ca.

POSTED DATE: May 11, 2017
CLOSING DATE: Until Filled

OICR is an inclusive employer dedicated to building a diverse workforce. We encourage applications from all qualified candidates and will accommodate applicants’ needs throughout all stages of the recruitment and selection process. Please advise the Recruiter to ensure your accessibility needs are accommodated throughout this process. Information received relating to accommodation will be addressed confidentially.

The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research thanks all applicants. However, only those under consideration will be contacted.

Resume Format:  If you elect to apply, you will need a text or HTML version of your resume so that you can cut and paste it into the application box provided. Before you submit the completed application, you will be asked to attach one or two files to your application.