Specialist in Machine Learning for Drug Discovery in Oxford

  • Research
  • Oxford


This is a unique opportunity to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to target discovery within a world leading pharmaceutical company.


About Novo Nordisk esearch Centre Oxford (NNRCO)

NNRCO is Novo Nordisk’s new Translational Research Unit (TRU) focused on biology and target discovery across the broad spectrum of cardiometabolic disease. We aim to combine the very best of academia, biotech and big pharma, fusing deep understanding of disease biology, an agile creative culture and drug development. NNRCO will be a world-leading research site focused on asking the big and difficult questions and delivering high impact science. We will use genetics, functional genomics, human-centric disease models and computational biology to develop an unparalleled understanding of cardiometabolic disease and deliver therapies that transform the lives of patients.


Our location in the heart of the University of Oxford medical campus enables two-way collaborations with some of the best scientists in the world. These collaborations will include strategic investments in areas of mutual interest as well as jointly supervised PhD students and postdocs.


Our agile creative culture allows our scientists a high degree of individual autonomy to drive their own projects building on deep internal and external collaborations. Furthermore, cross-country collaborations within the organisation are part of our normal working environment and NNRCO scientists are an integral part of the Novo Nordisk Global Drug Discovery unit, which specialises in discovery and development of biological medicines for the treatment of Diabetes, Obesity, Cardiovascular & Liver diseases and Haemophilia.


You can read more about Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford at: http://www.novonordisk.co.uk/about-novo-nordisk-in-uk/oxford-research-centre.html 

You will become a part of the Computational Biology which plays a leading role in target discovery efforts drug target identification, biomarkers, target validation, as well as qualification of potential drug targets. The focus of the group is to integrate evidence from in-house experiments, ongoing and novel collaborations, as well as public data to gain maximum information to discover opportunities. We have four major focus areas within the department: Human genetics, systems biology, data integration and AI/ML activities. This position is intended to boost our growing efforts in AI/ML, with the support of, and in close collaborations with the entire computational team.


The Position

We expect you to be familiar with most of the standard methods: linear regression, logistic regression, decision trees, random forest, neural networks, nearest neighbours, support vector machines, lasso, deep learning – including deep neural networks and deep belief networks. However, importantly also be creative in applying/implementing new types of methods, or combinations to our biological data to gain new insight into our discovery efforts. The position will play a strong partner of ML/AI derived projects working with internal data both clinical and non-clinical as well as biobank data combined with public data repositories.


You will be applying, but also developing/improving, supervised and unsupervised algorithms in close collaboration with the scientists across. Together we will determine which feature(s) are the most useful in that instance and come up with an approach for how to maximise the utility of the data. Using learnings from our biologicals colleagues and their wet-lab experiments, we will then feed these results back into the predictions to try to improve their accuracy.



You hold a PhD/post doc within the computer science field with significant experience on top of that. You need to have experience with developing and training both classical machine learning techniques as well as more advanced deep learning algorithms. Publications within the field are considered a plus.


Previous experience with drug discovery and translational science from the pharmaceutical industry/biotech is a plus but is not a requirement, but a willingness to learn is. You have good analytical and interpersonal skills, and you are self-motivated with the ability to initiate, execute and deliver projects. We expect you to be able to perform, and complete, your own tasks in an independent, analytical, and dedicated way. We expect you to be flexible (yet with a structured approach to work), open to new ideas, ambitious, and results oriented.

The job requires proficiency in English and excellent communication and collaboration skills. You will be part of a team in a highly dynamic, challenging and expanding environment, and we look forward to welcoming you on board.



For further information, please contact Jan Nygaard Jensen at +44 7557865254.



25. June 2019




Millions rely on us
To work for Novo Nordisk you will need the skills, dedication and ambition to change lives for the better for millions of patients living with diabetes and other chronical diseases. In exchange, we offer the chance to be part of a truly global workplace, where passion and engagement are met with opportunities for professional and personal development.