Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC)

Today’s Research. Tomorrow’s Medicine.

The GSC is a department of the BC Cancer Research Institute and a high-throughput genome sequencing facility. We are leaders in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics in pursuit of novel treatment strategies for cancers and other diseases.

Among the world’s first genome centres to be established within a cancer clinic, for more than two decades our scientists and innovators have been designing and deploying cutting-edge technologies to benefit health and advance clinical research.

Among the GSC’s most significant accomplishments are the first publication to demonstrate the use of whole-genome sequencing to inform cancer treatment planning, the first published sequence of the SARS coronavirus genome and major contributions to the first physical map of the human genome as part of the Human Genome Project.

By joining the GSC you will become part of an exceptional and diverse team of scientists, clinicians, experts and professionals operating at the leading edge of clinical research. We look for people who share our core values—science, timeliness, respect—to join us on our mission to use genome science for the betterment of health and society.


Job Reference No: CBVD_HSA Req # 107052_P01069_2021_04_16

In accordance with the Mission, Vision and Values, and strategic directions of Provincial Health Services Authority, patient safety is a priority and a responsibility shared by everyone at PHSA. As such, the requirement to continuously improve quality and safety is inherent in all aspects of this position.

The Computational Biologist will participate in the ongoing design, implementation and maintenance of the full stack (database backend as well as API, web visualization and frontend) of the database applications, housing genomic and clinical research data. The Computational Biologist will also participate in several high-profile national data sharing efforts in which the databases play a central role.


  • Participates in maintaining, designing and developing the GSC analysis and variant databases, including:
    • Checking data integrity and loading new data into existing tables;
    • Working with external data sources for genomic and sample metadata;
    • Design and implementation of new schemas and tables to house new data types;
  • API and front-end web application development.
  • Works with upstream bioinformatics and lab teams generating data to be housed in the database and responding to internal requests for query and API support.
  • Collaborates with other sequencing sites in Canada and internationally to share data and define best practices for data sharing.
  • Works closely with GSC Systems team and Quality Assurance team to establish and carry out best practices for data security, and ensure compliance with ISO 27001 certification, CAP/DAP clinical accreditation requirements and other data use agreements.
  • Works with clinical and research teams to develop web interfaces and patient reports for use in the clinic and within the research community.
  • Performs literature searches, testing and validation of new data analysis software, prepares presentations at scientific conferences.
  • Participates in code walk-throughs and reviews of solutions.
  • Participates in the design and build of database and software solutions taking performance into consideration.
  • Coordinates production problem resolution for assigned applications, including working with other technical teams.
  • Evaluates third-party software and incorporates new systems into legacy systems.
  • Produces thorough but concise written documentation of software, validations, SOPs, and other processes and procedures as required.


Education, Training and Experience

  • Graduation from a recognized Bachelor of Science Program in Computer Science or equivalent with significant computer science components. 
  • Two (2) years of recent related experience or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience acceptable to the GSC Group Leaders. 

Skills and Abilities

  • Demonstrated expertise in database programming and database design.
  • Demonstrated ability in Python and/or Javascript (NodeJS).
  • Experience designing and/or maintaining a relational database including knowledge of SQL or PostgreSQL, and with ORMs.
  • Familiarity with non-relational databases such as Hadoop or graph databases.
  • Experience with REST API development.
  • Experience with front-end web development (React, AngularJS).
  • Functional knowledge of distributed version control systems, such as GIT.
  • Experience developing software as part of a team, familiarity with Agile development and ticketing systems.
  • Comfortable working in a UNIX environment, including experience with shell scripting and common command-line tools.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal skills including the ability to work effectively with others in a team environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to efficiently organize work assignments and establish priorities.


Please submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae and the names of three referees willing to provide letters of reference. The cover letter should include a brief description of your previous research experience and long-term career goals. Please email your application to


We believe that diversity and inclusivity are essential for the advancement of human knowledge and science.

We welcome all applicants and provide all employees with equal opportunity for advancement, regardless of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, conviction of a criminal or summary conviction offence unrelated to their employment.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the position would require working remotely on a temporary basis.

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