Bridge Fellow, Population Dynamics in Women's Health

United Kingdom
Oct 03, 2016
Nov 17, 2016
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
BRIDGE Fellow                                 

Population Dynamics in Women’s Health

BRIDGE is launching an exciting new fellowship initiative, the BRIDGE Fellowship programme, to recruit top postdoctoral researchers in four identified areas that span the interests of UoB and UIUC researchers. One identified area is ‘Population Dynamics in Women’s Health’, where the successful applicant will work across the Centre for Computational Biology (CCB) and the Institute of Applied Health Research at UoB and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) at UIUC. The BRIDGE Fellows programme is modelled on the highly successful Birmingham Fellows programme, which has successfully recruited a variety of scholars to the University, and the IGB Fellows program, which has awarded fellowships for nearly 10 years. 

Find out more about BRIDGE Fellowships

Women’s health is a subject of critical importance as emphasized by the WHO’s dedicated department. Migrations, however small scale, will bring a change of environment that can have dramatic impact on Women’s Health. If well documented it can provide an opportunity to better our understanding on the impact of environment on maternal and child health. 

This Population Dynamics in Women’s Health Fellowship involves the shared interest of the institutions of a better understand of the inter-relation between environment and maternal and child health. The intrauterine environment shapes an individual’s health and disease. Adverse pregnancy outcomes are the major cause of perinatal and infant morbidity and mortality, and environmental and chemical exposures during pregnancy such as lead, cigarette smoke, alcohol, and nutritional stress have all been linked to long term dysfunction in neuronal, cardiovascular, and metabolic systems.

The study of familial genetics, reproductive outcomes, and ante- and postnatal development is well represented at both the University of Illinois and the University of Birmingham. Researchers at the University of Birmingham have strong interests in maternal and child health using biological, clinical and epidemiological methods. With the Guangzhou Women’s and Children’s Medical Center, it has developed the large Born in Guangzhou Cohort Study (BIGCS), which has hitherto recruited 18k pregnant women and 3k of their partners. To date, 14k of the planned 30k babies have been born and recruited. Detailed lifestyle, clinical and laboratory information are available, in addition a large accompanying biorepository allowing for further Omics studies. The study provides world-class opportunities for exciting research questions to be addressed.

There is a collaborative group of researchers at the IGB and indeed at greater University of Illinois campus who focus on developing scalable computational methods for integrating all types of medically relevant data contained in electronic medical records. These UIUC researchers are well-versed with methods that compare exposomes (e.g. exercise, nutrition, cognitive tasks) that may serve mediate babies’ response to adverse pregnancy outcomes.  UIUC is a leading institution in computational and engineering approaches to medicine, with the new cutting-edge Carle Illinois College of Medicine scheduled to accept students in 2018 as well as the strong Mayo-Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Health Care. Computational resources at UIUC include the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCS), the National Petascale Computing Facility (i.e. Blue Waters), and HPCBio; a center for High Performance Biological Computing.

At the University of Birmingham, the BRIDGE Fellow will be closely associated with the Centre for Computational Biology (CCB) which combines many of the field’s components, from both the development and applications sides. With chairs of Bioinformatics, Clinical Bioinformatics and Environmental Bioinformatics, the CCB aims to promote excellence in Computational Biology, Ecosystems Biology, and Bioinformatics across the range of fundamental and applied sciences, in both the University and allied Health Care arenas. It federates expertise through world-class, independent and collaborative research, as well as teaching to a broad audience ranging from undergraduates to health care professionals. The CCB therefore provides an environment, both physical and structural, ideal to foster collaborative work and cross-pollination.

Main responsibilities

The responsibilities are likely to include some but not all of the activities outlined below. In addition, the responsibilities will be as appropriate to the specific role and purpose.


To plan and carry out original, high-quality research, using appropriate methodologies and techniques.  The research should be at least internationally excellent, if not internationally leading in terms of its originality, significance and rigour.  Plans may include, where appropriate to the discipline:

  • To pursue a programme of research in Population Dynamics in Women’s Health as agreed among the leads for both Universities and the BRIDGE Fellow.
  • To collaborate with interdisciplinary groups of researchers at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and University of Birmingham, and preferably to help to develop new research areas and projects across universities.
  • To plan, execute, disseminate, and publish high-quality research.
  • To attract external research funding.
  • To manage research activities, and/or supervise other research staff.
  • To present findings in high-quality publications and conference proceedings.
  • As relevant to their discipline, to engage with industry, policymakers, the media or others to facilitate the wider impact of their research.
  • To develop novel methodologies and techniques appropriate to the type of research being pursued.
  • To supervise and examine PhD students, both within the institution and externally.
  • To provide expert advice to staff and students within the discipline.
  • To apply knowledge in a way which develops new intellectual understanding.

Learning and Teaching

The BRIDGE Fellowship has an emphasis on consolidating an outstanding research trajectory.  However, because the University is committed to excellence in Education, Fellows will contribute to learning and teaching as described here. 

BRIDGE Fellows will use a variety of methods teaching and advising individuals and groups of undergraduates and postgraduates to a high quality standard.  Where appropriate to the discipline this may include:

  • To deliver a small amount of teaching across at a range of levels.
  • To plan and review own teaching approaches and acting as a mentor to encourage others to do the same.
  • To undertake and develop the full range of responsibilities in relation to supervision, marking and examining.
  • To use appropriate approaches to learning and teaching in their field.
  • To disseminate appropriate practices through suitable media.
  • To develop and advise others on learning and teaching tasks and methods.
  • To devise & supervise projects, student dissertations and practical work.

Management/ Administration

BRIDGE Fellows will not be expected to make a defined contribution in management and administration during the term of their Fellowship.  However, they will be asked to do the following:

  • To advise on personal and professional development of colleagues and students.
  • To contribute to the academic community, including engaging with discussions at group, departmental, school, college or University level as relevant to them and their colleagues.
  • To manage their own research and teaching responsibilities to ensure delivery of excellence.


Person Specification

Skills and Experience

  • PhD or equivalent qualification.
  • Extensive and successful research experience and scholarship within subject specialism.
  • Proven ability to devise and lead-on research.


  • Experience and achievement reflected in a growing reputation within their discipline.
  • Candidates with interdisciplinary research interests are preferred.
  • A publications profile that can be judged as at the standard of international excellence or internationally leading
  • Experience and demonstrated success in planning, undertaking and project managing research to deliver high quality results.
  • Extensive experience of applying and/or developing and devising successful models, techniques and methods.


  • Ability to deliver, assess and revise teaching programmes.


  • Ability to assess and organise resources effectively.
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes.
  • Contributing to and building a high quality intellectual and academic environment.