Data Tecnica International


info & updates...

92 common genetic risk factors for Parkinson's disease!

Great effort from a huge number of very smart people.

Some highlights include:

92 common genetic risk loci for Parkinson’s disease (39 of which are new)

High cognitive performance is causally associated with Parkinson’s risk

Improved polygenic risk score

Find the article here.

Parkinson's disease genetics: identifying novel risk loci, providing causal insights and improving estimates of heritable risk. | bioRxiv.png
Mike Nalls
Hampton Leonard, full time staff

Hampton Leonard, MS in data science joins the consulting team.  Her work focused on machine learning and clustering within clinical trials.  She is also interested in machine learning based predictions of disease progression and how that could impact drug development.  She will be pending a majority of her time at the Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health.

Mike Nalls
Full time opportunity, director of computational science at the Michael J. Fox Foundation...

If you are interested in working in-house at MJFF to direct the development of their growing computational science portfolio, please see below and follow this link.


The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: finding a cure for Parkinson's disease (PD) in our lifetime. The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus--thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's disease research worldwide, having funded more than $600 million in research projects in academic and industry labs worldwide. We exist to put ourselves out of business, so we deliberately hold no endowment but instead spend what we raise quickly and efficiently; 89 cents of every dollar spent goes directly to research programs. Core to our philosophy is how we think of our capital and its risk profile relative to other stakeholders in the drug development pipeline. We work aggressively to de-risk various treatment ideas and tools in the hopes of building a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients. Today, the Foundation has about 100 full-time employees.

Within MJFF, the Research Programs team supports the Foundation's mission of developing new and improved PD therapies through its focus on three key activities:

  • Developing the strategic research agenda and priorities for MJFF scientific initiatives
  • Selecting the most appropriate research projects that warrant MJFF support
  • Management of research awards through peer-to-peer partnerships

Position description

The Associate Director, Research Programs, will play a key role in driving the MJFF research agenda. High-dimensional Parkinson's datasets ("big data") are emerging from deep molecular profiling and digital phenotyping studies that require novel analytic approaches to provide new insights into the disease. MJFF seeks a motivated and strategic scientist to support investments in computational approaches. This person will be responsible for developing and executing the MJFF research strategy in computational science for Parkinson's disease. Through working with external experts in the field, this position will develop novel and innovative ways to clean/curate/organize data, share data, analyze data, and translate discoveries into actionable biomarkers or targets. Working with domain experts, this position will create collaborative approaches to promote and establish multimodal analysis of large and diverse datasets.

Success in this position will critically rely on a close collaboration with members of MJFF research teams, as well as management of key external players. The job requires a hands-on, detail-oriented, flexible, and solutions-seeking individual who is capable of delving into projects to support aggressive team goals, as well as the ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects simultaneously. This is a fulltime, onsite position located in New York City and is not conducive to telecommuting.


Primary roles and responsibilities:

  • Shaping of MJFF PD scientific "point of view".
  • Developing and rapidly executing strategic action plans to address critical field challenges that consider both internal team and external advisor input and creatively position MJFF to have clear impact.
  • Managing strategic plans at all stages from concept development, leading consortia meetings, grant review process, grant contracting and milestone management, troubleshooting and problem solving as issues arise.
  • Developing strong relationships with research community and key opinion leaders.
  • Reporting directly to the Director, Research Programs, and ensuring senior management and other MJFF staff receives current updates on key programmatic activities.

Ideal candidates will possess:

  • Graduate degree (Masters or PhD) in data science, computational biology, or related discipline
  • Experience in one or more of the following areas preferred: machine learning, pattern recognition, large-scale data mining, systems biology
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively across internal and external teams
  • Excellent relationship management, interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail and ability to prioritize and manage multiple complex tasks while maintaining composure under demanding deadlines
  • Flexibility in approach and willingness to adapt when necessary
  • Strong passion for science and the therapeutic development process
  • Excellent independent decision-making and judgment skills.
  • Creative, "out of the box" thinking.
  • Strong project and time management skills with an innate sense of pace and urgency to get the job done.
  • Ability to work productively and proactively, both independently and as part of a team.
  • Flexibility and willingness to move from project to project based on Foundation and team needs
  • Strong interpersonal skills: ability to manage (often without authority) and be managed.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including ability and confidence in speaking to both professional/technical and lay audiences.
  • Excellent computer skills, including mastery of Word, Excel and PowerPoint


How to Apply

Interested candidates should send a resume and thoughtful cover letter describing your specific qualifications and interest in the position. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered. Please, no telephone inquiries. Applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted.


The Michael J Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.


Mike Nalls
2 job opportunities in data science / bioinformatics

I'd like to put the word out for two positions relating to data science and bioinformatics that are hiring ASAP.  Both are focused on genomics and neurodegenerative disease.  The first is related to work being done at the International Parkinson's Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC) and the second is at the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the National Institute on Aging.  In both jobs, you will likely have to work with Dr. Andrew Singleton and myself as well as many of our close collaborators (this may be a positive or negative depending on your sense of humor).
Job opportunity 1 <-- Data science and bioinformatics at the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the National Institute on Aging.
This is a full time position for a graduate student or post-doctoral fellow.  Salary commensurate with experience.  Preferred candidate has experience with / interest in statistics, linux and bash programming, R and / or Python, genomics and genetics, cloud computing and machine learning.  Not all of these skills are necessary, as it is a position for someone to learn most of these but some familiarity would be beneficial.  Hours are flexible and telecommuting is possible but expect to be available for meetings in the Washington DC area at least a couple times a week.  This can be a multi-year appointment.
Scope of work includes:
-Processing of raw sequence data into analysis ready formats
-GWAS, quality control and imputation as part of collaborative projects in studies of complex diseases and traits
-Independent research in analytics for at least a portion of time
-Working with a team to integrate multi-omics data with clinical and lifestyle data
-Data cleaning and harmonization across studies
Job opportunity 2 <-- Web and database admin /  researcher for the International Parkinson's Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC)
This is either a part time position for senior researchers / consultants or a possible full time job for a junior level applicant.  General scope of the job is to build and maintain an online database that will organize and store diverse *-omics data for the IPDGC.  Strong background in database management, web dev and data visualization is preferred.  R+shiny and / or python knowledge a bonus.  This project will be ongoing so the appointment is likely multi year if possible and the position can be fulfilled remotely without set hours outside of weekly conferences.
Scope of work includes:
-Building cloud based data storage for terabytes of *-omics data that can be queried via web browser by researchers
-Basic understanding of data security
-Building mechanisms for rapid summaries of data and visualization on the fly
Please feel free to pass this on to any interested parties or lists.  If interested, email

Mike Nalls
What we've been up to lately.

March 1, 2017
Data Tecnica is pleased to announce a long term agreement to support data science at the National Institute on Aging’s Laboratory of Neurogenetics. We’ll be doing a lot of analyses with the International Parkinson’s Disease Genomics Consortium and its collaborators, with some really interesting results already on their way.


January 1, 2017
We are in the process of wrapping up some really interesting work with Google Genomics.  This includes cloud-based processing and analytics support for over 12,000 exomes and 5,000 genomes across more than a dozen international research centers.

For more information, visit the project webpage.

Mike Nalls