Volunteer Position – Scientist in transcriptomics and/or genomics

  • 3-4 hours per week for research and meetings as part of a team
  • Remote / online
  • College degree in biology, biochemistry, bioengineering, biostatistics, or related fields, and at least some education or hands-on experience in bioinformatics or statistics, required.

The Freedom of Form Foundation is a nonprofit working to support and advocate for scientific research that will enable freedom of one’s physical form – biotech for self-expression.

To this end, we are seeking additional help in our Integument Review project. The project is surveying and structuring biological knowledge about how fur, feathers, scales, and skin works. That includes cell signaling, embryonic development, comparing and contrasting different integument types, and identifying cellular and genetic targets or “knobs to turn” for transformations. You’ll be joining an exceptionally capable team of scientists, and you’ll be complementing the team’s strong basis in cell signaling, embryogenesis, systems biology, and physiology.

The team now needs your help in working with large, comparative gene expression and genomics datasets. We are looking for passionate, dedicated people who want to help accelerate this strategically critical research project to help us achieve our mission.

Your responsibilities may include:

  • Provided general direction and advice from the team, you’ll be collecting and processing gene expression and comparative genomics datasets, especially from publicly available sources. Both transcriptomics and evolutionary genomics are interesting to us.
  • Also as part of the team, you’ll be the expert to:
    • Compare gene expression trends across space, time/stage of embryogenesis, cell types, etc.
    • Perform GSEA or other analyses as appropriate.
    • Comparing both specific features and homologous gene network functions across species.
    • Use comparative or evolutionary genomics to see what genetic mutations might correspond with new evolutionary features in species, and implicate mechanisms.
    • Team members will help you understand the cells and molecular mechanisms involved. Don’t worry, you won’t be in a vacuum!
  • Determining the quality of datasets, pointing out strengths and caveats, and screening/rejecting/seeking additional data as needed.
  • Attending meetings, asking questions, and assisting or chiming in when other team members need help or ask for feedback.
  • Presenting data and findings, and helping write reports.

You should be able to:

  • Immediately use your hands-on experience with basic statistics, and display judgment in using the appropriate statistical tests.
  • Immediately use your understanding of gene regulatory network diagrams for communication, and be comfortable sketching novel GRN diagrams to represent new information.
  • Find and understand publicly available gene expression and/or genomics data in repositories made available by the NIH and EMBL.
  • Learn more specific analysis techniques within a few weeks, and gain comfort using them to analyze and summarize interesting findings arising from transcriptomic, genomic, and cross-species analysis.
  • Be willing to talk with the team in Discord and/or other tools to have meetings and regular discussions.
  • Work with the team primarily active during US/Eastern time daylight or evening hours.

All FFF volunteers and employees are expected to:

  • Have a steady hand, especially in stressful situations.
  • Demonstrate unerring commitment to teamwork and professionalism.
  • Always keep learning, and likewise be willing to help others learn and improve.
  • Demonstrate tolerance to each other, to stakeholders, and to the broader community.
  • Learn about regulations we must abide by, including, our Bylaws, Conflict of Interest Policy, Community Rules, Code of Conduct, regulations pertaining to 501(c)(3) organizations, and all laws.


If you have any questions or want to discuss more before applying, please send an email to [email protected]. We won’t bite (too hard)!

Sounds good? Please apply!

Please send an email to [email protected] and attach your Resume or CV. Be sure to include the position title in the subject line in your email.

And don’t worry, you can skip the formal, corporate-voice cover letter! Just a few sentences about why you’re interested in our organization, and in this position, should be sufficient.