Research - Laboratory/Non-Laboratory, Research Support - Laboratory/Non-Laboratory, Staff/Administrative
The Research Assistant II will perform routine to moderately complex laboratory procedures related to the use of human stem cells and somatic cell populations for disease modeling applications. This position will, in part, support human cell modeling needs associated with multiple research centers on campus, including centers focused on novel cell modeling approaches for aging and Alzheimer’s disease. This position will involve the execution of standard laboratory procedures with human somatic cell and human pluripotent cell lines, as well as other experimental procedures. Duties include cell culture and cell/molecular biology techniques. Procedures and techniques may include but are not limited to: derivation of somatic cells from biopsy materials, maintenance, banking, and characterization of cell lines, transduction and transfection of cell lines, virus production, direct conversion and reprogramming workflows, directed differentiation to lineage specific cell lines, 3D organoid culture techniques, molecular cloning and recombinant DNA techniques, media production and related quality control testing, immunofluorescence/phase contrast microscopy, and flow cytometry. Under guidance and review from the Stem Cell Core Director, this position will assist with the designing, drafting and amending of protocols and standard operating procedures. This position will require the maintenance of detailed records associated with projects and cells/reagent inventories. Data analysis and communication/presentation of key results will be needed. This position will contribute to general lab maintenance and upkeep needs which may include ordering and stocking of supplies, preparation of reagents, and equipment maintenance. Provides guidance and task direction to less experienced staff as appropriate.
Cell Culture Techniques (55%) With guidance from Stem Cell Core Director:
Plays a primary role in the production and distribution of specific cell types and organoids to meet the needs of research groups and centers supported by the Stem Cell Core.
Cultures various human cells lines such as primary dermal fibroblasts, embryonic stem cell, induced pluripotent stem cells, as well as other somatic and immortalized human cell populations.
Performs tasks related to the derivation, maintenance, expansion, banking, and characterization of primary human cell lines.
Performs tasks related to the derivation, maintenance, expansion, banking, and characterization of human induced pluripotent stem cell lines.
Performs tasks related to the expansion, banking, and characterization of human embryonic stem cell lines.
Performs direct conversion and differentiation workflows to generate neural cell lineages as well as other cell types. Independently performs functional and characterization assays related to these cell types.
Addresses media production and testing needs related to human cell lines used in the core.
Engages in protocol development and optimization activities
Engages in troubleshooting and problem-solving activities related to human cell models and commonly used characterization/functional assays
Performs activities associated with the evaluation and validation of cell culture reagents used with human cell models
Performs immunostaining and flow cytometry workflows
Performs phase contrast and immunofluorescence microscopy.
Performs tasks associated with the production and qualification of viral vectors.
Analyzes, interprets, and communicates results/data from cell-based assays
Molecular and Biochemical Techniques (10%)
With guidance from Stem Cell Core Director:
Performs various molecular biology techniques: DNA/RNA extraction, molecular cloning, restriction enzyme digestion, ligation, amplification and purification of plasmid DNA vectors, PCR and qPCR, Mini and Maxi preps, gel electrophoresis, recombinant DNA techniques and vector design, protein extraction and purification, PAGE assays and western blotting, ELISA and other immunoassays
Analyzes, interprets, and communicates results/data from molecular and biochemical assays
Project Administration (15%)
With guidance from Stem Cell Core Director:
Maintains and organizes detailed records associated with cell modeling activities. Includes protocols, procedures, cell/material/reagent inventories, data, and results.
Maintains and organizes detailed records associated with molecular and biochemical assays. Includes protocols, procedures, material/reagent inventories, data, and results.
Uses strong time management skills to organize and accomplish project goals and responsibilities
Maintains, organizes and distributes detailed protocols related to research activities
Maintains, organizes, and communicates detailed project records associated with goals, milestones, reportable results, action items, progress reports, etc.
General Lab Support (20%)
With guidance from Stem Cell Core Director:
Works with core staff to address cell-based project needs supported by the Stem Cell Core.
Prepares and maintains stocks of solutions and reagents necessary for cell culture and general lab use.
Assists with general supply inventories and ordering.
Develops existing and new protocols pertaining to the use of human somatic and human pluripotent cell lines for research purposes.
Assists with hands-on and virtual training courses
Performs assays for detection of culture contaminants such as mycoplasma.
Assists with hazardous and biohazardous waste management.
Assists with maintaining laboratory safety records.
Attends staff meetings and assist with general problem solving.
Assists with general facility maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep.
Minimum of 2 years of experience as a lab technician or related experience, to include experience in a human cell culture research environment and a minimum of 1 year of experience with use of human pluripotent stem cells in research applications.
Demonstrated experience with differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells in a 2D or 3D context.
Demonstrated experience with standard cell and molecular biology assays.
Demonstrated experience with recombinant DNA technologies and viral vectors.
Demonstrated experience with making common laboratory solutions and reagents.
Demonstrated experience with operating and maintaining common lab equipment.
Demonstrated experience with general lab maintenance.
Demonstrated experience with reprogramming and/or direct conversion workflows
Demonstrated experience with managing large projects and diverse workloads
Demonstrated experience with gene editing technologies
Demonstrated experience with organoid modeling technologies
Bachelor's degree in biological sciences or related field, or equivalent combination of education and work experience.
Master’s degree in biological sciences or related field.
SKILLS AND ABILITIES
Strong working knowledge of cell culture and molecular biology techniques
Demonstrated knowledge and experience in researching information and analyzing data to arrive at valid conclusions, recommendations, and plans of action
Ability to perform repetitive and specialized laboratory experimental procedures with a high degree of reproducibility
Ability to independently follow detailed experimental protocols
Ability to independently learn, analyze, develop, and refine new procedures, protocols, and workflows
Ability to independently operate and maintain lab equipment
Demonstrated knowledge and experience with both PC and MAC operating systems, standard business office equipment and commonly used software and tools, such as Microsoft Office, email, and the internet
Proficiency with common office software applications as well as software applications used for research, recording, and analysis purposes.
Excellent organization skills with attention to detail
Ability to effectively manage time and conduct a variety of tasks in an extremely fast-paced environment
Use of good judgement relating to constantly changing priorities
Ability to work as part of a large, diverse group as well as individually
Excellent communication skills, both oral and written
Strong interpersonal skills, including tact, diplomacy, and flexibility
Demonstrated ability to interact effectively with diverse groups
Demonstrated skill in establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with personnel at all levels
Knowledge of basic laboratory safety, rules and regulations, EH&S guidelines, etc.
SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT
Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment
Must be willing to work in a human pluripotent stem cell research environment
Must be willing to work with viral vectors
Must be willing to work with primary human cell lines and tissues
Must be willing to work with non-human primate primary cells lines and tissues
Satisfactory completion of the Institute’s background investigation
Must be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement
This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside.
Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities
The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)
Salk scientists are dedicated to innovative biological research. The Salk Institute consistently ranks among the leading research institutions in the world for its faculty's contributions and the impact of their findings. Focused both on discovery and on mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer's, diabetes and infectious diseases by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines. "We lead biological research. We prize discovery. Salk is where cures begin."Overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, the Salk Institute offers a warm, collegial and collaborative work environment, where employees enjoy a generous benefits program. Social activities on campus encourage interaction as a community.