Research Assistant II, STEM Core Facility

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, CA, USA
  • Apr 19, 2021
Full time Biology/Biotechnology/Life Sciences

Job Description

Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all positions (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.



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.




  • 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.



  •  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.  

Application Details

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 Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


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