Research Assistant I - Plant Biology Laboratory, Dr. Todd Michael

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, CA, USA
  • May 12, 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 Michael Group in the Plant Biology Laboratory (PBIO) at the Salk Institute focuses on sequencing and analyzing plant genomes. As part of the focus on plant genomics, the group maintains capabilities in high molecular weight (HMW) DNA extraction, RNA extraction, sequencing library generation, running of sequencing platforms and methods for generating chromosome-resolved assemblies (HiC, BioNano). In addition, there is a focus on applying current genomics tools to further the understanding of plant genome structure and function. Furthermore, as new genomics tools emerge, the group routinely tests these new methods to assess if they could play a role in improving plant genome sequencing, assembling and annotation. The Michael Group wet lab works very closely with the computational dry lab to reach the goals of high-quality plant genomes.

The Research Assistant I (RAI) will carry out a variety of basic and specialized molecular biology techniques in support of the lab goals. With guidance, the RAI will complete sequencing projects, from handling plant material to operation of sequencers. The RAI will assist in general lab maintenance, update and maintain sample databases, and participate in team meetings.


(50%) Molecular Biology Techniques

  • Nucleic Acid Isolation from plant material using multiple techniques (nuclei Isolations for high molecular weight DNA, low molecular weight DNA and RNA isolation techniques).
  • Quality Control (QC) of nucleic acids operating multiple instruments, including Nanodrop, Qubit, and TapeStation.
  • Accurate interpretation of results to assess next steps appropriately
  • Assist with preparing standard media and solutions using balances, ultracentrifuges, and autoclaves.
  • Generation of sequencing libraries for multiple platforms (Whole Genome Sequencing, RNAseq, Hi-C, etc.)
  • Operate Next Generation Sequencers (Illumina, Oxford Nanopore, Bionano).
  • Assist in the culture and maintenance of plant lines.

(50%) General Wet Lab Support

  • Maintains accurate records of all sample related work. Assists in updating sample database.
  • Attend lab meetings. Collaborate with and discuss results with the rest of the research team.
  • Maintain stock and organize incoming lab supplies.
  • Monitor and maintain instruments and equipment as needed.
  • Works with the Michael lab and adjacent labs to share laboratory instruments.



  • No professional experience required with relevant Bachelor's degree or above.
  • Demonstrated experience and application of molecular biology knowledge.
  • Demonstrated experience with general lab maintenance, including cleaning, stocking supply inventory, and ensuring the maintenance of a sterile environment.


  • 2+ years of experience as a lab technician or undergraduate researcher.
  • Experience with Next Generation Sequencing Technologies (Illumina, Oxford Nanopore, etc.)



  • Bachelor's degree in biological/chemical sciences or related field, or equivalent combination of education and work experience.   



  • Theoretical and hands on knowledge of molecular biology techniques.
  • Ability to manage and track large numbers of samples meticulously without mix-ups or cross- contamination.
  • Ability to learn and carry out new experimental procedures with accuracy and efficiency. Demonstrated ability to follow verbal and/or written protocols, including follow-up on previously begun procedures.
  • Highly detail oriented and organized. Effective at multitasking, adept at juggling changing priorities
  • Excellent handwritten and verbal communication
  • Demonstrated ability to record data accurately and enter into appropriate medium.
  • Skill in the operation and maintenance of various common lab equipment.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with standard office equipment and commonly used software and tools, such as Microsoft Office and Google docs
  • Proven ability to work both independently and as part of a collaborative team.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including tact, diplomacy, and flexibility.
  • Demonstrated enthusiasm about research and ability to work as part of a team
  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively with diverse groups. Demonstrated skill in establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with personnel at all levels.


  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support research needs.
  • Successful completion of the Institute's background investigation.
  • Willing to sign an employee confidentiality agreement.


This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, handling, hearing, reaching, seeing, sitting, toughing/feeling, analyzing, calculating, reasoning, and working inside. 

Application Details

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 Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


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