Research Assistant I - Gene Expression Laboratory, Dr. Sam Pfaff

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, CA 920371002, USA
  • Apr 07, 2022
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. 

The Research Assistant I position is responsible for performing general lab support and will also be trained to assist researchers in the lab in areas including molecular biology, cell and biochemistry techniques as time permits. The position will work closely with the Lab Manager in regard to laboratory duties and techniques and a Senior Staff Researcher for animal related duties involving mouse weening, genotyping, genetics, and behavioral studies. Other duties include assisting with general laboratory maintenance, including equipment maintenance, and ordering and stocking of supplies. This position has served as a career development opportunity that previous employees held prior to joining medical or graduate school. A willingness to learn, work within a diverse scientific group, and strong communication skills are a requirement.


(50%) Mouse Colony Handling and Maintenance

  • Mouse husbandry
  • Mouse weaning
  • Mouse survival surgery
  • Dissection of adult and embryonic mouse tissues
  • Tissue processing for histology
  • Tissue processing for flow cytometry
  • Animal behavior studies

(20%) Lab support

  • Assist with preparing standard media and solutions
  • Assist with weekly inventory of lab supplies
  • Assist with ordering, stocking and organizing lab supplies
  • Clean and help maintain sensitive equipment as needed
  • Assist with lab organization such as freezer defrosting and record keeping of stocks
  • Assist with shipping reagents to collaborators
  • Help arranging lab equipment and facility repairs as needed

(30%) Assist lab researchers in ongoing projects

  • Tissue sectioning
  • RNAscope gene expression
  • Molecular cloning (Standard methods and Gibson cloning)
  • Western blotting
  • Purification and manipulation of nucleic acids (e.g. RT--PCR, plasmid & genomic DNA preparation)
  • Use of radioactive isotopes
  • Ultracentrifugation
  • Cell purification with FACS
  • RNA sequencing and analysis
  • Culture of primary cells and cell lines
  • Cryopreservation
  • Transfection
  • Suspension, matrix supported, and organoid culture
  • Lentiviral vector production



  •  No professional experience required with relevant degree.
  • Demonstrated experience and application of molecular biology knowledge preferably in biochemistry and cell culture.
  • Demonstrated experience with general lab maintenance, including cleaning, stocking supply inventory, and ensuring the maintenance of a sterile environment.
  • Willingness to learn animal procedures


  •  Previous experience as a lab technician or equivalent related experience
  • Demonstrated experience with general lab maintenance, including cleaning and stocking supply inventory



  •  Bachelor's degree in biological sciences or related field



  • Theoretical and hands on knowledge of tissue culture and molecular biology techniques.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in researching information and analyzing data to arrive at valid conclusions.
  • 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
  • Skill in the operation and maintenance of various 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, electronic mail, and the internet
  • Proficiency with common office software applications as well as software applications used for research, recording, and analysis.
  • Highly organized, effective at multitasking, adept at juggling changing priorities
  • Proven ability to work both independently and also as part of a collaborative team
  • 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
  • Working off a shared lab calendar to schedule learning about different processes and procedures


  •  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.
  • Must be willing to sign confidentiality agreement.


This position will be constantly adjusting focus, seeing, sitting, touching/feeling and working inside. 

Application Details

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 Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


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