Research Assistant I - Plant Biology Laboratory, Dr. Wolfgang Busch

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, CA 920371002, USA
  • Jul 22, 2022
Full time Biology/Biotechnology/Life Sciences

Job Description

The CO2 Removal on a Planetary Scale (CRoPS) project aims to develop crop plants that sequester more carbon via extensive root systems containing recalcitrant carbon polymers to fight climate change. A major component of this research is to conduct genetic and genomic analysis to identify and understand traits relevant for this project.

The Research Asst I will work closely with members of the CRoPS project and the Busch laboratory to conduct screening of root traits to identify genetic mechanisms that lead to optimal root systems for carbon sequestration, and assess phenotypes of genetically engineered crop plants. Responsibilities include: plant maintenance and manipulation, image acquisition, trait measurement, optimizing protocols for plant growth and plant measurements, data analysis, data quality control, and root washing.


(75%) Data Acquisition & Lab Maintenance

  •  Phenotypes plants and evaluates plant traits
  • Prepares growing media
  • Assists with maintaining lab equipment, stocks, and consumables
  • Assists in launching and harvesting of greenhouse experiments which involves lifting large pots, root washing, and shoveling
  • Maintains protocols and databases

(25%) Data Analysis

  •  Optimizes software for image analysis
  • Runs images and data through software pipelines
  • Presents data in team meetings
  • Participates in group discussions and journal clubs



  •  No professional experience required with relevant degree.


  •  previous experience in handling plants
  • previous experience in plant biology related lab work
  • Experience in plant research
  • Statistical analysis skills
  • Experience with microscopy
  • Experience with root washing and phenotyping
  • Experience with one or more of following plant species (corn, wheat, rice, canola, soybean, radish, clover, sorghum)



  •  Bachelor degree in Biological sciences



  • Understands operation of basic lab equipment.
  • Ability to perform routine, repetitive functions.
  • After initial instruction, ability to follow directions and perform repetitive tasks.
  • Ability to communicate required information and keep accurate records of work performed.
  • 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.


  •  Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support research needs.
  • Successful completion of the Institute's background investigation
  •  Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment, although this specific position is with a plant biology-focused laboratory.
  • Willing to sign an employee confidentiality agreement.


This position will be constantly handling, seeing, sitting, and talking.

Application Details

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 Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


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