Research Associate

Job description

Research Associate

Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Position Status:

Basic Function:
The Biology & Biotechnology Department at WPI is currently seeking experienced graduate students or postdoctoral associates to act as Team Instructors for the 2018 WPI iGEM team. Team Instructors will work 10-12 hours per week for the 10-week research period in the laboratory supervising and mentoring a team of 6-8 WPI undergraduate students under the direction of the team Primary Investigator. Team instructors will also participate in weekly meetings with the entire team (PI, Instructors, and students) and weekly meetings with the teaching staff (Instructors and PI only).
About iGEM: Currently entering its 14th year, the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere worldwide undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. Student teams receive a kit of biological parts from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts and over the summer, the teams use these parts and new parts of their own design to build genetic circuits and operate them in living cells.
The website for the 2018 iGEM competition is: (
You can view the accomplishments of the 2014-2017 medal-winning WPI teams on their wiki pages at:

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Work 10 hours per week in the laboratory supervising the undergraduate student team, assisting the students with techniques, experimental design, and troubleshooting;
    Monitor the safety of the students in the lab and ensuring laboratory safety protocols are being followed by the students
    Attend (physically or by video conference) two weekly one-hour meetings per week
    Provide feedback to the students on their data analysis, presentations, posters, and website

    Position Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree in biology or related discipline, with graduate research experience (a completed graduate degree is not required);
    A strong motivation to gain experience teaching and mentoring undergraduate students;
    Excellent communication and organizational skills;
    Technical expertise in the following areas:
    • Basic microbiology with E. coli including: agar and liquid culture, transformation, and induction;
    • Molecular cloning, including: restriction enzyme-based cloning and Gibson assembly, and particularly the ability to optimize and troubleshoot molecular cloning protocols;
    • DNA analysis, including: DNA extraction/purification, gel electrophoresis, restriction mapping, and sequence design and analysis; experience with Benchling or other sequence analysis software is desirable;
    • Assay development, including but not limited to: plate reader assays (fluorescent, colorimetric, luminescent) and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis-based assays (Western blot, Coomassie stain, silver stain), cell growth or death assays (colony count/CFU, MTT, annexin stain), and the ability to adapt or develop assays as needed;
    • Experience with website coding in html is a plus but not required.

    Posting Date: 03/22/2018

    Close Date: 5/29/2018

    Open Until Filled:

    Special Instructions to Applicants:
    Please provide:
    • a cover letter describing your research experience and qualifications, and your interest in working with undergraduate students
    • a curriculum vitae
    • two letters of recommendation; if you are currently a graduate student or postdoctoral associate one of these letters MUST come from your current Primary Investigator and MUST acknowledge the time commitment required by this position as outlined under “Principal Duties and Responsibilities” above

    EEO Information:
    WPI is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or disability. We are seeking individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences who will contribute to a culture of creativity and collaboration, inclusion, problem solving and change making.

    Criminal Background Check Statement:
    A pre-employment criminal records check is required.

    To apply, visit:





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    Job No:
    Posted: 3/29/2018
    Application Due: 5/31/2018
    Work Type: