Sr Professional Research Assistant

Job description

University of Colorado Denver l Anschutz Medical Campus

SOM/Dept. of Medicine/Division of Pulmonary Sciences & Critical Care Medicine

Sr. Professional Research Assistant/Research Associate

Position #685388- Requisition 13155

The University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is a comprehensive urban research university serving more than 28,000 students in metropolitan Denver and online. We award nearly 4,000 degrees each year, including more graduate and professional degrees than any other Colorado public institution. With our solid academic reputation, award-winning faculty and renowned researchers, we offer 119 highly rated degree programs through 13 schools and colleges. The University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is well known for its distinctive and highly productive research programs, its world-class health facilities at the Anschutz Medical Campus and its well-established partnerships in business, industry and government. These campuses currently have over $400 million in research awards each year. In addition to the wide array of health-related programs and facilities offered at our Anschutz Medical Campus, a significant number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs are taught at our comprehensive campus in the heart of downtown Denver. Denver is one of America's most vibrant urban centers and the downtown campus, located just steps from the Denver Center for Performing Arts and the LoDo District, affords our students, faculty and staff access to a broad array of academic, professional, community, recreational and cultural outlets.

Nature of Work

The Walter Lab is seeking a full-time Senior Professional Research Assistant who will take a leading role in the development of novel RNA-based biomarkers of treatment response in tuberculosis (TB). This individual will study drug impact on M. tuberculosis transcriptional characteristics in vitro, in murine models and in human clinical specimens. The position will have two primary components: (1) design and execution of RNA profiling experiments aimed at quantifying extremely low abundance M. tuberculosis transcripts in complex sample types and (2) bioinformatic analysis and interpretation of bacterial transcriptional data in the context of pharmacokinetic and human clinical data.

This position may be hired at the Research Associate level for the appropriate candidate.

Summary of Lab Focus

The lab's focus is on the development of novel molecular measures of treatment response in TB based on M. tuberculosis RNA. TB remains the #1 cause of death from infection worldwide. There is an urgent need for new, shorter, more effective TB treatments. Our work addresses a central challenge in TB drug development and clinical trials: lack of accurate markers of treatment response that can be measured early in treatment. This is translational collaborative research in which the ultimate goal is a practical biomarker that will accelerate TB clinical trials. We use a variety of quantification methods (RNA amplicon sequencing, droplet digital PCR, NanoString) to study drug impact on M. tuberculosis in in vitro, murine and human studies. Our goal is to identify patterns of pathogen RNA that are associated with specific drug exposures and with clinical outcomes such as patient relapse. This work integrates microbiologic insight into pathogen physiology with high-throughput transcriptional analysis and human clinical data.

Examples of Work Performed

Design and execute RNA experiments

  • Identify and implement protocols that optimize recovery of extremely bacterial transcripts from human clinical specimensAssist in design of pathogen-targeted assays (e.g., TaqMan and amplicon sequencing)
  • Design and conduct experiments to quantify target transcripts using RNAseq, droplet digital PCR, NanoString and other assays
  • Accurately collect and maintain up-to-date records of experimental data.
  • Optimize and trouble-shoot laboratory protocols to overcome technical limitations
  • Review, develop and implement new or modified laboratory techniques
  • Participate in ensuring that the laboratory remains stocked with common laboratory supplies, equipment is properly maintained and serviced, and other general functions necessary for the operation of the laboratory are taken care of in a timely fashion.
  • Complete University laboratory safety training and maintain University certification to work with radioisotopes, hazardous chemicals, infectious agents, recombinant DNA molecules, and animals.
Bioinformatic analysis and interpretation of bacterial transcriptional data
  • Complete tasks including, but not limited to, performing primary analysis of next-generation sequence data in a Linux computing environment, testing hypotheses using various statistical tests, creating summary reports, generating visualizations of experimental results using a range of software tools, and presenting results in team settings.
  • Conduct all aspects of RNAseq analysis from mapping, normalization, differential expression analysis, gene set enrichment analysis
  • Evaluate association of M. tuberculosis transcriptional markers with human clinical outcomes
Research reporting and grantsmanship
  • Assist with writing and editing of scientific manuscripts and grant applications
  • Analyze experimental results and prepare data for publication in peer-reviewed journals and for presentation at scientific meetings.
  • Present data in formal settings as required, including but not limited to laboratory meetings, departmental seminars and journal clubs, institutional forums, and national and international scientific conferences, meetings, and workshops.
Supervision and Training
  • Train, supervise and provide guidance to laboratory student workers, medical or graduate students, professional research assistants, or other laboratory personnel as assigned by the head of the laboratory.

PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise stated, candidates will be responsible for travel expenses related to the interview process and any relocation expenses.

Salary and Benefits:

The hiring salary for this position is negotiable and commensurate with skills and experience. This position is not eligible for overtime compensation.

The University of Colorado offers a full benefits package. Information on University benefits programs, including eligibility, is located at

The University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is dedicated to ensuring a safe and secure environment for our faculty, staff, students and visitors. To assist in achieving that goal, we conduct background investigations for all prospective employees.

The University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse student body, faculty and administrative staff. The university strives to promote a culture of inclusiveness, respect, communication and understanding. We encourage applications from women, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and all veterans. The University of Colorado is committed to diversity and equality in education and employment.


This position may be hired at the Senior Professional Research Assistant (Sr. PRA) or Research Associate level.

Minimum Qualifications:

Sr. PRA level
  • Master's degree in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Computer Science, Bioinformatics, Epidemiology, or other closely related field
  • Minimum of two (2) years' experience in a molecular biology laboratory, including experience preparing high through-put sequencing experiments
  • Experience coding in R or Python in Unix environments
  • Experience applying bioinformatic and database management tools to clinical and/or biological data

Research Associate level
  • PhD or equivalent terminal degree in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Computer Science, or other closely related discipline
  • Three to five (3-5) years' experience in a molecular biology laboratory, including experience preparing high through-put sequencing experiments
  • Possess solid theoretical understanding of molecular biology techniques including nucleic acid isolation and PCR methods
  • Experience coding in R or Python in Unix environments
  • Experience applying bioinformatic and database management tolls to clinical and/or biological data

Preferred Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Demonstrated experience and expertise in microbiology and molecular biology experimental techniques
  • Strong programming skills in common statistical software and relational database management (e.g. Python, Perl, SAS, R, SQL)
  • Strong interest in analysis of genomic data to address a high-priority public health problem
  • Meticulous record-keeping and organizational skills
  • Ability to work independently as well as on a team
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, including public speaking. The successful candidate is expected to present results to the scientific community as talks and poster presentations
  • Ability to collaborate with global research partners in a diverse scientific setting
  • Strong, independent problem-solving ability

Special Instructions to Applicants:REQUIRED APPLICATION MATERIALS: 1) A letter of application which specifically addresses the job requirements and outlines qualifications. 2) A current resume/CV. 3) Names and contact information for 3-5 professional references--this list can be included on the resume/CV. Only complete applications will be reviewed.

Reference checks are a standard step in our hiring process. You may be asked to provide contact information, including e-mail addresses, for up to 5 references if you are referred to the Hiring Authority for an interview. We will notify you prior to contacting both on and off-list references.

Application Materials Required:Cover Letter, Resume/CV, List of References

Application Materials Instructions:APPLICATION DEADLINE: Review of complete applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position has been filled.

Job Category: Faculty

Primary Location: Aurora

Department: H0001 -- Anschutz Medical Campus - 20219 - SOM-MED-Pulmonary Disease

Schedule: Full-time

Posting Date: Apr 6, 2018

Closing Date: Ongoing

Posting Contact Name: Rebecca Propes

Posting Contact Email: [email protected]

Position Number: 00685388





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Job No:
Posted: 4/7/2018
Application Due: 6/6/2018
Work Type: