#101775 Staff Research Associate

La Jolla, CA
Sep 20, 2019
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

UCSD Layoff from Career Appointment: Apply by 09/23/19 for consideration with preference for rehire. All layoff applicants should contact their Employment Advisor.

Special Selection Applicants: Apply by 10/03/19. Eligible Special Selection clients should contact their Disability Counselor for assistance.


The UCSD School of Medicine is one of the nation’s most prestigious medical schools and a preeminent institution for education, biomedical research, and clinical care. The School of Medicine’s faculty of 1,400 physicians and researchers are consistently ranked in the top two nationally in research funding per faculty member. As a top-tier academic medical center, its role is to provide leadership in improving health through research, education and patient care. UC San Diego Health Sciences has long been at the forefront of “bench-to-bedside” research, transforming patient care through discovery and innovation leading to new drugs and technologies.

The Zarrinpar laboratory is located in the new and beautifully built Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) at UCSD. The laboratory environment consists of over 3500 ft2 of contiguous space and includes new state of the art laboratory resources; benches, common equipment, tissue culture rooms, cold room, and procedure rooms. The open lab structure of ACTRI fosters constant scientific exchange among some of the most talented researchers. The floor is shared with Alan Saltiel, a world-renowned diabetes and obesity expert and the Director of the Institute for Diabetes and Metabolic Health (IDMH), and the laboratory collaborates closely with Rob Knight, Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation.

A Staff Research Scientist (MS or PhD) position is available in the laboratory of Amir Zarrinpar, MD, PhD, at University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, CA. The lab is interested in the reciprocal interaction between the luminal environment (both the gut microbiome and the content) and the gut and how the two maintain physiological homeostasis and contribute to disease. Functional manipulation of the luminal environment is performed with a novel engineered bacteria platform that allows long-standing changes with a single treatment, essentially allowing us to “knock-in” genes into the gut microbiome to study their effects on host physiological processes.

This research is performed primarily in animal models, with the potential to move into clinical populations. This position will focus on designing and engineering bacteria to functionally manipulate the gut microbiome and, with it, host physiology. With the help of the incumbent, the laboratory will be able to study the effects of specific bacterial functions and to test whether functional manipulations of the gut microbiome can lead to therapeutic or diagnostic agents.

Many of the bacteria being modified are native E. coli strains that have mechanisms that protect their DNA from modification. Hence, the incumbent should be experienced with multiple methods of bacterial recombineering and for troubleshooting through problems. Creativity, initiative, and persistence will be absolutely essential characteristics for the successful candidate. Additionally, we are looking for enthusiastic, self-motivated individuals who thrive in a fast-paced challenging start-up research environment and can multitask and interact well with others as part of a cohesive team.

  • Demonstrated experience in prokaryotic recombinant gene expression, bacterial physiology, genetics, and strain construction.

  • Excellent technical abilities in microbiology with experience in working with multiple strains; familiarity with current molecular techniques and software including ability to design/construct, plasmids, genetically manipulate bacterial strains, and analyze sequence data for cloning purposes with prior experience in recombinant gene expression in bacteria, proficiency in cloning/plasmid construction, and bacterial strain construction.

  • Proven experience in the development and performance of biochemical and bacterial cell-based assays as well as the ability to design/troubleshoot/validate assays and critically analyze assay data.

  • Experience with molecular biology techniques (e.g., PCR, qRT-PCR, DNA/RNA purification, gel electrophoresis, protein isolation) with the ability to carry out a variety of technical procedures with minimal instruction or supervision.

  • Demonstrated familiarity with handling BSL-2 bacteria, mammalian cell culture, and sterile technique.

  • Proven ability to provide work direction to undergraduate student lab employees. Skill to train others in various lab techniques and procedures (safety precautions, preparation of media, dishwashing, equipment usage, laboratory maintenance, etc).

  • Experience and skill with MS Office programs, Google Docs, file-making, spreadsheet, and graphics software; willingness and ability to update and increase PC skills and knowledge as needed.

  • Successful, positive interpersonal oral and written communication skills using tact, diplomacy, discretion, and flexibility with diverse personalities and situations. Skill to interact effectively with faculty, academics, students, and staff including those of diverse ethnicity, culture, and foreign nationals.

  • Enthusiasm for learning and genuine interest in scientific research. Willingness and ability to learn new skills, research methods, and scientific principles. Ability to take direction, be detail-oriented and follow step-wise instruction.

  • Ability to work independently or collaboratively on a research project. Ability to maintain a high level of motivation to contribute to cutting edge research, and seek and learn new experimental methods as required.

  • Knowledge of Material Safety Data Sheets, hazard communication, and Injury and Illness Prevention Program; safety precautions including appropriate clothing and shoes, safe handling of chemicals, and use of protective items such as gloves and goggles.

  • Ability to maintain confidentiality in matters related to work.

  • Demonstrated experience in generating RNA and DNA libraries for next generation sequencing.
  • Demonstrated experience in preparing multiplex immunoassays and using multiplex systems.
  • Ability to proactively and appropriately facilitate the maintenance of all lab supplies and equipment, maintain steady levels of lab supplies, and organize purchasing records.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of UC San Diego Health purchasing procedures.
  • Experience working in gut microbiome experiments including with germ-free mice.
  • Experience maintaining mouse colonies and genotyping mice for the lab including maintenance of transgenic lines and knowledge of humane methods of caring for lab animals. Sensitivity to the needs of laboratory animals in compliance to AAALAC standards.
  • Experience with gel electrophoresis and protein isolation.
  • Experience with immunohistochemistry, staining, microscopy, and preparing tissue for histology.
  • Basic knowledge and experience of accounting, billing practices, purchasing and reimbursement procedures.
  • Employment is subject to a criminal background check.
  • Must be willing to work with mice as an experimental model.
  • Must be willing to work with biohazardous material including bacteria and samples from mice and humans.
  • Must be able to work occasional evenings and weekends (for circadian experiments).

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