Professional Research Assistant -Sarcoma Translational Researcher (Davila Lab)

Job description


University of Colorado - School of Medicine

Professional Research Assistant (PRA)

Sarcoma Translational Researcher

Davila Research Lab

The University of ColoradoDenver l Anschutz Medical Campus seeks individuals with demonstrated commitmentto creating an inclusive learning and working environment.  We value theability to engage effectively with students, faculty and staff of diversebackgrounds.


Job Summary

Now hiring for afull-time PRA with benefits.  Thisposition is offered through the Division of Medical Oncology (Department ofMedicine) located at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus inAurora, Colorado.  This position reportsdirectly to Breelyn Wilky MD, a sarcoma medical oncologist, with the researchconducted within an established and highly accomplished cancer immunologyresearch laboratory led by Eduardo Davila, PhD. The position is supervised and mentored both by the faculty investigatorand Eduardo Davila, PhD, and the research laboratory manager.  This is a research technician position in theDavila laboratory.  Support in laboratorytechniques and training and troubleshooting will also be provided by otherpersonnel within the lab.


The role islaboratory-based to study the immune and tumor microenvironment in sarcomas,rare cancers of bone and soft tissue. Research will be conducted using humanblood and tumor samples from sarcoma patients treated on immunotherapy clinicaltrials, as well as preclinical mouse sarcoma models.


Professional Field

Dr. Wilky’s researchprogram aims to develop novel immunotherapies for sarcomas. Most sarcomas are“cold” tumors that lack inherent sensitivity to checkpoint inhibitors. Ongoingclinical trials are investigating whether combination therapies, includingcheckpoint inhibitors plus anti-angiogenic tyrosine kinase inhibitors, or incombination with chemotherapy may improve tumor kill. Patients treated on thesetrials will have blood and tumor biopsies taken as part of the trial, whichwill be analyzed using immune monitoring techniques, including flow cytometry,multiplex immunohistochemistry, analysis of antibody and cytokine profiles, andimmune-related gene expression to determine the effects of the therapies andpotential resistance mechanisms.  Inturn, these findings and drug combinations will be investigated inimmune-competent mouse models of sarcoma, including “humanized” mice models,which will then form the basis for future clinical trials. 


The PRA will haveresponsibility for conducting experiments in partnership with the PI, withadditional supervision and support from another senior PRA in the laboratory,Yupanqui Caldas, PhD.  However, the PRAwill be supported within a diverse and experienced team of researchers withinthe Davila laboratory.  The Davila labresearch program is focused on antigens that activate T cells in driving tumorimmunity in mice and humans in solid tumors.  By participating in lab meetings, the PRA willgain broad exposure and experience in cancer immunology and immunotherapytechniques.  Additionally, this uniquerole will require collaboration with the clinical research infrastructure, aswell as other laboratories and core facilities, providing a rich translationalexperience.


This position requires100% effort working within the secured research laboratory and applicablefacilities.  Working in the evenings orweekends may be required.  The positionmay require additional training in clinical research, including CITI trainingto assure compliance in working with human research samples.  It will require research laboratory bench workskills, extensive handling of research laboratory animals, meticulousdetail-oriented record keeping, and good hand to eye coordination.


Supervision Exercised

The successful candidatewill have extensive experience with mouse models and related immunology assaysand may provide additional training and support to other lab members for keytechniques and assays.


Primary duties mayinclude the following: 


Initial ResearchProjects

§  Preparation of fresh human blood and tumorsamples for single-cell suspensions, flow cytometry, RNA/DNA/protein analysis,immunohistochemistry.

§  Sterile culture and expansion of murine andhuman tumor and immune cells including T cells, B cells, NK cells.

§  Breeding and genotyping transgenic mouse modelsincluding PCR Induction of tumors in mice using adenoviral vectors containingCre recombinase.

§  Administration of chemotherapy and immunotherapyto mice using intraperitoneal injections, subcutaneous injections, and oralgavage up to 3 times weekly.

§  Measuring tumors in mice twice weekly usingcalipers.

§  At the completion of experiments, harvest oftumors, spleens, lymph nodes and intraventricular puncture for peripheral bloodcollection, and euthanasia of mice using CO2 asphyxiation, cervical dislocationor exsanguination.

§  Animal care related toresearch.  Analysis of human and mouse blood, tumor, spleen, andlymph node samples for single cell suspensions, flow cytometry,immunohistochemistry, DNA/RNA/protein extraction.

§  Implanting fresh human tumor biopsies into nudemice to generate PDX (xenografts).

§  Generating cell lines from xenografts, passagingxenografts, and maintaining freezer stocks.

§  Meticulous record-keeping, including detailedlaboratory notebooks, computer file systems, and research databases.

§  Preparation of research presentations for labmeetings and other venues; preparation of research posters and manuscripts ofprojects; preparation of amendments and renewals for IACUC animal protocols,biosafety protocols.

§  Maintenance of laboratory equipment; completionof a research project.

§  Participate in biweekly meetings with the PI toreview experimental design and raw data.

§  Participate in weekly research laboratory groupmeetings with all Davila lab personnel; and applicable trainings as required.

§  Flexible in learning new and additionaltechnical skills, molecular oncology, collaborations, and animal techniquesrelated to evolving research projects, which will likely include development ofCAR-T cells and engineered T cells for sarcomas.  Training as applicable with laboratorypersonnel in experimental techniques.

§  Regular animal research updates to the facultyinvestigator and research laboratory manager on a weekly basis.

§  Must be able to adhere to all regulatorycompliances for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus animal labfacility required regulations.

§  Other research laboratory duties as assigned.


Salary and Benefits: Salary iscommensurate with skills and experience. The University of Colorado offers afull benefits package. Information on University benefits programs, includingeligibility, is located at Employee Services

University ofColorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is dedicated to ensuring a safe andsecure environment for our faculty, staff, students and visitors. To assist inachieving that goal, we conduct background checks for all new employees priorto their employment.


The ImmigrationReform and Control Act requires that verification of employment eligibility bedocumented for all new employees by the end of the third day of work.Alternative formats of this ad are available upon request for persons withdisabilities.


Yourtotal compensation goes beyond the number on your paycheck. The University ofColorado provides generous leave, health plans and retirement contributionsthat add to your bottom line.


TotalCompensation Calculator:


Diversityand Equity:

 Pleaseclick here for information on disability accommodations:  The University of Colorado Denver | AnschutzMedical Campus is committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse studentbody, faculty and administrative staff. The university strives to promote aculture of inclusiveness, respect, communication and understanding. Weencourage applications from women, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilitiesand all veterans. The University of Colorado is committed to diversity andequality in education and employment.


Minimum Qualifications:

§  Graduation from an accredited college oruniversity a BS/BA in relevant biological sciences field is required.

§  Minimum 2 years previous research labexperience.

§  Experienced with lab and mouse hands-on animalresearch, is required.

Knowledge, Skills andAbilities:

§  Proficiency with basic laboratory techniquesincluding sterile technique, cell culture, operation of standard equipment andprocedures (microscopes, centrifuges, incubators, weigh balances, pipettes).

§  Proficiency, animal experience, and comfort withmouse handling, treatments, breeding/genotyping is required.

§  Experience with basic cellular/molecular biologytechniques including apoptosis/cell proliferation assays, Western blots, PCR.

§  Experience with immunology techniques includingflow cytometry and analysis, RNA/DNA extraction from cell lines and tumors,ELISPOTS/ELISA a plus.

§  Computer competency skills (MS Office), internetresearch, literature searches.

§  Highly motivated, self-directed learning, abilityto ask for help when needed, excellent organization and recordkeeping skills.  Prefer finalist that is team‑oriented,flexible, ability to work both independently and within a team environment aswell as work effectively with time-sensitive data.



§  Master's degree or PhD preferred.

§  Previous experience in immunology research andcancer research is highly valued.

§  Prior experience preferred with ability tohandle and process detail-oriented documentation and meet designated researchdeadlines. Demonstrated experience with research databases i desired.

Job Category: Faculty
Primary Location: Aurora
Schedule: Full-time
Posting Date: Oct 18, 2019
Unposting Date: Ongoing




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Job No:
Posted: 10/20/2019
Application Due: 12/19/2019
Work Type: