Research Scientist - Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, Dr. Todd Michael

La Jolla, CA
Aug 12, 2020
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all position (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


The Harnessing Plant Initiative (HPI) at the Salk Institute 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 analyses to identify and understand relevant traits, and then modify these traits in crops and non-model plants. The Research Scientist will translate gene and trait concept targets from model plants into editing strategies in crop and non-model plants. The incumbent will work closely with discovery teams and computational scientists to develop editing strategies. The incumbent will develop new editing strategies or methods to meet the trait concept goals when such technologies do not exist. The incumbent will carry out editing in specific crop and non-model plants and manage third party editing and transformation interactions. The incumbent will also develop timelines for transitioning edited plants to the greenhouse and field studies.


(100%) – Experimental Research - Gene Editing

  • Develop genome engineering strategies in crop and other non-model species.
  • Deploy cutting edge editing techniques required by the program or trait concepts.
  • Consult with discovery teams to identify best editing strategies in model plants.
  • Maintain tissue and development specific promoter databases in conjunction with the computational team.
  • Carry-out and direct editing in crop plants.
  • Manage editing plants from third party transformation providers.
  • Develop timelines for edited plant deliveries to greenhouse and field studies.
  • Validation of trait design in edited crops and non-model plants tested in the greenhouses and fields.
  • Reporting progress and issues to the translation lead.
  • Publish results and techniques in peer reviewed scientific journals.



  • Experience with current CRISPR genome editing tools and strategies
  • Experience with crop and non-model genome editing.
  • Minimum 3 years of related post PhD research experience or equivalent.


  • One year or more of industry experience.



  • PhD in biological sciences or related field.



  • Strong lab skills and knowledge of best practices in genome editing.
  • Strong publication record and communication skills.


  • Knowledge of genomics software tools and basic bioinformatics.
  • Experience with command line informatics tools.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct and oversee independent research. This includes the ability to (a) develop, maintain, execute, and complete research projects of varying size and scope; (b) critically read, understand, and extract information from published medical and biological literature to prepare background information for scientific abstracts, manuscripts, lectures, and grant proposals; (c) perform basic data and statistical analysis; and (d) produce high-quality abstracts, manuscripts, lectures, and grant applications.
  • Ability to independently design experiments and debug protocols.
  • Ability to manage and track large numbers of samples meticulously.
  • Ability to troubleshoot and optimize experiments.
  • Ability to perform reproducible experiments.
  • Ability to read, interpret, and synthesize the published literature relevant to ongoing projects and have it informed on ongoing experimental efforts.
  • Demonstrated ability to independently evaluate administrative goals, prioritize plan for implementation, establish timelines, secure and oversee the participation of appropriate contributors, organize materials and ensure quality product within established deadlines.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with MAC operating systems, commonly used software and tools, such as Microsoft Office, electronic mail, and the internet.
  • Strong interpersonal skills. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships; interact with all levels of management and employees across multiple departments. Demonstrated ability to supervise and train students and other technicians.
  • Knowledge of standard laboratory management and safety procedures.
  • Ability to make independent decisions, analyze situations, solve problems, and initiate actions for the effective management of a large and complex department.
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills to identify problems and develop innovative solutions.
  • Excellent written skills and knowledge of English language, including grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Excellent oral communication skills. Demonstrated ability to communicate clearly, effectively, tactfully, and patiently in person, on the telephone, and in writing to a diverse group of people (including researchers, health care providers, patients, research participants, administrators, industry representatives) in the academic, scientific, and commercial communities.


  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Willing to sign a confidentiality agreement


This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, siting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside.


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