Research Assistant I - Behavioral Testing Core

La Jolla, CA
May 11, 2021
Jobs Outside Higher Education
Software & Technology
Employment Type
Full Time
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 positions (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


The Research Assistant (RA I) will work in the Behavior Testing Core (BTC) Facility supporting The Salk Institute and scientists from the external community studying mouse models of human health disorders. Reporting to the BTC Director, the RA will perform independent experiments as well as provide experimental support and training to graduate students, post-docs and PIs as they use the equipment and facilities in the Core. Other essential responsibilities will include a keen awareness of animal health and maintenance & troubleshooting of laboratory equipment. For the motivated candidate, there will be the opportunity to develop surgical skills and potentially use machine-learning, computer-aided analysis of rodent behavior. 


(70%) Mouse model phenotyping

  • Performs independent experiments to evaluate behavior and other in vivo measures in mouse models of human disorders
  • Provide experimental support and training to users of the BTC as they use the equipment and facilities in the Core.
  • Monitors animal health and maintains & troubleshoots laboratory equipment

(20%) Development of novel testing paradigms

  • Use machine-learning, computer-aided analysis of rodent behavior

(10%) Using surgical techniques

  • Use stereotaxic techniques to instrument mice e.g. for EEG measurements and create models of human disorders e.g. using viral injections



  • No professional experience required with relevant Bachelor’s degree or above.
  • Must have experience of mouse phenotyping and behavioral testing from laboratory coursework or equivalent


  • Some experience with dosing compounds using a broad range of routes of administration is preferred although all necessary techniques will be taught.
  • Familiarity with a computing language such as python and/or software programs such as Matlab will be welcome.



  • Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences or related field, or equivalent.




  • Ability to work with mice and demonstrate excellent mouse handling skills
  • Basic theoretical knowledge of biological sciences (particularly cell and molecular biology and genetics).
  • Demonstrates strong problem-solving skills and creativity.
  • Able to perform routine, repetitive functions.
  • Ability to learn and apply standard laboratory and safety procedures.
  • Organized and effective at multitasking and adept at juggling changing priorities.
  • Demonstrates ability to work both independently and as part of a collaborative team.
  • Demonstrates basic professional skills with attendance, dependability, and communication
  • Strong communication skills (both verbal and written) needed to interact professionally and effectively in the work environment; ability to read, comprehend, and discuss research materials
  • Skills utilizing sound judgment, tact and a recognition of situations requiring confidentiality
  • Ability to diplomatically and professionally interact with all levels of Institute staff and external contacts
  • Knowledge of standard laboratory and safety procedures
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with PC and MAC operating systems, standard business office equipment and commonly used software and tools, such as Microsoft Office, electronic mail, and the internet.


  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support research needs.
  • Successful completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Willing to sign an employee confidentiality agreement.


This position requires constant hearing, seeing, and sitting. 

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