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Research Assistant 1 (Job 9164)

Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio

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Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
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Job Details


Working under moderate supervision, the Research Assistant 1 will be a vital team member and will perform research work including animal and human tissue processing, various immunohistochemistry assays, protein chemistry including gel electrophoresis and western blotting, and assist with general lab maintenance. The Zhu laboratory studies neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease and other related diseases. Specifically, the lab focuses on how mitochondria in various cell types contribute to the cell death and disease progression. The research assistant will work closely with lab members including the principal investigator, research associates, post-doctoral scholars, and other research assistants, and learn to design, perform, and analyze experiments. This position will work with animals (mice), specifically assisting the other senior Research Assistants with mouse colony breeding and performing PCR genotyping analysis. This position will work with animals.



  1. Perform research work in medical and related technical areas involves use of lab skills. Process human and animal samples for histological and biochemical studies. Learn to dissect tissues of selective brain regions and prepare tissue sections, perform histochemical and immunohistochemical experiments. Assist with mouse colony maintenance. Generate, maintain, and analyze tissue culture cell lines for experimental purposes. (20%)
  2. Conduct analysis of samples. Become proficient in microscopy and digital image acquisition. This includes light microscopy, fluorescent microscopy, and confocal microscopy. Perform gel electrophoresis and Western blotting. Perform PCR to assist with genotyping of mouse models. (20%)
  3. Record results for a particular experiment or closely related series of experiments. Prepare basic figures using PowerPoint for describing and presenting results to PI. Use Excel and other statistical software to quantify results. Learn to use Western blot image analysis software. Develop skills in other software- Image J, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator. (20%)
  4. Maintain records of experiments. Maintain clear and accurate records in lab book and use Box or lab server as backup. (10%)
  5. Maintain test equipment utilized in experiments. Perform routine lab maintenance, including maintaining organization of stockroom, refrigerators and freezers, cleaning equipment and lab ware; dispose of biohazardous waste. (10%)
  6. Order reagents and other laboratory supplies via the university online ordering system and work with departmental administrative assistants. (10%)
  7. Assist with general lab duties, such as helping to prepare, complete, and update annual lab safety training records. Assist lab members with shipping and receiving samples. Run autoclave as needed for reagent sterilization and waste decontamination. Attend weekly lab meetings (currently remote via Zoom). (10%)



Perform other duties as assigned. (<1%)



Department: Daily contact with supervisor and other lab personnel to discuss research and maintain workflow.

University: Occasional contact with other labs/departments to share information.

External: Limited contact with vendors to exchange information. Limited contact with outside collaborators to receive/ship samples and exchange information.

Students: Daily contact with students in the lab to exchange information.



This position has no direct supervision of staff employees.



Education/Experience: Bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or related field and 0 to 1 year of experience or Associate’s degree in an approved biotechnology program and 0 to 2 years of experience.



  1. Has knowledge of basic laboratory skills including pipetting, basic chemistry lab techniques including weighing using analytical balance, preparing solutions, pH meter usage.
  2. Ability to work effectively independently and collaboratively within a team (must be highly motivated, responsible, dependable, and a self-starter).
  3. Relies on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job.
  4. Ability to operate routine laboratory equipment: weighing balances, pipets, knowledge of use of spectrophotometer.
  5. Ability to meet consistent attendance.
  6. Professional and effective verbal and written communication skills and good interpersonal skills with the ability to work and communicate with various individuals within and external to the University.
  7. Will be expected to complete training with university animal research and care (ARC) policies and procedures and compliance to regulations of the Animal Welfare Act, Public Health Service Policy, AAALAC guidelines and other applicable regulatory guidelines.
  8. Must demonstrate compassion for animals within university facilities and dedication to the Animal Resource Center’s mission. Must handle animals with care and respect at all times.
  9. Must be able and willing to learn new techniques, procedures, processes.
  10. Proficiency in Microsoft Office, such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint.
  11. Willingness to develop skills and proficiency in Western blot image analysis software, Image J, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator.



General laboratory environment. The employee will be exposed to animals, blood borne pathogens, chemicals, fumes, dust, UV light. The employee will perform repetitive motion. The employee will need to lift up to 24 lbs. Personal protective equipment is provided and lab coat is required to be worn in the lab. Gloves, goggles and face shields are provided.

Case Western Reserve University’s animal facilities are accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) and is managed according to the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals” appropriate Federal Animal Welfare Regulations, and the Public Health Service “Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.” This position, and all animal research personnel, are subject to internal compliance to SOM Animal Resource Center Standard Operating Procedures and to compliance regulations of the Animal Welfare Act, Public Health Service Policy, AAALAC guidelines, the State of Ohio Veterinary Practice Act, Federal Drug Enforcement Administration regulatory guidelines, US Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine regulations and other applicable regulatory guidelines.


Working at Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case Western Reserve is distinguished by its strengths in educationresearch, service and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland's University Circle, we offer nationally recognized programs in the arts and sciencesdental medicineengineeringlawmanagementmedicinenursing and social sciences.

Student enrollment exceeds 9,800 students, forty percent of whom are undergraduatesFacultyand students hail from more than 90 countries, with academic interests that reach every region of the world. Case Western Reserve, with the support of individuals, corporations and foundations, aids nearly 100 designated research centers.

As a service-oriented institution dedicated to civic leadership, Case Western Reserve seeks individually and collectively to prepare our students to improve the human condition and to direct the benefits of discovery toward a better society. This effort is not limited to the university's classrooms, laboratories, librariesresidence halls and athletic fields, but includes partnerships with many other institutions. We build these partnerships believing that our ability to improve the human condition should begin in our own community.

Case Western Reserve University remains Ohio's top-ranked school among the nation's premier national universities, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report and is the only Ohio institution ranked in the top 50 nationally. We promote a culture of inquiry marked by rigor, creativity, curiosity, innovation, respect, sensitivity and open communication of ideas.

The university supports interdisciplinary partnerships in education and research with numerous faculty holding joint appointments in more than one Case Western Reserve school or department, as well as at neighboring institutions. These relationships launched many of the unique pairings of science, business and liberal arts into the centers and programs that enhance the undergraduate and graduate experience at the university. Our dual degree programs enrich the educational experience for those students who choose to balance the technical requirements of engineering or the sciences with a strong interest in the humanities.

With more than $375 million in research funding annually, the university attracts outstanding undergraduate and graduate students along with renowned faculty whose research has made significant contributions to the way we live and work. Case Western Reserve counts 15 Nobel laureates among our alumni and current and former faculty, including the first American scientist to ever receive the prize.

Our students' experiences in cultural institutions, clinics, social service agencies and industry are not viewed as “extra-curricular,” but create the learning experience that defines a Case Western Reserve education. The university's service programs in the Cleveland Municipal School District have impacted more than 145,000 students with more than 43 signature programs. The university has launched more than 580 community partnerships on the local, national and international levels. Annually the university sponsors Case for Community Day, an event where hundreds of Case Western Reserve employees and students lend their time and talent to targeted community development projects in the Greater Cleveland area.

Our alumni number more than 110,000 and constitute a “who's who” of every profession. Alumni represent one of the university's strongest resources, playing a vital role in campus life through their work as advisors, mentors, friends and advocates.

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