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Research Assistant

Northern Arizona University

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Administrative Jobs
Academic Affairs, Research Staff & Technicians
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
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Job Details

Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: PMI
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
Job ID: 605619
Workplace Culture

NAU is a community devoted to student success and sustained by an unshakable commitment to our shared mission, vision, and values. We—faculty, staff, and administrators—thrive by combining our efforts and working side by side to further NAU’s culture of excellence.

Core Values One NAU side by side Student Centered | Integrity | Diversity | Service | Discovery | Excellence Northern Arizona University

Special Information

This position is subject to the availability of funding. The incumbent is not eligible for Service Professional non-renewal notice, or Classified Staff layoff or recall status.

Immigration Suppt/Sponsorship

NAU will not provide any U.S. immigration support or sponsorship for this position.

Job Description

The Pathogen and Microbiome Institute (PMI) at Northern Arizona University seeks a Research Assistant to perform basic and applied research largely focused on bacterial and fungal genetics but also including metabarcoding of arthropods from vertebrate diets. The top candidates for this position should be highly motivated and have experience with molecular genetic analyses, including RNA/DNA isolation, PCR/qPCR, gel electrophoresis, and next-generation sequencing. Microbiological work on fungal pathogens in the BSL2 lab is likely, as well as molecular diet analyses using amplicon sequencing, and BSL3 work on bacterial pathogens.

Primary duties will include:

  • DNA extractions from environmental and clinical samples
  • Next-Generation library preparations
  • PCR/qPCR assay development and validation
  • Working under BSL2 conditions, including fungal and bacterial culturing
  • Metabarcoding of vertebrate diets
  • Training and supervising undergraduate students
  • Working both independently and in a team-based environment
  • Assist with managing grants and contracts and reporting progress to granting agencies
  • Working safely with potentially hazardous materials, such as laboratory chemicals and disease-causing organisms

Minimum Qualifications
  • Bachelor’s degree in relevant discipline.
  • 2-4 years of research support experience.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Master's degree in Biology or related field
  • Skill in leading, coordinating, and supervising the work of others
  • Experience writing reports and scientific papers
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Technical proficiency in molecular microbiological techniques such as DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis, sequencing.
  • Experience mentoring and/or supervising undergraduate and graduate students in lab techniques
  • Experience in conventional and/or quantitative PCR assay design, development, and validation
  • Experience with Sanger sequencing
  • Experience with library preparations for next-generation sequencing
  • Experience with data entry and analysis
  • Basic bioinformatic analyses (sequence alignment, NCBI BLAST, in-house bioinformatics pipeline and analysis tools)
  • Experience with laboratory safety and the ability to safely handle hazardous materials (laboratory chemicals and biohazardous materials)

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities
  • Knowledge of the principles and techniques used in molecular genetic analysis
  • Ability to work safely with hazardous chemicals and biohazardous materials
  • Candidate must be well-organized, with an eye for detail
  • Experience with analyzing and evaluating scientific data
  • Ability to work successfully within a laboratory group
  • Ability to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing
  • Promotes a diverse, inclusive environment.

Background Information

This position has been identified as a safety/security sensitive position. Therefore, per AZ Revised Statute, Northern Arizona University requires satisfactory results for the following: a criminal background investigation, employment history investigation, degree verification (in some cases) and fingerprinting.

If you are applying for a job that requires a CDL, you will be required to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse and adhere to the clearinghouse requirements.

Additionally, as an employer in the state of Arizona, NAU is required to participate in the federal E-Verify program that assists employers with verifying new employees' right to work in the United States.

Finally, each year Northern Arizona University releases an Annual Security Report. The report is a result of a federal law known as the Clery Act. The report includes Clery reportable crime statistics for the three most recent completed calendar years and discloses procedures, practices and programs NAU uses to keep students and employees safe including how to report crimes or other emergencies occurring on campus. In addition, the Fire Safety Report is combined with the Annual Security Report for the NAU Flagstaff Mountain Campus as this campus has on-campus student housing. This report discloses fire safety policies and procedures related to on-campus student housing and statistics for fires that occurred in those facilities.

If you would like a free paper copy of the report, please contact the NAUPD Records Department at (928) 523-8884 or by visiting the department at 525 E. Pine Knoll Drive in Flagstaff.


Commensurate with experience.

**The starting salary will be determined by the qualifications of the selected applicant balanced with departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information.

FLSA Status

This position is exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and therefore will not earn overtime or compensatory time for additional time worked.


This is a Classified Staff (CLS) position. NAU offers an excellent benefit package including generous health, dental and vision insurance; participation in the Arizona State Retirement System; paid vacation and 10 holidays per year; and tuition reduction for employees and qualified dependents. More information on benefits at NAU is available on the Human Resources benefits website. Classified Staff employees are in a probationary status for their first six months at NAU.

NAU is a tobacco and smoke-free campus.

Employees offered a position will be eligible for state health plans (including NAU's BCBS Plan). New employees are eligible for benefits on the first day of the pay period following their enrollment, after their employment date. Employees will have 31 days from their start date to enroll in benefits. Additionally, new employees will begin participating in the Arizona State Retirement System, and the long-term disability coverage that accompanies it, on the first of the pay period following 6 months after the new employee's start date.

Learning and Development

Your career at Northern Arizona University includes the opportunity for professional development. New employee on-boarding training includes courses to be completed within the first 30 days. If your position includes the supervision of a benefit-eligible employee, we offer the NAU Supervisors Academy for you to complete within your first 2 years.

Application Deadline

Applications received by October 5, 2021 will be given full consideration. Applications received after that date may be considered until the position is filled.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, please click on the "Apply" button on this page. You must submit your application by clicking on the "Submit" button by midnight of the application deadline. If you need assistance completing your application there are instructions available on the Human Resources website or in person in the Human Resources Department located in Building 91 on the NAU Campus - on the corner of Beaver and DuPont Streets.

If you are an individual with a disability and need reasonable accommodation to participate in the hiring process please contact the Office of Equity and Access at: 928-523-3312/TDD - 928-523-1006 or PO Box 4083, Flagstaff AZ 86011.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Northern Arizona University is a committed Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. NAU is responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

EEO is the Law Poster and Supplements

NAU is an Employer of National Service. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other National Service alumni are encouraged to apply.


Northern Arizona University (NAU) is a public university offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees of high quality and societal value.  Students are at the center of the NAU experience, which is guided by a dedicated and distinguished faculty committed to teaching, individual engagement, and research excellence.

Our educational programs are designed to prepare our students for personal and professional success after graduation.

Whether they earn their degrees at our historic Flagstaff campus, regionally throughout Arizona, or online, we prepare our students to achieve their human potential in ways that serve the state, the region, the nation, and the world.

If you can see yourself as part of a university community dedicated to its students and their success, NAU might be the right fit for you.

Find Us
PO Box 4113 Flagstaff, AZ 86011
United States
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