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Research Assistant II - Laboratory of Dr. Janelle Ayres

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
La Jolla, CA

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

Job Details

The Research Assistant II position is responsible for the overall management and maintenance of the labs animal program and will assist with research under the direction of the Principal Investigator or other investigators in the lab. This position involves maintenance of the central lab mouse colony including breeding, weaning, and genotyping, supervises mouse colony management of individual lab members. Maintains and operates the labs germ free mouse facility, serves as a liaison between the lab and the Animal Research Department and maintains animal protocols, and ensures investigators are performing research in compliance with approved protocols. Position will also involve providing assistance to investigators for experimentation including clinical assessment and tissue collections.


  • Manages lab’s conventional mouse colony, which requires setting up breeders, weaning, genotyping, overall organization and general colony management under the direction of the lab manager and PI. Maintains the mouse census and helps investigators in the lab manage their lines. Forecast needs of researchers and ensure required numbers of genotypes of animals are readily available at all times. Coordinating mouse transfers.
  • Manage/maintain the lab’s germ free mouse facility, which requires setting up breeders, weaning, genotyping, overall organization and general husbandry of colony, microbial monitoring, facility operations under the direction of the lab manager and PI. Maintain census, forecast needs of researchers and ensure required numbers and genotypes are available. Daily food, water and health checks. Weekly cage changes. Ensure isolators are fully stocked at all times with sterile food, water and necessary equipment. Maintain room logs. Learn to rederive mice germ free. Sample collection for sentinel program. Set up and help researchers with germ free experiments. Help perform experiments under the direction of the PI and lab manager. Must be able to use an autoclave.
  • Animal protocol management
  • Prepare conventional and germ free mouse colonies for IACUC and AAALAC inspection and address inspection findings.
  • Aid in operations and experimentation with lab’s naked mole rat colony
  • Preparation and maintenance of personal protective equipment
  • Help researchers set up in vivo experiments and tend to experimental animals over the course of the experiment for data collection. Dissection of animals..
  • Ability to learn animal procedures
  • Act as a liaison between the lab and Animal Research Department
  • Performs other related duties as assigned by management.


  • This job has no supervisory responsibilities.


  • Minimum 2 years experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience required.
  • Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences or related scientific discipline required. A minimum of 4 years of experience in a scientific role is required for consideration of a Bachelor's degree in a different discipline.
  • Computer skills required: Proficiency with common office software applications as well as software applications used for research, recording and analysis (Microsoft Office).
  • Must be willing to work some nights, weekends, and holidays to support research needs.
  • Other skills required:
    • theoretical and practical knowledge in mouse colony breeding and management, facility operations, census management, genotyping, animal protocols,
    • ability to manage and track large numbers of samples meticulously without mixup or cross-contamination
    • highly organized, effective at multitasking, adept at juggling changing priorities and able to prioritize
    • excellent written communication 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 in the academic, scientific, medical, and commercial communities.
    • Strong interpersonal skills. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships interact with all levels of management and employees across multiple departments
    • Mouse physiology expertise


  •  Analytical - Synthesizes complex or diverse information; Collects and researches data; Uses intuition and experience to complement data; Designs workflows and procedures.
  • Change Management - Develops workable implementation plans; Communicates changes effectively; Builds commitment and overcomes resistance; Prepares and supports those affected by change; Monitors transition and evaluates results.
  • Cost Consciousness - Works within approved budget; Develops and implements cost saving measures; Contributes to profits and revenue; Conserves organizational resources.
  • Innovation - Displays original thinking and creativity; Meets challenges with resourcefulness; Generates suggestions for improving work; Develops innovative approaches and ideas; Presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others' attention.
  • Judgement - Displays willingness to make decisions; Exhibits sound and accurate judgment; Supports and explains reasoning for decisions; Includes appropriate people in decision-making process; Makes timely decisions.
  • Leadership - Exhibits confidence in self and others; Inspires and motivates others to perform well; Effectively influences actions and opinions of others; Accepts feedback from others; Gives appropriate recognition to others.
  • Managing People - Includes staff in planning, decision-making, facilitating and process improvement; Takes responsibility for subordinates' activities; Makes self available to staff; Provides regular performance feedback; Develops subordinates' skills and encourages growth; Solicits and applies customer feedback (internal and external); Fosters quality focus in others; Improves processes, products and services.; Continually works to improve supervisory skills.
  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings.
  • Organizational Support - Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and values; Benefits organization through outside activities; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity.
  • Planning/Organizing - Prioritizes and plans work activities; Uses time efficiently; Plans for additional resources; Sets goals and objectives; Organizes or schedules other people and their tasks; Develops realistic action plans.
  • Problem Solving - Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner; Gathers and analyzes information skillfully; Develops alternative solutions; Works well in group problem solving situations; Uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics.
  • Project Management - Develops project plans; Coordinates projects; Communicates changes and progress; Completes projects on time and budget; Manages project team activities.
  • Strategic Thinking - Develops strategies to achieve organizational goals; Understands organization's strengths & weaknesses; Analyzes market and competition; Identifies external threats and opportunities; Adapts strategy to changing conditions.
  • Visionary Leadership - Displays passion and optimism; Inspires respect and trust; Mobilizes others to fulfill the vision; Provides vision and inspiration to peers and subordinates.
  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively; Edits work for spelling and grammar; Varies writing style to meet needs; Presents numerical data effectively; Able to read and interpret written information.
  • Quality - Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Applies feedback to improve performance; Monitors own work to ensure quality.

The expected pay range for this position is $21.15 to $25.00 per hour. Salk Institute provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the institute reasonably expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic location, and external market pay for comparable jobs.


  • Frequently required to stand
  • Occasionally required to walk
  • Occasionally required to sit
  • Continually required to utilize hand and finger dexterity
  • Occasionally required to climb, balance, bend, stoop, kneel or crawl
  • Continually required to talk or hear
  • Occasionally required to taste or smell
  • Occasionally work near moving mechanical parts
  • Occasionally work around fumes, airborne particles, or toxic chemicals
  • Occasionally exposure to bloodborne and airborne pathogens or infectious materials
  • While performing the duties of this job, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet-moderate
  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move more than 20-50 pounds
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include: Close vision; Distance vision; Color vision; Peripheral vision; Depth perception and ability to adjust focus

    The Salk Institute is an internationally renowned research institution that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. We seek bold and interactive leaders passionate about exploring new frontiers in science. Our collaborative community embraces diverse perspectives and unique life experiences, fostering innovation, and a sense of belonging. Together, we strive to improve the wellbeing of humanity through groundbreaking research.


    Working at Salk Institute for Biological Studies

    The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the world's preeminent basic research institutions, where internationally renowned faculty probe fundamental life science questions in a unique, collaborative, and creative environment. Focused on both discovery and mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines.

    Faculty achievements have been recognized with numerous honors, including Nobel Prizes and memberships in the National Academy of Sciences. Founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, M.D., the Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark.

    Salk Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement

    The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is committed to providing equal access to opportunities for students, employees, applicants for employment and other persons.

    Our policies prohibit harassment or unlawful discrimination against individuals on the basis of sex, gender, marital or parental status, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, medical conditions/disabilities related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation age, ancestry, color, religion (including religious dress and grooming practices), family and/or medical care leave status, disability (mental or physical), registered domestic partner status, legally protected medical condition, genetic information, military or veteran status (disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam era, other covered veteran status), national origin (including language use restrictions and possession of a driver’s license), race, religion or any other classification protected by local, state or federal laws.

    The Salk Institute participates in the E-Verify program.

    Reasonable accommodation is available for qualified individuals with disabilities and for individuals with religious restrictions.


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