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Research Assistant II - Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, Dr. Margarita Behrens

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 will focus on brain cryostat slicing, nuclei production and sorting for multiomics analysis, and spatial transcriptomics.  The successful candidate will work approximately 75% of the time on funded projects and the rest on support doctoral researchers in the lab. The position will require training in cryostat slicing, nuclei production and sorting, neuronal imaging and analysis and in specific techniques and methods in order to execute experiments that are broadly designed by the PI or postdoctoral researchers.  Following training, the successful candidate must be able to carry out and analyze experimental results independently with limited instruction for routine work.  The overall goal of the research is to use epigenomics to create an ATLAS of the human brain at single cell resolution.


(50%) Tissue sectioning and nuclei preparation

  • Independently slices samples using cryostat and dissects brain tissue.
  • Independently prepares cellular nuclei from brain tissue

(15%) Molecular Biology Techniques

  • Perform various techniques in molecular biology such as RNA/DNA extraction and analysis.
  • PCR and rtPCR.
  • Gel Electrophoresis.

(25%) Histology

  • Perform NISSL staining protocol on fresh frozen sections
  • Use Slide scanner to image tissue sections

(5%) Tissue Culture

  • Independently maintains cultures of neuronal/glial cells obtained from differentiation of embryonic neural precursors.

(5%) Lab Support

  • Performs quality control of reagents as needed.
  • Trains and assists other lab personnel on research techniques and use of laboratory equipment.
  • Attends staff meetings and assist with general problem solving.
  • Assists in Hazardous, Biohazardous and waste disposal.
  • Assists with maintaining laboratory safety records.
  • Maintains laboratory supplies and equipment.



  • A minimum of 2 years of related experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Demonstrated experience and knowledge of genomic techniques, image analysis and brain handling.
  • Proficient in the operation of standard lab equipment and computer hardware/software.


  • Fundamental skills in neuroscience, molecular biology, and histology.



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


  • Neuroscience specialization.



  • Theoretical and hands-on knowledge of histology and molecular biology techniques, as well as confocal imaging.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in researching information and analyzing data to arrive at valid conclusions.
  • Ability to manage and track large numbers of samples meticulously.
  • Skill in the operation and maintenance of various lab equipment.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with both PC and MAC operating systems, standard business office equipment and commonly used software and tools, such as Microsoft Office, electronic mail, and the internet.
  • Proficiency with common office software applications as well as software applications used for research, recording, and analysis.
  • Highly organized, effective at multitasking, adept at juggling changing priorities and able to prioritize.
  • Proven ability to work both independently and also as part of a collaborative team.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including tact, diplomacy, and flexibility.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively with diverse groups. Demonstrated skill in establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with personnel at all levels.


  • Subcellular fractionation and cell cytometry.
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. 


  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must be willing to work independently and must have a flexible schedule to support research needs.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Must be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement.


The incumbent in this position will be constantly adjusting focus, handling, seeing, sitting, touching/feeling, and working indoors.

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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