Research Scientist

California, United States
13 Nov 2018
End of advertisement period
13 Jan 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

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Job Summary

The Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology seeks a highly qualified and motivated Senior Research Scientist for projects focused on the discovery and mechanisms of novel adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) for gene therapy applications in the Beckman Institute Resource Center for CLARITY, Optogenetics and Vector Engineering (CLOVER Center: These funded projects will use and adapt the CREATE methodology our group developed (Chan et al Nature Neuroscience 2017; Deverman et al. Nature Biotechnology 2016) for custom AAV capsid engineering and seek to understand their mechanism of action. The work will be fast-paced, challenging and collaborative, and therefore requires that the candidate is well organized and has strong problem-solving, interpersonal and communication skills. The ideal candidate would also have experience with directed evolution of biologicals, computational biology and analysis of large datasets. Candidates should have a doctoral degree in a biological science, postdoctoral experience and a strong record of productivity. The candidate will work independently under general guidance from the supervisor and must exhibit strong problem solving skills. Strong written and verbal communication skills and the ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment are essential. One position available immediately. Competitive pay and benefits, based on experience level.

Job Duties

The research involves the planning, discovery and evaluation of new AAV vectors and will require the researcher to perform 

  • Literature search and independent project planning
  • Proprietary virus library design (by novel directed evolution methods)
  • Molecular cloning, DNA and titering
  • Cell culture for recombinant AAV and possibly lentivirus production and validation
  • Discovery of novel variants with unique properties - requires functional quantitative evaluation of vectors in vitro and in vivo
  • In vivo vector administration, tissue processing, DNA/RNA isolation, immunohistochemistry and microscopy

The researcher will also be expected to 

  • Write manuscripts and create figures for publications
  • Prepare grant progress reports and figures and text for grant applications
  • Present findings at group meetings and participate in lab discussions
  • Keep careful records

Basic Qualifications

  • PhD degree in biology, biological engineering, or a related field
  • Prior hands-on experience with molecular cloning, DNA/RNA isolation, mammalian tissue/cell culture, qPCR, transfections
  • Strong knowledge of sequence analysis tools such as BLAST, SnapGene/DNA Star/Vector NTI and primer design software
  • Experience with computational biology and analysis of next generation sequencing datasets
  • Familiarity with high throughput screens/selections, DNA library design, and directed evolution
  • Must be self-motivated and organized
  • Must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills – the project requires a coordinated effort within and across laboratories
  • Excellent communication skills (writing and verbal) and the ability to interact professionally with students and all levels of staff as well as with external collaborators
  • Ability to handle a variety of tasks simultaneously
  • Ability to resolve technical problems and adapt easily to changing needs and priorities
  • Must possess a high level of initiative

 Preferred Qualifications

  • Postdoctoral experience in biochemistry, biological engineering, or a related field
  • Experience working with recombinant viral vectors under BSL2 conditions
  • Hands on experience with fluorescence and confocal microscopy
  • Stereotaxic injections
  • Experience with immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization
  • Excellent organization, time management and project management skills

Required Documents

  • Resume