Research Specialist

Pennsylvania, United States
21 Jul 2020
End of advertisement period
21 Sep 2020
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Job Description Summary

We are seeking an inquisitive, motivated, and enthusiastic researcher who enjoys multi-tasking in team settings. This position is focused on understanding signaling in cancer biology from tumor initiation to the adaptations that occur during cancer progression at the molecular level. As a Research Specialist, you will have a combination of roles which involve working independently to stay organized and updated on current literature in our field to working closely with the Principle Investigator to learn assays and techniques for ongoing research projects. The researcher will primarily focus on experiments to actively contribute to research within the lab, with opportunities for collaborations, presenting and writing as projects progress. This position is contingent on continued funding.

Job Description

Research Specialist will be involved in planning and conducting ongoing research to study tumor cell initiation and progression to aggressive disease in a team setting. Research will involve molecular biology and biochemical characterization of cancer specific proteins, testing their oncogenic potential in human cell lines and mouse models, with a goal to discover new therapeutic targets. Special emphasis is placed on conducting molecular biology assays including cloning, DNA/RNA/Protein extraction, and assays for evaluation of gene expression (PCR, qPCR, Westerns) in cell culture systems. Learning mouse handling, tissue processing, and potential therapeutics will also be available for interested candidates. They will learn and assist in laboratory experiments, with daily management of laboratory equipment, tools, documentation, and ordering of supplies for ongoing research. Initially, they will collaborate closely with the Principle Investigator (PI) to learn techniques and experimental set-up to optimize protocols for the lab.

Specialist A – will be responsible for the above roles, with a focus on learning research techniques to aid in ongoing projects. The position will require strong organizational skills with ability to efficiently multi-task.

Specialist B – position will undertake roles as described above, including similar aspects to RS-A, with the additional expectation that the researcher has greater laboratory experience in order to develop novel research questions for exploration in line with the Lab’s focus. This level researcher will eventually make greater contributions to the lab environment, with opportunities to share their work in collaborative settings.   

Position is contingent upon continued grant funding.


  • Research Specialist A-Bachelor's Degree with 0-1 year of related experience or equivalent combination of education in research and clinical study methodologies with additional hands-on research experience is required. An ability to adapt to new systems and enthusiasm to learn new procedures and techniques is necessary. Team oriented, with flexibility to meet varied/changing needs as projects progress. Exceptional organization and record-keeping, with open communication and written skills required. Previous experience with molecular biology techniques, cell culture, mouse handling, and/or biochemical techniques are highly desirable. Social media/website building skills desirable. Looking for a 2-year commitment at minimum.
  • Research Specialist B-Bachelor’s degree in Biology/Biochemistry/Molecular Biology field and 1-3+ years of experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience is required. Proficiency in basic molecular biology techniques (focused on RNA/protein analysis) and handling/manipulating cell culture systems required. Strong organizational skills, record keeping, clear oral/written communication, ability to train others, data analysis and some independent troubleshooting required. Mouse handling and maintenance highly desirable. An ability to develop novel/innovative solutions to research questions with independent planning aside from employing only established methods is preferred.

Working Conditions

Office, Library, Computer Room; Requires extensive safety

Physical Effort

Typically sitting at a desk or table; Occasional lifting 25 lb. or less

Job Location - City, State

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School

Perelman School of Medicine

Pay Range

$35,568.00 - $57,600.00

Affirmative Action Statement 

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements 

Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.