Scientific Director

California, United States
14 Dec 2020
End of advertisement period
14 Feb 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

Job Summary

The Ismagilov Lab in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology is looking for a Scientific Director to join a fast-paced ~20 person interdisciplinary laboratory team. The research agenda includes development of new science and diagnostic technology to address the antibiotic resistance crisis; single cell analysis; understanding biophysics of food and its interactions with the gut microbiome. 

The Scientific Director will assist with the execution of the ambitious research agenda of the laboratory. The position will support the PI, students and postdoctoral researchers in the laboratory in execution of research via five avenues; personnel assistance, laboratory/facilities, research funding, research support, and training in the area of molecular biology/microbiology.

Job Duties

  • Assists the PI in recruitment, evaluation, and training of research personnel including students and postdocs. Supervises research technicians to maintain the lab’s culture of scientific excellence, outstanding safety, personal accountability, and growth.
  • Ensures safe, productive laboratory facilities. Oversee equipment acquisition, maintenance, and repair. Oversee access to external facilities and resources and oversee external access to the laboratory.
  • With support from administrative staff, assist the PI in managing ~$2M/year budget of the laboratory.
  • With the PI and members of the team, lead the preparation of the technical sections of grant proposals along the directions established by the PI. 
  • Provide or organize training in key laboratory techniques.  Assist in the design and interpretation of experiments. Enable successful and timely accomplishment of research goals. Optionally, directly participate in research and co-author publications lead by students and postdocs.
  • Provide expertise and training to an interdisciplinary group of students and postdocs in molecular biology/microbiology.
  • Manage the execution of research in Professor Ismagilov’s laboratory to enable timely and safe accomplishments of research goals. 
  • As needed, assists students and postdoctoral researchers with all aspects of project design and execution, implementation and trouble-shooting, including experimental design, set-up, and execution along with analyzing and interpreting experimental outcomes and resolving technical problems and challenges.
  • Assists students and postdoctoral researchers in identifying and engaging internal and external resources to facilitate project execution.
  • Assigns and oversees “group jobs” for members of the research groups.
  • Participates in strategic planning, facilitates external collaborations.
  • Participates in funding, acquisition of new equipment and other resources to support the anticipated needs of the of the lab; identifies bottlenecks and recommend solutions; recommends purchases of equipment and supplies; maintains contact with vendors and conducts product searches to recommend cost/benefit options to the researcher; participates in forecasting and planning for future equipment/resource needs
  • Oversees and/or performs the installation, testing, calibration, operation and maintenance of highly sophisticated research facility and ancillary equipment such as automated microscopes, confocal microscopes; cleanroom equipment.  Analyzes, troubleshoots and coordinates repair of equipment malfunctions and failures.
  • Develops, communicates and implements laboratory/facility procedures and training materials.
  • Develops and implements laboratory safety procedures, including chemical safety, laser safety, and biological safety.  Ensures compliance with IBC and IRB protocols.
  • Acts as a resource to the Caltech community and manages laboratory access and training of users from other Caltech groups, and fosters other collaborations.
  • Supervises junior technical staff, such as laboratory technicians.
  • Has the opportunity (but is not required) to conduct research in collaboration with the members of the Laboratory; has the opportunity to co-author and/or write journal articles, procedural guides or manuals; has the opportunity to present research work at seminars, conferences or laboratory/facility discussions
  • Organizes purchasing of supplies and equipment by overseeing a technician to coordinate with researchers to place frequent orders for chemicals, supplies, parts, and outsourcing of samples with manufacturers.  Monitors project budgets and spending.
  • Develops and implements new experimental strategies, techniques and procedures to improve research and analysis by staying current with the state-of-the-art in the field.
  • Applies technical expertise and knowledge of policies, practices and scientific protocols to complex and sensitive assignments
  • With support from administrative staff, the PI and members of the team, leads the preparation of the technical sections of grant proposals along the directions established by the PI and the group.
  • Prepares research progress reports for funding agencies.

Basic Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in microbiology, molecular biology, bioengineering, biophysics, or closely related areas.
  • At least 3 years of successful experience in a leadership or mentorship role in a laboratory or research setting.
  • Extensive, hands-on microbiology/molecular biology expertise and experience.
  • Experience with technical training and supervising of junior colleagues leading to positive outcomes in colleagues’ education and accomplishments.
  • Ability to act independently on technical matters pertaining to scientific field in one or more major research projects.
  • Strong familiarity with modern techniques in microbiology/molecular biology.
  • A record of independent research accomplishment.
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities and deadlines, make complex decisions under time pressure and to manage stressful situations.
  • Highly organized.
  • Strong critical thinking skills.
  • Ability to solve complex problems.
  • Ability to handle highly confidential information.
  • Ability to prioritize and execute to meet goals and timelines.
  • Must be self-motivated, take initiative and lead, work independently and multi-task.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written. Able to work with a diverse and interdisciplinary group of researchers.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and conflict resolution skills.
  • Excellent fact-based decision-making skills.
  • Familiarity with academic culture of Caltech or similar peer academic institutions.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Some engineering and quantitative skills in addition to the biological expertise is preferred.
  • Broad, interdisciplinary mindset along with flexibility and willingness to learn constantly is preferred.
  • Experience in data management and data organization is preferred.

Required Documents

  • CV
  • list of publications
  • technical writing sample
  • concise statement describing research expertise and interests, management expertise and interests; summary of expertise in microbiology and molecular biology, and key facts and experiences demonstrating candidate’s qualifications and likely success in this position.  

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