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Research Assistant (Molecular Biology) Biology, Dr. John Burt

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Closing date
12 Dec 2023

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The Burt Lab at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) invites applications for a Marine Molecular Biology Research Assistant position, focusing on exploring molecular mechanisms of heat tolerance in marine organisms. This role is ideal for candidates with a strong background in molecular biology, including those from biomedical fields, looking to apply their skills to marine biology research. They will join our rapidly growing team exploring the biological underpinnings of heat tolerance in corals from the world’s warmest reefs. Come join our diverse, interdisciplinary team and enjoy the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research in a truly collaborative environment as we seek to better understand the implications of climate change for global coral reefs.

The candidate will operate under the supervision of Prof. John Burt, head of the NYUAD Marine Biology Lab, and will be affiliated with the Arabian Center for Climate and Environmental Sciences (ACCESS), working with a growing team of Post-doctoral Researchers, other Research Assistants, and Aquarists/Technicians who are collaboratively studying the biology of the uniquely adapted corals and other reef fauna from the Arabian Gulf, the world’s warmest sea. In this interdisciplinary research center, where Burt serves as co-PI, the candidate will collaborate closely with researchers across NYUAD units including ACCESS, the Marine Biology Laboratory, the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology (CGSB), the Water Research Center (WRC), and the CITIES Center, thus integrating into a diverse and dynamic team with research spanning genomics and molecular biology to ecosystem-level ecology. 

The Burt Lab is currently expanding its research on coral molecular ecology and physiology through a series of projects being led by Post-doctoral Researchers, and is seeking two highly competent and experienced Research Assistants to join our team. The positions will be primary lab based, but will also include integration into aquarium-based experiments (training will be provided), with candidates expected to have a deep understanding of an experience in molecular biology techniques (direct experience on corals is not required for a highly-qualified applicant with the appropriate molecular skill set, as specifics can be learned on the job).  In addition to well-equipped labs, researchers at NYUAD have access to state-of-the-art facilities that include NovaSeq, MiSeq Illumina and ion torrent sequencing platforms, a high-computing cluster, strong bioinformatics support and a cutting-edge microscopy facilities, along with well-supported marine research infrastructure and equipment. In the Burt Lab, all those who actively participate in a research project are included as co-authors on resultant publications, including Research Assistants; we are a team and all members are valued.

The position will be for two years (potentially renewable depending on performance) and will begin in mid-2024 (between May – July), and comes with opportunities for ongoing professional development. We are currently seeking two Research Assistants, possibly expanding to three.

Principal Responsibilities:

  • Conduct Molecular Laboratory Procedures: Perform basic and advanced molecular lab techniques (training will be provided for advanced techniques).
  • Genetic Analysis and Sequencing: Engage in molecular genetics techniques such as SNP genotyping, preparation of libraries for next-generation sequencing (NGS), and quantitative PCR (qPCR). Training will be provided for novel or advanced techniques.
  • Aquarium Experiments: Participate in aquarium-based experiments (led by post-doctoral associates, with molecular analytical support from the candidate)
  • Equipment and Facility Management: Manage and maintain laboratory equipment and ensure a clean and safe working environment.
  • Research Collaboration and Communication: Collaborate with a team of Post-doctoral Researchers, Research Assistants, and Technicians, and effectively communicate findings and progress in team meetings.
  • Record Keeping and Reporting: Maintain accurate and detailed records of experimental data and protocols, and contribute to the preparation of research reports, presentations, and publications.
  • Professional Development: Actively participate in professional development opportunities, including attending relevant training sessions, workshops, and conferences.


The qualifications and experience serve as the primary criteria for selecting candidates:

Required Education, Certifications, Licensing or Training

  • Bachelor's degree in biological sciences, molecular ecology, biomedical science or a related discipline (a research-based Masters degree is highly desirable)

Preferred Education, Certifications, Licensing or Training

  • Research-based Masters degree related to molecular biology
  • Drivers license in home country

Required Work and Related Experience 

  • Proficiency in basic molecular lab techniques (extraction, PCR, cloning, electrophoresis, blotting/probing, etc.)
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Preferred Work and Related Experience

  • Experience with molecular genetics techniques (e.g. Sangar sequencing, SNP genotyping, NGS library prep, qPCR, etc.) is desirable
  • Multi-omics lab experience would be a very strong asset
  • Metagenomic experience would be highly desirable
  • Bioinformatics and coding experience (R, Python) would be strong asset
  • Experience working on the coral host, symbionts/other microbial partners would be assets, but the primary criterion is strong experience in molecular biology
  • Experience in working in other aspects of coral physiology/biology would be desirable but are not required, as is experience in scuba diving.

Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted via Interfolio by 10 December 2023; interviews will be conducted over the following two weeks for those selected. The application should consist of a 1-2 page cover letter elaborating the candidate's background, as well as how each qualification criterion is met. Also include a detailed curriculum vitae, including contact information for three references. 

Employment is contingent upon successful completion of security, health, and reference checks, among other HR processes. The position is for a two-year fixed-term contract, potentially renewable subject to performance and funding. The compensation package is highly competitive and fully tax-free, including benefits such as housing allowance, annual flights, healthcare, and provisions for dependents, and the candidate will engage in a supportive work environment that has unparalleled opportunities for professional and personal development. Come join our vibrant research team in the Burt Lab, offering unparalleled research opportunities, professional growth, and a rich cultural experience in a dynamic international setting!

About NYUAD:

NYU Abu Dhabi is a degree-granting research university with a fully integrated liberal arts and science undergraduate program in the Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Engineering. NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU New York, and NYU Shanghai, form the backbone of NYU’s global network university, an interconnected network of portal campuses and academic centers across six continents that enable seamless international mobility of students and faculty in their pursuit of academic and scholarly activity. This global university represents a transformative shift in higher education, one in which the intellectual and creative endeavors of academia are shaped and examined through an international and multicultural perspective. As a major intellectual hub at the crossroads of the Arab world, NYUAD serves as a center for scholarly thought, advanced research, knowledge creation, and sharing, through its academic, research, and creative activities.

EOE/AA/Minorities/Females/Vet/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Employer

UAE Nationals are encouraged to apply.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

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NYU is an equal opportunity employer committed to equity, diversity, and social inclusion.


Dec 12, 2023 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time

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