Research Specialist

Maryland, United States
$15.66-$21.82; commensurate with experience 
19 Sep 2018
End of advertisement period
19 Nov 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Role/Level/Range: ACRP/03/MA 
Starting Salary Range: $15.66-$21.82; commensurate with experience 
Employee group: Full Time 
Schedule: Mon-Fri 8:30-5 
Exempt Status: Salaried Non-exmt 
Location: 04-MD:School of Medicine Campus 
Department name: 10002994-SOM Oph Glaucoma 
Personnel area: School of Medicine

General summary/purpose:

The primary function of this position is to independently carry out biomechanical engineering research studies of normal, mutant, and glaucomatous mouse eyes with controlled inflation using 2-Dimensional (2D) and 3-Dimensional (3D, primary research) strain testing. With training, the individual will gain the ability to complete micro-dissection skills and other histological aspects specific to the eye. However, for this position there is required knowledge and understanding of engineering principles. Currently, there is an established experimental protocol and analytic methods that are used to study strains and stress of tissue, but require continued development. These complex models are applied to collected experimental tissue. To calculate strain values, we use MATLAB software program, a customized algorithm and protocol which was independently developed in our lab. In addition to MatLab, other software and programs used are Image J, Digital Image Correlation (DIC) software called Vic-2D, DVC, and LabView. Hired individually will continue to manage these software programs and protocols with prospective improvements.

For both 2-D and 3-Dimensional testing of mouse eyes, responsibilities include the following: euthanizing the mouse with general anesthesia, measuring the intraocular pressure (IOP), removing and cleaning the eyes of remaining tissues, installing the eye into a custom made holder, and cannulating the anterior chamber while taking care not to introduce the cannula into the lens. Tissue is then inflated to various pressures, experimental data is collected and strain values are calculated using a customized program in MATLAB.

3- Dimension biomechanical testing with the Zeiss LSM 710 confocal scanning laser microscope with a 2 Photon (2P) upgrade allows for the collection z stack images using second harmonic generation (SHG) and two photon (2P) settings used to image the collagen fibers in the sclera and the astrocytes in the lamina. The displacement maps of the collected z stacks at different pressures are then generated using a Digital Image Correlation (DIC) software called Vic-2D as a preliminary screening to determine which data sets would be analyzable via DVC. A fast iterative DVC algorithms are applied to reconstruct a 3D matrix of intensity values in Matlab. Displacement errors and uncertainties, were calculated by using this DVC algorithm to correlate between duplicate z-stacks at baseline pressure.

At weekly laboratory meetings with the Principal Investigator (PI) and colleagues the progress and results of the experiments are reported. Data is also presented at bi-monthly meetings with the collaborating Biomechanical Engineering lab at Homewood the experimental protocol and analytic methods are discussed and developed.

Specific Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Carrying out inflation testing experiments including euthanasia, removal and microdissection of the mouse eye, installation and cannulation of the eye in custom holder
  • Imaging Tissue: Either in:
    • 3Dimension: Using the LSM 710 with SHG and 2P settings and a manometer to capture z stacks of the sclera and astrocytes respectively at identified IOPs
    • 2Dimension: Executing a customized LabVIEW program, which controls a servo motor pump and camera to collect images of the sclera. Collecting scleral thickness measurements with digital calipers
  • Exporting 3D inflation data with Zen proprietary software, refining images and collecting parameters for optic nerve perimeter change with ImageJ, and performing preliminary strain calculations using Vic-2D
  • Analyzing data (programming algorithms for data analysis in MATLAB, applying mathematical modeling, performing statistical analysis using Instat), carried out under the direction of the collaborating lab.
  • Reporting at weekly meetings with own laboratory personnel and at bi-monthly meetings with the collaborating lab at the Biomechanical Engineering Department (Homewood).
  • Presenting results and writing manuscript for publication.
  • Performing tissue processing of optic nerve samples into epoxy resin, thick sectioning and staining for image analysis
  • Counting optic nerve axons using Metamorph Image Analysis program

Minimum qualifications:

Bachelor‚Äôs degree in Biomechanical Engineering, biology, chemistry or related field.  One (1) year laboratory experience performing relevant techniques including experience using Matlab, Vic2D and other similar software programs. Master's degree, with related graduate research, may substitute for experience to the extent permitted by the JHU equivalency formula.

JHU Equivalency Formula:  30 undergraduate degree credits (semester hours) or 18 graduate degree credits may substitute for one year of experience.  Additional related experience may substitute for required education on the same basis.  For jobs where equivalency is permitted, up to two years of non-related college course work may be applied towards the total minimum education/experience required for the respective job.

Preferred qualifications:

Programming and using MatLab software, ability to understand complex mathematical formulas.

The successful candidate(s) for this position will be subject to a pre-employment background check.

If you are interested in applying for employment with The Johns Hopkins University and require special assistance or accommodation during any part of the pre-employment process, please contact the HR Business Services Office at For TTY users, call via Maryland Relay or dial 711.

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During the Influenza ("the flu") season, as a condition of employment, The Johns Hopkins Institutions require all employees who provide ongoing services to patients or work in patient care or clinical care areas to have an annual influenza vaccination or possess an approved medical or religious exception. Failure to meet this requirement may result in termination of employment.

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