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Research Assistant II, Plant Biology, Dr. Lena Mueller

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
United States, California, La Jolla
10010 North Torrey Pines Road (Show on map)
February 07, 2024
Description

The Research Assistant II will be supporting the laboratory of Dr. Mueller, where they will focus on research support related to beneficial plant-fungus interactions. The successful candidate will spend half of their time working on independent projects and the other half supporting postdoctoral researchers in the lab, including maintaining plant and fungal strains. Responsibilities include molecular cloning, creating transgenic plants and conducting molecular biology experiments with these lines. The position requires the ability to execute plant molecular biology experiments based on instructions from postdocs or the principal investigator (PI) and independently analyze the results. The research aims to understand the molecular signaling mechanisms governing beneficial plant-fungi interactions (arbuscular mycorrhizae).

The Research Assistant II will work closely alongside Dr. Mueller who will provide direct supervision. The role involves receiving comprehensive training in various research techniques to offer valuable research support. The Research Assistant II will be responsible for conducting experiments designed by Dr. Mueller and ensuring precise execution, documentation, and organization of experimental procedures and outcomes.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:



  • Independently maintaining spore cultures of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.
  • Performing various molecular biology techniques, including RNA/DNA extraction/analysis, PCR, qRT-PCR, genotyping, gel electrophoresis, and recombinant DNA techniques (molecular cloning), plant genetic transformation.
  • Conducting Western blotting and NGS library construction.
  • Analyzing plant and fungal structures using fluorescent and confocal microscopes.
  • Maintain and manage availability of seeds stocks of various plant lines (Medicago truncatula)
  • Training and providing assistance to other lab personnel in research techniques and equipment usage.
  • Managing laboratory supplies and equipment.
  • Participating in staff meetings and contributing to general problem-solving.
  • Assisting with hazardous, biohazardous, and waste disposal procedures.
  • Helping maintain laboratory safety records.
  • Ensuring the quality control of reagents.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned by management.


SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES:



  • This job has no supervisory responsibilities.


QUALIFICATIONS:



  • Minimum 2 years experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience required.
  • Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences or related scientific discipline required. A minimum of 4 years of experience in a scientific role is required for consideration of a Bachelor's degree in a different discipline.
  • Computer skills required: Microsoft Office
  • Other skills (preferred):

    • Fundamental skills in molecular biology and plant and or/fungal biology




SALK VALUES:



  • Integrity - Guides our moral compass and underpins our every action. We do what is right in all situations for no other reason than because it is right. We uphold honesty and ethical behavior and make good on our commitments. We understand that words and deeds matter and that integrity leads to trust.
  • Community - Enables us to harness the power of our collective talents. We work together towards common goals. We recognize the importance of diversity where everyone's ideas, identities, backgrounds, and perspectives are valued and pave the paths that propel us forward. We understand our pioneering role in the broader scientific community and take pride in our efforts to have a positive impact on the world.
  • Accountability - Keeps us focused, and keeps us honest. We are responsible not only for our own success, but the success of our teams and the entire Institute. We consider how the actions we take and the decisions we make in our own work may impact others.
  • Respect - Creates the foundation of trust and brings out the best in us all. We value the experiences, identities, and feelings of those we work with, regardless of their position or their relationship to us. We provide feedback in a constructive manner, use appropriate language, and allow others to share their thoughts and ideas without fear of ridicule.
  • Empowerment - Amplifies all voices and inspires the pursuit of greatness. We lift each other up, enabling us to grow continuously and live to our fullest potential. We support the expression of ideas, encourage self-advocacy, inspire confidence and recognize that an environment of mutual respect is critical to our collective success.


COMPETENCIES:



  • Analytical - Synthesizes complex or diverse information; Collects and researches data; Uses intuition and experience to complement data; Designs workflows and procedures.
  • Cost Consciousness - Works within approved budget; Develops and implements cost saving measures; Contributes to profits and revenue; Conserves organizational resources.
  • Innovation - Displays original thinking and creativity; Meets challenges with resourcefulness; Generates suggestions for improving work; Develops innovative approaches and ideas; Presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others' attention.
  • Judgement - Displays willingness to make decisions; Exhibits sound and accurate judgment; Supports and explains reasoning for decisions; Includes appropriate people in decision-making process; Makes timely decisions.
  • Leadership - Exhibits confidence in self and others; Inspires and motivates others to perform well; Effectively influences actions and opinions of others; Accepts feedback from others; Gives appropriate recognition to others.
  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings.
  • Organizational Support - Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and values; Benefits organization through outside activities; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity.
  • Planning/Organizing - Prioritizes and plans work activities; Uses time efficiently; Plans for additional resources; Sets goals and objectives; Organizes or schedules other people and their tasks; Develops realistic action plans.
  • Problem Solving - Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner; Gathers and analyzes information skillfully; Develops alternative solutions; Works well in group problem solving situations; Uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics.
  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively; Edits work for spelling and grammar; Varies writing style to meet needs; Presents numerical data effectively; Able to read and interpret written information.
  • Quality - Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Applies feedback to improve performance; Monitors own work to ensure quality.


The expected pay range for this position is $21.15 to $25.00 per hour.
Salk Institute provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the institute reasonably expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic location, and external market pay for comparable jobs.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS AND WORK ENVIRONMENT:



  • Frequently required to stand
  • Occasionally required to walk
  • Frequently required to sit
  • Continually required to utilize hand and finger dexterity
  • Occasionally required to climb, balance, bend, stoop, kneel or crawl
  • Frequently required to talk or hear


  • Occasionally work around fumes, airborne particles, or toxic chemicals
  • Occasionally exposure to extreme heat or cold (non-weather)
  • While performing the duties of this job, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet
  • The employee must occasionally lift and /or move more than 25 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include Close vision; Distance vision; Depth perception and ability to adjust focus


The above is intended to describe the general content of and requirements for the performance of this job. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities, or physical requirements. Nothing in this job description restricts management's right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. All individuals who accept a position with the Salk Institute must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment, must successfully complete the Institute's background investigation and must be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement.

The Salk Institute is an internationally renowned research institution that values diversity, equity, and inclusion . We seek bold and interactive leaders passionate about exploring new frontiers in science. Our collaborative community embraces diverse perspectives and unique life experiences, fostering innovation, and a sense of belonging. Together, we strive to improve the wellbeing of humanity through groundbreaking research.
Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities
The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

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