Research Assistant III, Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Dr. Nicola Allen

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Full Time Research Science

Job Description


The Research Assistant III is responsible for all lab managerial duties in support of the Principal Investigator’s (PI) studies along with overseeing the maintenance of the lab mouse colony and performing experiments to assist members of the lab.  Duties include performing advanced molecular biology techniques, cell culture and histology; training staff in molecular biology, cell culture, histology techniques and all other techniques as necessary; maintaining a mouse colony used by all lab members; writing animal protocols; equipment upkeep and repair; ensuring compliance with all Salk policies; managing any scientific or interpersonal issues that may arise.  Incumbent is also responsible for all lab materials including plasmid DNA, DNA and custom primer data, chemical inventory list, freezer/fridge contents, and frozen tissue inventory. Assists PI with budget management, department ordering, act as lab representative/point person regarding all lab issues, and ensuring lab safety.


(40%) Research Support

  • Perform various techniques in molecular biology such as: RNA or DNA extraction and analysis.
  • DNA extraction and analysis.
  • PCR and rtPCR.
  • Maxi preps.
  • Gel Electrophoresis.
  • Recombinant DNA techniques.
  • In vitro primary cell culture
  • Tissue dissection and processing
  • Cryosectioning, immunostaining and microscopy imaging

 (30%) Lab Management

  •  Manages resources/supplies
  • Identifies problems with the lab procedures, escalates to PI, and implements corrective action as needed.
  • Ensures all equipment is fully operational. Repairs equipment when possible or arranges repairs/purchase of replacement equipment. Performs regular instrument and equipment maintenance and calibration.
  • Provides technical expertise, answers research related, operational and Salk procedural questions.
  • Trains staff on specific molecular biology, cell culture, histology and related techniques.
  • Oversees and trains laboratory personnel in proper use of laboratory equipment and equipment maintenance.
  • Oversees general lab maintenance/organization, upkeep, and compliance with safety initiatives.
  •  Manages freezer and supply inventory. Responsible for annual equipment inventory.
  • Manages, maintains, and oversees inventory of all lab research holdings/assets (i.e, cell lines, mouse lines, DNA plasmids, primers, etc). Maintains log of samples in -80, -20 C freezers, and 4 C refrigerators.
  • Coordinates/Distributes research components and animals to local or international collaborators/colleagues.
  • Writes laboratory animal protocols for experiments and ensures their compliance within the laboratory.
  • Contributes to and oversees the development of new techniques and standardized operating protocols (SOP), utilizing new tools that lead to the modification of methodology and increased quality and reliability of research.
  •  Ensures safety information is disseminated promptly to all laboratory personnel and ensures compliance.
  • Informs new personnel of required safety procedures and coordinates attendance in training classes.
  • Inspects laboratory space for safe conditions and adherence to safety procedures.
  • Communicates and interacts with Salk departments (HR, RACT, PUR) and external vendors to conduct necessary lab business.
  • Places and approves all inventory, equipment, and animal orders while managing what funding sources to be used. Tracks spending and budget data for all laboratory supplies, equipment, and animal (purchase/upkeep) charges.

(30%) Mouse Colony Management

  •  Oversee the organization of the lab mouse colony that is used by all researchers, maintain accurate and detailed record of animals
  • Perform husbandry duties including breeding and weaning
  • Organize genotyping information to ensure accurate identification of subjects




  • Minimum 4 years’ of experience in research lab setting including experience handling mice and organizing a mouse colony




  •  Bachelor's degree in biological sciences.




  • Theoretical and hands on knowledge of tissue culture and molecular biology techniques.
  • Ability to perform highly complex experiments and techniques with high levels of reliability and accuracy within time constraints.
  • Ability to independently design experiments and debug protocols.
  • Ability to manage and track large numbers of samples meticulously without mixup or cross contamination.
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize and work independently.
  • Skill in the operation and maintenance of various lab equipment.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, prioritize work and independently manage multiple, diverse and competing priorities while meeting deadlines; plan and develop meaningful objectives; and integrate multiple work initiatives into the overall department goals.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in researching information and analyzing data to arrive at valid conclusions, recommendations, and plans of action.


  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support research needs.
  • Successful completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Must be willing to sign an employee confidentiality agreement.


This position requires constant seeing, handling, touching/feeling, analyzing, calculating, reasoning and working inside. 

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)


Clinical Research, General Science

Education Requirements

Bachelor's Degree


Depending on Experience and Education

Insertion Order Number


Requisition Number