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Greenhouse Research Assistant I - Plant Biology Laboratory, Dr. Wolfgang Busch

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Encinitas, California, US
Closing date
Oct 6, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Biology, Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time

Job Location is 441 Saxony Road, Barn 7 Encinitas, CA 92024

The CO2 Removal on a Planetary Scale (CRoPS) project aims to develop crop plants that sequester more carbon via extensive root systems containing recalcitrant carbon polymers to fight climate change. A major component of this research is to conduct genetic and genomic analysis to identify and understand traits relevant for this project.

The Research Asst I will work closely with members of the CRoPS project and the Busch laboratory to conduct screening of root traits to identify genetic mechanisms that lead to optimal root systems for carbon sequestration, and assess phenotypes of genetically engineered crop plants. Responsibilities include: plant maintenance and manipulation, image acquisition, trait measurement, optimizing protocols for plant growth and plant measurements, data analysis, data quality control, and root washing.


(75%) Data Acquisition & Lab Maintenance
  • Phenotypes plants and evaluates plant traits
  • Prepares growing media
  • Assists with maintaining lab equipment, stocks, and consumables
  • Assists in launching and harvesting of greenhouse experiments which involves lifting large pots, root washing, and shoveling
  • Maintains protocols and databases

(25%) Data Analysis
  • Optimizes software for image analysis
  • Runs images and data through software pipelines
  • Data analysis and data quality control
  • Presents data in team meetings
  • Participates in group discussions and journal clubs


  • No professional experience required with relevant degree.

  • previous experience in handling plants
  • previous experience in plant biology related lab work
  • Experience in plant research
  • Statistical analysis skills
  • Experience with microscopy
  • Experience with root washing and phenotyping
  • Experience with one or more of following plant species (corn, wheat, rice, canola, soybean, radish, clover, sorghum)


  • Bachelor degree in Biological sciences


  • Understands operation of basic lab equipment.
  • Ability to perform routine, repetitive functions.
  • After initial instruction, ability to follow directions and perform repetitive tasks.
  • Ability to communicate required information and keep accurate records of work performed.
  • Proven ability to work both independently and also as part of a collaborative team.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including tact, diplomacy, and flexibility.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively with diverse groups. Demonstrated skill in establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with personnel at all levels.

  • Work will be primarily located at greenhouse facility in Encinitas, CA.
  • Successful completion of the Institute's background investigation.
  • Willing to sign a confidentiality agreement.
  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support research needs.
  • Must be willing to work on weekends and holidays when necessary


This position requires constant grasping, hearing, seeing, and talking.

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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