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Research Assistant I - Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory - Laboratory of Dr. Julie Law

La Jolla, California, US
Closing date
Jun 4, 2024

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Biology, Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
Job Summary

As a Research Assistant I, this position will be supporting the laboratory of Dr. Julie Law where they will focus on chromatin and gene regulation. The Harnessing Plants Initiative's (HPI) CO2 Removal on a Planetary Scale (CRoPS) program aims to leverage these processes 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 for understanding traits relevant for plant improvements.

The Research Assistant I will work closely with a Post Doctoral fellow and other members of the HPI CRoPS program and the Law laboratory to perform various molecular biology and microscopy techniques in support of research projects aimed and understanding gene regulation at the genetic and epigenetic levels. Incumbent will work in a team responsible for (1) phenotyping Arabidopsis thaliana lines of interest (2) screening, genotyping, and maintaining plant lines (3) designing constructs to assess gene function and expression and (4) staining and preparing plant samples for various types of microscopy.

Who We Are

The Salk Institute is an internationally renowned research institution that valuesdiversity, 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.

Founded by Jonas Salk, developer of the first safe and effective polio vaccine, the Institute is an independent, nonprofit research organization and architectural landmark: small by choice, intimate by nature, and fearless in the face of any challenge. Salk's vibrant community comprises a diverse and talented group of individuals, each playing a crucial role in driving our mission forward. Fromvisionary leadersto dedicatedadministratorsand brilliantfaculty members, the Institute is united by a shared passion for scientific exploration and innovation.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Conduct molecular and biotechnology techniques, including:
    • Genotype reporter and mutant lines.
    • Under supervision, assist in designing novel constructs and optimize cloning strategies.
    • Assess the expression of reporter lines via staining, imaging, and/or western blotting.
    • Screen mutants and inducible plant lines for desired traits.
    • Record and analyze all data and observations in an appropriate electronic lab notebook.
    • Prepare technical reports, summaries, protocols, and quantitative analyses, ensuring experiments are well documented.
    • Collaborate with and discuss results with the rest of the research team.
  • Lab Support
    • Prepare solutions, reagents, and media plates.
    • Grow and maintain plant lines.
    • Organize plant lines & construct stocks.

  • Exercises judgment within defined procedures and practices to determine appropriate action.
  • Normally receives general instruction on routine work, and detailed instructions on new assignments.
  • Work is performed under direct supervision.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned by management.

What we Require

  • No professional experience required.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences or related scientific discipline required. A minimum of 2 years of experience in a scientific role is required for consideration of a Bachelor's degree in a different discipline.
  • Other skills (preferred):
    • Prior experience or internships in a laboratory setting.
    • Prior experience biological research, ideally with Arabidopsis thaliana.
    • Demonstrated experience and application of molecular biology knowledge, specifically with plant development and molecular genetics.
    • Demonstrated experience with confocal microscopy.
    • Demonstrated experience with plant roots.
    • Demonstrated experience in sample preparation: staining, embedding, slicing etc.
    • Demonstrated experience with routine molecular biology skills: primer design, PCR, qPCR, molecular cloning, DNA/RNA extractions, bacterial transformation, and plasmid DNA extraction.
    • Demonstrated experience in basic coding.
    • Knowledge of relevant regulations and compliance standards.

What We Can Offer

The expected pay range for this position is $18.03 to $21.00 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.


Salk Institute offers competitive benefits, including medical, dental, vision, retirement, paid time off, tuition reimbursement, patient advocacy services, and transit/parking program.

Salk Values

The Salk Community, both scientists and administrators, worked together to define values that we believe support Salk's pursuit of excellence. To be truly the best scientific institution requires not only incredible discoveries, but a common understanding of how we should work together to enable those discoveries.

The acronym "I CARE" provides a simple way to remember each of the values and reminds each of us of the importance of what we do each day.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to providing equal access to opportunities for students, employees, applicants for employment and other visitors. Salk has also adopted and maintains a policy to encourage professional and respectful workplace behavior and prevent discriminatory and harassing conduct in our workplace.

Accordingly, the Institute prohibits harassment and discrimination in employment on the basis of, and considers all qualified applicants for employment without regard to, actual or perceived race, color, religion, religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), genetic information, marital status, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, veteran and/or military status (disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam era, other covered veteran status), political affiliation, and any other status protected by state or federal law.

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