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

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
La Jolla, CA
Closing date
Aug 9, 2022

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Job Location is at 10255 Science Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92121 or 10010 N Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037

The 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 phenotype plant traits for conducting genetic analysis and confirm trait changes of genetic changes.

The Research Assistant I will work closely with a more experienced-level Research Assistant, and other members of the CRoPS project and the Busch laboratory conduct screening of root traits to identify genetic mechanisms that lead to optimal root systems for carbon sequestration. Responsibilities include: plant maintenance and manipulation, image acquisition, trait measurement, optimizing protocols for plant growth and plant measurements, data analysis, and troubleshooting.


(100%) Research and Lab Support
  • Under supervision, conducts molecular cloning and generates transgenic Arabidopsis plants
  • Genotypes and phenotypes plants
  • Performs RNA extractions and gene expression analysis
  • Performs plant tissue dissection and staining
  • Optimizes protocols and experiments
  • Performs image quality analysis using imaging software


  • No professional experience required with relevant degree

  • 1 year related lab experience in biology (preferably plant biology)


  • Bachelor's degree in Biological sciences, or equivalent.


  • Theoretical and hands on knowledge of relevant biology techniques.
  • Ability to research information and analyze data to arrive at valid conclusions.
  • Ability to learn and carry out new experimental procedures with accuracy and efficiency. Demonstrated ability to follow verbal and/or written protocols, including follow-up on previously begun procedures.
  • Ability to operate and maintain various lab equipment.
  • After initial instruction, ability to follow directions and perform routine 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.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with both PC and MAC operating systems, standard business office equipment and commonly used software and tools, such as Microsoft Office, electronic mail, and the internet.
  • Highly organized, effective at multitasking, adept at juggling changing priorities

  • Experience in plant research
  • Experience with image manipulation in imaging software
  • Experience with molecular cloning software

  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support research needs.
  • Successful completion of the Institute's background investigation
  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment, although this specific position is with a plant biology-focused laboratory.
  • Willing to sign an employee confidentiality agreement.


This position will be constantly handling, seeing and sitting.

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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