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Research Assistant 2

Case Western Reserve University
Broadview Heights, OH
Closing date
Jan 29, 2023

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Job Description

Working under general supervision, the Research Assistant 2 will plan and carry out research that focuses on determining the internal organization of virus particles. The objective of this research is the construction of HIV-1 particles labeled with minimal fluorescent tags, using Genetic Code Expansion (GCE) technology, for high resolution fluorescence imaging. This will involve designing a series of labels in select HIV-1 proteins, optimization of protocols for the production of labeled viral particles, and characterization of the produced viruses using quantitative biochemical and virologic approaches. Overall, the studies aim to enable high resolution fluorescence imaging HIV-1 viruses in vitro as well as following infection. The imaging studies, using novel fluorescence microscopy approaches, will be performed in external collaborations.

  1. Plan and carry out project in accordance with general plans. Produce and characterize tagged HIV-1 virions. Design and construct retro- and HIV-1-based vectors incorporating minimal tags using innovative cloning techniques. Produce minimally labeled viral particles using Genetic Code Expansion technology (GCE) and characterize their biochemical composition and virologic properties using quantitative approaches such as western blotting and infectivity assays. Experiments will be performed in both established and primary human cells under BL2 and BL2+ containment conditions. (50%)
  2. Conduct a series of experiments to supply scientific information as part of a larger project. Plan and carry out quality control of recombinant viruses produced using biochemical approaches, flow cytometry, and fluorescent microscopy. Process specimens for subsequent high-resolution fluorescent microscopy analyses. Collect and analyze data. (10%)
  3. May assist in developing improved techniques, projection methods or procedures designed to produce proteins tags using GCE technology. (10%)
  4. Maintain accurate and thorough records of the experimental protocols developed, detailed descriptions of experiments performed and the obtained research data. Provide research data and figures to the principal investigator for use in presentations, progress reports, manuscripts and grant applications. (10%)
  5. Oversee inventory. Maintain test equipment utilized in experiments and ensure instruments are kept in working order. Order laboratory supplies. Maintain and order stock reagents and supplies used in the laboratory. (6%)
  6. Train new staff in standard laboratory practices and relevant research techniques, direct the work of graduate students involved in studies relevant to this research project. (9%)


Perform other duties as assigned. (5%)


Department: Daily contact with supervisor to discuss research and maintain workflow.

University: Occasional contact with other departments to share information.

External: Limited or no contact with vendors to exchange information.

Students: Occasional contact with student employees to exchange information.


This position has no direct supervision of staff employees. Train new staff; direct the work of students.


Education and experience: Bachelor's degree and 1 to 3 years of related experience or Associate's degree in an approved biotechnology program and 2 to 4 years of experience required.

  1. Practical knowledge and understanding of commonly used concepts, practices and procedures within the biochemistry, molecular-genetics and/or virology fields.
  2. Possession of the following basic technical skills: sterile technique; reagent and media preparation, cell culture, DNA transfection, preparation of plasmid DNA, molecular cloning, western blotting, PCR, and production of retroviral/lentiviral vectors.
  3. Must be compliant with applicable regulatory guidelines.
  4. Ability to operate laboratory equipment including, flow cytometer and QPCR.
  5. Familiarity with standard laboratory safety policies and procedures.
  6. Proficiency in Microsoft Office.
  7. Ability to meet consistent attendance.
  8. Ability to interact with colleagues and supervisors face to face.


The employee will be working in a laboratory in the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology. Experiments using retroviral vectors and viruses will be carried out under BSL2/BSL2+ conditions. There are no unusual hazards; possible exposure to the usual hazards in the form of general chemicals, infectious agents, bloodborne pathogens, paraformaldehyde, phenol, chloroform, methanol, ethidium bromide, ultraviolet light and sonication. Required personal protective equipment includes a standard lab coat, gloves and safety glasses when appropriate. The employee will need to be able to lift up to 25 lbs., bend/stoop, kneel, crouch, push, pull and reach above shoulders. The employee will use repetitive motion, including pipetting and the use of a keyboard and computer mouse while performing job duties.

Diversity Statement
In employment, as in education, Case Western Reserve University is committed to Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Women, veterans, members of underrepresented minority groups, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Reasonable Accommodations
Case Western Reserve University provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the Office of Equity at 216-368-3066 to request a reasonable accommodation. Determinations as to granting reasonable accommodations for any applicant will be made on a case-by-case basis.

COVID Vaccination
Case Western Reserve University has implemented a COVID Vaccination policy requiring evidence of COVID-19 vaccination for all students, faculty and staff with an on-campus presence. Religious and medical exemptions may be provided in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. For more information go to: Applicants may contact the Office of Equity at 216-368-3066 / for information regarding religious or medical exemptions as an accommodation.
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