Research Associate II at J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in La Jolla, California

Posted in General Business 28 days ago.

Type: Full-Time





Job Description:

Position Summary:

The Cheng lab at the JCVI is looking for a highly motivated Research Associate. Projects will focus on generation and development of 3D co-culture systems for modeling neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. We will apply single cell RNA-seq, single cell ATAC-seq and CRISPR perturbations to identify new molecular pathways involved in neurodegeneration. We are looking for highly self-motivated applicants with a strong interest in stem cell and neurodegeneration research.

About the Cheng lab

Dr. Cheng’s lab is interested in the development of a comprehensive understanding of the gene regulatory network and how aberrant gene regulatory circuits contribute to human disease. Her group carries out both wet-lab (experimental) and dry-lab (computational) research and utilize single cell transcriptomics and epigenetics to understand dysregulated gene regulatory circuitry in Alzheimer’s disease and substance use disorder.

Position Responsibilities:


  • Develop and optimize differentiation protocols for iPSC derived 3D organoid cultures.

  • Establish imaging assay and phenotypic assays for 3D co-culture models.

  • Perform single cell transcriptomics and single cell ATAC-seq assays on 3D co-culture models.

  • Performs basic and specialized molecular biology techniques with limited supervision of the scientific investigator. Techniques include one or more of the following: single cell RNA-seq assay, single cell ATAC-seq assay, cDNA library construction, PCR, RTPCR, restriction/modification enzymes, plasmid preparations, RNA preparations and purification, cloning and subcloning, and other general molecular biology techniques.

  • Maintains stocks of all reagents necessary for above techniques.

  • Keeps accurate written records and biological stocks representing work performed.

  • Performs daily maintenance of equipment for associated techniques.

  • Interacts with Investigators on experimental planning and analysis.

  • Participates in laboratory meetings.

  • Performs other related tasks as assigned.

  • Strictly adheres to all documented JCVI policies and procedures to include carrying out all functions required of Institute employees (i.e. completion of timesheets and effort surveys in an accurate and timely manner).

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required:


  • Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, or related field required; or an Associates of Arts degree with up to one year of related work experience required. Hands-on laboratory experience, preferably in an independent project preferred.

  • Experience with human mammalian cell culture is a plus.

  • Experience with directed differentiation towards neuronal and glial lineages is a plus.

  • Experience with CRISPR based gene editing is a plus.

  • Experience with imaging techniques is a plus.

  • Experience with assays for neuronal and glial cell functions is a plus.

  • Experience with next generation sequencing based assays is a plus.

  • Must be able to operate standard laboratory equipment such as balances, centrifuges, speed vac, spectrophotometer, and autoclave.

  • Familiarity with standard laboratory safety procedures.

  • Strong computer aptitude, including experience with word processing and spreadsheet software.

  • Must be able to read, comprehend and discuss relevant literature with co-workers.

  • Excellent organization and time management skills.

  • Flexibility to handle a variety of tasks and shift priorities simultaneously.

  • Strong interpersonal skills; ability to effectively interact with all levels of staff and external contacts; ability to work as an effective team member.

  • Cooperative and service-oriented attitude; must be able to work under pressure and maintain a professional demeanor.

  • Ability to use sound judgment to effectively solve problems within the scope of the position.

  • Shows initiative and has the ability to work with moderate supervision.

  • Superior verbal and written communications skills.

Work Environment
The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those a teammate encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


  • Moderate noise (i.e. business office with computers, phone, and printers, light traffic).

  • Ability to work in a confined area.

  • Ability to sit at a computer terminal for an extended period of time.

  • Ability to stand and/or sit for an extended period of time while working in the lab.

Physical Demands
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to, stand, sit; talk, hear, and use hands and fingers to operate a computer and telephone keyboard reach, stoop kneel to install computer equipment

  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision requirements due to computer and lab work.

  • Light to moderate lifting is required.