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Research Assistant I

Department Description: The Kirby laboratory ( is seeking a Research Assistant to begin ideally in late May or June 2019 to help develop rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing technology. In hospitals, we start treatment of bacterial infections based on our best guess as to which therapies may be active. However, with increasingly drug-resistant infections, those guesses may be wrong with dire consequences. We can isolate the bacterial pathogens and test for what drugs may be active. However, current techniques yield an answer in 2 to 5 days. That is too long! Patients may suffer severely or die unless we get them on the correct antibiotics quickly. Therefore, we have developed a platform called MAST (described elsewhere in our website in more detail) that determines which drugs are active in 3 to 4 hours or less. The research assistant would help develop and validate the MAST technology and related rapid susceptibility technology and platforms.

I expect that the research assistant would also be involved in molecular biology projects (cloning, gene expression and analysis, site direct mutagenesis) to understand bacterial drug resistance, such as multidrug-resistance efflux pumps, and support assays that allow us to characterize new antibiotics under development in our research laboratory that are active against Gram-negative pathogens for which there are either no or limited therapeutic options (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida auris). All of the work in the laboratory is highly collaborative and has medical translation. Help us address the antibiotic resistance crisis!

We welcome motivated applicants who wish to learn a lot about biology and experimental techniques. We are a highly collaborative group. Recent or upcoming college graduates who wish to pursue future graduate or medical studies welcome.

Job Location: Boston, MA

Req ID: 29212BR

Job Summary: Under supervision of the principal investigator, conducts a variety of routine experiments using molecular, cell biology and/or biochemistry techniques. Records test results, calculates, transcribes, and analyzes data using basic statistics.

Essential Responsibilities:
  1. Conducts routine tests following established procedures, which may include assays, DNA sequencing, tissue culture, protein purification, Southern blotting, PCR analysis, electrophoresis, chromatography.
  2. Researches and collects basic study data through monitoring devices and maintains daily logs/basic records of methodologies and test results. With supervision, using databases, may summarize data and interpret results using descriptive statistics and basic hypothesis testing.
  3. May write standard operating procedures for documentation and make informal presentations of these procedures to others in the lab.
  4. Performs literature searches and library investigations as they relate to the research and/or as assigned.
  5. Due to the dynamic environment in which research exists, must show flexibility in performing principal duties and responsibilities as research projects evolve.
Required Qualifications:
  1. Bachelor's degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Life Science or a related scientific field required.
  2. 0-1 years related work experience required.
  3. Familiarity with basic laboratory instruments and equipment, computers (databases, spreadsheets, statistics) and scientific procedures.
  4. Basic familiarity with computers. Ability to navigate at a basic level within web-based applications.
  1. Decision Making: Ability to make decisions that are based on specific instructions, standard practices and established procedures which generally require little or no supervision.
  2. Problem Solving: Ability to address problems that are routine, somewhat repetitive and generally solved by following clear directions and procedures and by identifying opportunities for process improvements.
  3. Independence of Action: Ability to follow general instructions and procedures as provided. Work is monitored by supervisor/manager.
  4. Written Communications: Ability to communicate clearly and effectively in written English with internal and external customers.
  5. Oral Communications: Ability to understand spoken English in order to follow basic safety instructions and take direction from supervisors; communicate effectively in basic English with patients, families and medical center staff in response to routine questions.
  6. Knowledge: Ability to demonstrate basic knowledge of fundamental concepts, practices and procedures with the ability to use them in routine situations. Specialized knowledge not required.
  7. Team Work: Ability to interact respectfully with other employees, professional staff and/or external contacts to offer ideas, identify issues, obtain information or deliver services.
  8. Customer Service: Ability to demonstrate a positive attitude and respond to requests in a timely and respectful manner.

Physical Nature of the Job:
Light work: Exerting up to 20 pounds of force frequently to move objects. Some elements of the job are sedentary, but the employee will be required to stand for periods of time or move through out the hospital campus

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