Research Technician - Chemistry

    • Ashburn, VA

Lab Overview:

The Tool Translation Team is a collaborative research group whose mission is to enable the use of novel molecular research tools in discovery science. The Team works closely with the Lavis Lab, a leader in using organic chemistry to solve biological problems, located at the world-class research institution Janelia Research Campus. The Lavis lab designs and synthesizes novel fluorescent molecules and then works with the Tool Translation Team and biologists around the world to deploy in cells, tissue, and intact animals. The ideal Research Technician is a recent Bachelor degree-level graduate who wants to spend 1-2 years in a dynamic research environment before graduate school. Some experience in organic synthesis is desired but not essential-we will teach you what you need to know.


Under general supervision, carry out multistep synthesis of small-molecule organic compounds. Perform preliminary interpretation of results and determine whether they are consistent with experimental goals. Review literature. Assemble and organize data and assist in the interpretation of that data for eventual publication. Prepare various research dye stocks and participate in their worldwide distribution.

Representative Essential Duties and Responsibilities (specific duties will depend on needs of the laboratory):

  1. Carryout multistep syntheses of organic molecules including reaction setup, work up, purification, and analysis of products. May work with biochemical samples such as DNA, RNA, or protein samples for experimental purposes
  2. Collect, record, organize and verify the accuracy of data in a laboratory notebook. Use software applications to assemble, format data and/or perform statistical analysis for eventual publication
  3. Analyze data, formulate conclusions and create appropriate statistical presentations, including graphs and charts, and prepare and present written or oral progress reports regarding studies
  4. Prepare, aliquot, and maintain dye stocks for their distribution to research labs worldwide as part of HHMI's commitment to open science
  5. Energetically interact with other Janelia scientists with the goal of initiating collaborative projects regarding the use and implementation of molecular research tools
  6. Configure, operate, and maintain laboratory apparatus and instruments
  7. Order chemicals, reagents, and other laboratory supplies as needed
  8. Participate in and actively contribute to laboratory meetings and planning sessions
  9. Conduct literature reviews applicable to research areas
  10. Perform the duties of a Research Technician I as required

Organizational Scope and Impact of Position:

Contributes to research results on an on-going basis. Manages routine aspects of research projects and distribution of dyes. Influences short range and limited scope activities. Some errors may not be caught due to level of autonomy; however, individual is supervised to contain errors. Plays a significant, but not central role in the success of the unit.

Interactions with Others:

Organizes projects within workload to ensure goals are met. Meets routinely with supervisor. Brings conflict to the attention of supervisor for resolution. Actively contributes information and opinions to formal and informal problem-solving process. Able to train others in specialized tasks within his/her own area of expertise. Serve as an informal liaison from the Tool Translation Team to other scientists at Janelia.


Education and Experience:
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry or related field
  • Two to four years of related research experience; or, an advanced degree in an appropriate area of science or technology and one or more years of related laboratory experience preferred
  • Experience with multi-step organic synthesis is preferred

Knowledge/Understanding/Skills & Abilities:
  • Ability to take initiative, prioritize tasks, work independently, use good judgment, and monitor completion of assigned duties
  • Ability to operate complex scientific equipment
  • General understanding of the underlying chemical principles involved in the research activities
  • Ability to maintain an accurate laboratory notebook
  • Appropriately developed communication and social skills to function in a collaborative environment
  • Actively seeks opportunities to increase skills and expertise
  • Ability to learn complex tasks with general instruction. Able to use experience to perform a variety of new techniques

HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute advances biomedical research and science education.

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