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Research Associate I - Viral Tools for Targeting Primate Brain Cell Types

Department: Human Cell Types

Research Associate I – Viral tools for targeting primate brain cell types – Human Cell Types


The mission of the Allen Institute is to unlock the complexities of bioscience and advance our knowledge to improve human health. Using an open science, multi-scale, team-oriented approach, the Allen Institute focuses on accelerating foundational research, developing standards and models, and cultivating new ideas to make a broad, transformational impact on science.

The mission of the Allen Institute for Brain Science is to accelerate the understanding of how the human brain works in health and disease. Using a big science approach, we generate useful public resources, drive technological and analytical advances, and discover fundamental brain properties through integration of experiments, modeling, and theory.

The Viral Genetic Tools team at the Allen Institute for Brain Science generates high-precision genetic tools to effectively target, monitor, and manipulate distinct cell types within the brain. These genetic tools enable the analysis of the structure and function of neural circuits and represent foundational resources for the neuroscience community. 

We are seeking a highly motivated researcher to support non-human primate brain tissue processing, histology, imaging, and data analysis. The Research Associate I will contribute to efforts to screen and validate novel cell type enhancers in the non-human primate brain as part of a 3-year NIH BRAIN Initiative funded project. The development of novel cell type targeting tools may also lead to breakthroughs in Human Gene Therapy for the treatment of debilitating neurological disorders.  The Research Associate I hire will have the opportunity to work collaboratively across teams and to synergize with efforts in our nascent CNS Gene Therapy team.

The Allen Institute believes that team science significantly benefits from the participation of diverse voices, experiences, and backgrounds. High-quality science can only be produced when it includes different perspectives. We are committed to increasing diversity across every team and encourage people from all backgrounds to apply for this role.

Essential Functions

  • Assist with brain tissue collection and processing
  • Manage planning and execution of brain tissue histology experiments
  • Evaluate cell-type specificity using fluorescence microscopy and antibody staining
  • Apply quantitative approaches for assessing cell-type specificity of labeling (with training)
  • Present a periodic summary of progress to the research community in the organization
  • Uphold rigorous standards, including detailed lab notebook records of all experiments
  • Contribute to progress reports, scientific publications, and grant applications

Note: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. This description reflects management’s assignment of essential functions; it does not proscribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned.

Required Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in neuroscience or related field
  • Basic knowledge of standard histological methods
  • Experience with tissue-based imaging methods, i.e., epifluorescence or confocal microscopy
  • Basic knowledge of molecular biology, i.e., DNA extraction from tissue and Sanger sequencing
  • Highly motivated researcher, comfortable operating independently?
  • Ability to work in a timeline, milestone-driven, and team-centric environment
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Ability to write and execute standard operating procedures
  • Proficiency in MS Office programs i.e., Word, Excel, Powerpoint

Preferred Education and Experience

  • 1 – 2 years research experience in a related field
  • Basic knowledge of mammalian brain anatomy
  • Basic knowledge of stereotaxic injection techniques
  • Experience performing experiments with diverse mammalian species including human and/or non-human primates
  • Experience with viral vectors and/or virus delivery methods in mammals.
  • Experience with ImageJ software

Work Environment

  • Laboratory environment, including potential exposure to lasers, biohazards, live animals

Physical Demands

  • Occasional lifting to 30 pounds
  • Fine motor movements in fingers/hands to operate computers and other office equipment; repetitive motion with lab equipment

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

  • Occasional evening and weekend hours required  
  • This role is currently working onsite and remotely when possible, due to COVID-19 and our focus on employee safety. We continue to evaluate the safest options for our employees.

Additional Comments

  • **Please note, this opportunity does not sponsor work visas **
  • **Please note, this opportunity may offer relocation assistance**


It is the policy of the Allen Institute to provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, the Allen Institute will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.





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