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Research Associate I - Viral Tools Pipeline - Molecular Genetics

Department: Molecular Genetics

Research Associate I – Viral Tools Pipeline – Molecular Genetics


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

We are working to establish a high-throughput Institute pipeline focused on AAV-based cell type targeting tools. The pipeline will serve many Institute projects and ultimately aims to create of an arsenal of viral genetic tools for basic research and translational applications. We are seeking an enthusiastic research associate to help with the establishment and functioning on the pipeline. The new research associate will build, screen, and validate AAV-based genetic tools in primarily mouse. This individual should be highly organized with great attention to detail, thrive in a fast-paced, team environment, and be excited about developing tools for brain cell types. This role will be supported by a newly awarded BRAIN grant from the NIH, which aims to generate an open-access AAV toolbox for Basal Ganglia cell types and circuits.

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

  • Generate AAV vectors using standard molecular cloning techniques
  • Deliver AAVs into the mouse brain via retro-orbital or direct brain injections
  • Evaluate transgene expression in the brain using fluorescence microscopy, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and multiplex fluorescence in situ hybridization (mFISH)
  • Perform tasks in a highly structured and efficient manner in a timeline- and milestone-driven environment
  • Perform data entry into internal databases (LIMS) and electronic tracking documents
  • Generate figures and presentations for team and larger group meetings
  • Contribute to 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

  • Bachelors degree in Neurobiology, Genetics, Biochemistry or related discipline
  • Experience with molecular techniques (i.e. cloning, PCR)
  • Experience with histological techniques (immunohistochemistry and fixed tissue imaging)
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

Preferred Education and Experience

  • At least one year working in a research lab environment
  • Proficiency with recombinant DNA construction software (Geneious, Vector NTI) and Adobe Software (Photoshop and Illustrator)
  • Experience with vector and primer design
  • Experience working with mouse models and handling rodents
  • Ability to multitask and work in teams
  • Ability to work independently and within a collaborative, multi-disciplinary environment
  • Ability to analyze, trouble-shoot, and do simple math calculations
  • Positive attitude and self-motivated
  • Outstanding communication and organization skills

Work Environment

  • Working in a Biosafety level II laboratory environment-possible exposure to chemical, biological, or other hazardous substances
  • Working with laboratory animals (mouse) and animal specimens (mouse and non-human primate)

Physical Demands

  • Occasional lifting up to 30 pounds  
  • Fine motor movements in fingers/hands to operate computers and other office equipment; repetitive motion with lab equipment
  • Frequently required to sit, stand, walk, stoop, kneel or reach

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

  • 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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