Job Description

Payroll Title:
Salary Range
Commensurate with Experience
La Jolla
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Work Schedule:
Days, 8 hrs/day, Monday-Friday

As a federally-funded institution, UC San Diego Health maintains a marijuana and drug free campus. New employees are subject to drug screening.

#113399 Director, Nikon Imaging Center

Extended Review Date: Wed 1/12/2022

For the safety and well-being of the entire university community, the University of California requires, with few exceptions, that all students, faculty and staff be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and influenza before they will be allowed on campus or in a facility or office. For more information visit: Flu Vaccine Mandate / COVID Vaccine Policy

Special Selection Applicants: Apply by 12/21/21. Eligible Special Selection clients should contact their Disability Counselor for assistance.


This position will lead efforts related to running, enriching, and expanding the Nikon Imaging Center (NIC) at UC San Diego. The NIC is an established recharge facility that supports dozens of labs across a range of departments, divisions and schools. This includes the Health Sciences campus, the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Divisions of Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences. The Director will direct, implement, and take the lead for management of the NIC. They will be responsible for the achievement of broadly stated goals developed with the NIC Faculty Oversight Committee, consisting of faculty from the Medical School and the main campus. The Director will develop strategies and policies, oversee resources, and function with a high degree of autonomy.

The NIC Director will coordinate and develop collaboration strategies with local, national and international research groups to advance microscopy efforts and techniques. This position will also develop relationships with local biotechnology companies interested in advancing their imaging efforts. In partnership with the NIC faculty leadership, UC San Diego faculty and other local research groups, the Director will develop and submit original research proposals to government and private agencies to secure funding to advance all aspects of microscopy and imaging technology development, including instrumentation, labeling and probe, specimen preparation, and data refinement and analysis. The Director regularly leads projects of critical importance to the organization; these projects carry substantial consequences of success or failure. He/she will direct programs with organization-wide impact (or may have impact beyond the University) that include formulating strategies and administering policies, processes, and resources. Significant barriers to entry exist at this level.

The Director will provide training and mentoring for technical staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. The Director with work with users to optimize experimental conditions for the equipment present in the facility and will consult with faculty in designing/refining imaging approaches in grant applications. They will host, plan and participate in teaching courses and workshops targeted to the community and in partnership with Nikon. They will lead and mentor training and outreach activities at major meetings as well as building and strengthening collaborations with external researchers both at UCSD and elsewhere including industrial and pharmaceutical relations.

The Director will recommend new technical areas to be explored and identify synergies in existing areas to promote collaboration and expansion of services.

The Director will develop and implement standards to ensure compliance with regulatory agencies and/or with the contract/ Nikon service agreement. They must articulate novel technical directions that shape the development, provide project management leadership, and participate in the planning of center goals.

The Director will manage the recharge facility for university wide, industry investigators, and external academic use. They will track resource metrics (usage, income, expense, publications and funding) and assemble monthly and yearly progress reports for both Nikon and the Faculty Oversight Committee.

They take a leadership role in independently managing and developing a large, complex academic or research program of high visibility. Develops vision and establishes agenda to achieve research objectives. Oversees all elements of program administration. Collaborates across multiple research groups. Provides leadership in identifying outreach services. With faculty formulates program strategies and goals, directs long-term planning, and develops policies and procedures. Defines and implements publications program in support of the overall program. Is considered a subject matter expert of the organization and is recognized as an expert externally in the field.

The NIC is housed on the UC San Diego Health Science Campus, which is a $1+ billion dollar organization encompassing 16 academic departments (14 clinical, 2 basic sciences), two pre-academic/hospital departments, two professional schools (School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences), two hospitals, and various other programs and units all dedicated towards fulfilling the Health Sciences missions. The Director position is formally in the UCSD Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM), which is one of two basic science units in the School of Medicine where world-class researchers study fundamental cellular processes and pathways using a variety of techniques from classical genetics and fluorescence microscopy to high-throughput genomics, systems biology, and crystallography. The diverse mix of ages, backgrounds, and talents creates a robust work environment with challenging career opportunities and a commitment to continued growth potential. We constantly seek to recruit highly motivated, technologically-advanced, and deeply interested individuals who are ready to become a part of our dynamic research and educational environment.


  • 13 years combined relevant professional experience, education and training, OR an advanced degree in related area plus seven years of related experience/training.

  • Academic background and recognized expertise in selected area of research. Ph.D. in biology or an equivalent combination of education and practical (5+ years of hands-on) experience in core facility management and developing/ integrating new, leading-edge microscopy and imaging technologies.

  • Demonstrated expertise with program building within a leading academic institution for handling administrative, budgetary, human resources and financial principles and practices.

  • Expert verbal and written communication and presentation skills. Writing skills appropriate to the creation of clear and persuasive scientific grant proposals and clear communications to colleagues in computational science, IT, and allied fields, as well as to technical and clerical employees. Communication skills that lend themselves to clear and persuasive presentations to peer review groups, funding organizations, industry, vendors, and other sponsoring agencies.

  • Demonstrated expertise building collaborations between academia, industrial and/or governmental agencies.

  • Leadership experience in higher education and/or government agencies.

  • Expert negotiation skills.

  • Successful development, writing, and publication of multi-authored professional publications.

  • Experience in designing, implementing and maintaining laboratory space dedicated for advanced microscopy; including multi-photon, super-resolution, etc.

  • Strong theoretical and practical knowledge of basic and advanced micro and macroscopic techniques (brightfield, phase-contrast, DIC, Hoffman, fluorescence, plasmon resonance, single and multi-photon and spinning disk confocal, light-sheet, high-content, super-resolution, TIRF, and all related techniques). Ability to train others in these techniques to a high degree of proficiency.

  • Strong theoretical and practical knowledge of aspects of small animal imaging including intravital imaging, bioluminescence, fluorescence, x-ray, ultrasound, µPET and µCT.

  • Innovative approaches to broadening collaborative applications of molecular probes for state-of-the-art light (and correlative modalities). This calls for a very broad understanding at a sophisticated level of common genetic and cell biology model systems (nematodes, drosophila, yeast, fungi, plants and small animal systems).

  • Demonstrated success in writing and receiving grants.

  • Strong theoretical and practical knowledge of basic and advanced image acquisition and analysis tools including Nikon Elements, JOBS, FIJI, ImageJ, ImagePro, Metamorph, Slidebook, Zen, Leica, Micromanager and open source/scalable implementations in Python, Anaconda and Matlab.

  • Advanced experience in directing/managing a multi-department/college shared core facility with more more than 200 users annually

  • Strong experience in coordinating efforts with other members of the imaging and imaging-related community to further the research goals and to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the respective facilities.

  • Significant experience acquiring and maintaining approved vendor/University partnerships. Experience negotiating price and contractual agreements with vendors, ensuring operational/ research needs (values and benefits) drive the decision making process. Proven ability to function as a liaison with vendors and outside researchers about emerging technologies and research opportunities/synergies.

  • Expert level experience in managing research projects and leading and motivating a team of professional scientists and technical staff. Strong theoretical and practical knowledge of live-cell imaging. Ability to train staff and manage the operation of all aspects of the technology, including specimen preparation, automated collection and software control.

  • Strong theoretical and practical knowledge of the assessment of instrument performance. Ability to perform and track point spread function and signal-to-noise parameters.

  • Strong theoretical and practical knowledge of multiple commercially available optical imaging modalities and operational software, including optimal specimen preparatory techniques and instrument operations.

  • Experience using and updating Databases and spreadsheets (including SQL) - generating reports, graphs, and tables from tracked metrics.


  • Expert fundraising experience.


  • Employment is subject to a criminal background check.

Job offer is contingent on successful engagement in the UC COVID-19 Vaccination program (fully vaccinated with documented proof or approved exception/deferral).

UC San Diego Health Sciences is comprised of our School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, The Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, and our Student Health and Well-Being Department. We have long been at the forefront of translational - or "bench-to-bedside" - research, transforming patient care through discovery and innovation leading to new drugs and technologies. Translational research is carried out every day in the hundreds of clinical trials of promising new therapies offered through UC San Diego Health, and in the drive of our researchers and clinician-scientists who are committed to having a significant impact on patient care. We invite you to join our team!

Applications/Resumes are accepted for current job openings only. For full consideration on any job, applications must be received prior to the initial closing date. If a job has an extended deadline, applications/resumes will be considered during the extension period; however, a job may be filled before the extended date is reached.

UC San Diego Health is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, gender identity or sexual orientation. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

UC San Diego is a smoke and tobacco free environment. Please visit for more information.

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