Job Description

Payroll Title:
PEDIATRICS/ Host-Microbe Systems and Therapeutics
Salary Range
Commensurate with Experience
La Jolla
Appointment Type:
Appointment Percent:
TX Contract
Total Openings:
Work Schedule:
Days, Variable, 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.

#109130 Lab Assistant

Filing Deadline: Tue 1/25/2022

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

UCSD Layoff from Career Appointment: Apply by 05/04/21 for consideration with preference for rehire. All layoff applicants should contact their Employment Advisor.

Special Selection Applicants: Apply by 05/13/21. Eligible Special Selection clients should contact their Disability Counselor for assistance.


The Division of Host-Microbe Systems & Therapeutics brings together a diverse group of scientists and physicians for interdisciplinary research on the interactions of humans and the microbial world in both health and disease. Fundamental principles of microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, -OMICs (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and the human microbiome) and state-of-the-art systems biology are focused on the pathogenesis of common childhood infectious diseases and inflammatory disorders, to inspire innovative discovery programs and translational studies of new drugs and interventions to restore optimal health in childhood and throughout life.

The Laboratory Assistant will be part of a dynamic preclinical behavioral neuroscience and microbiome group studying the gut-brain axis and mechanisms underlying several behaviors that are impaired in psychiatric disorders, like anhedonia, motivational deficits, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and biodrug dependence. Under supervision, the Laboratory Assistant will be responsible for assisting with and performing routine experimental procedures and testing of laboratory rats (ex. visceral pain model, depression and anxiety models) in various behavioral tasks including, but not limited to: behavioral observation tasks such as habituation, grooming, forced swim test, social avoidance, sucrose or alcohol preference, open field test, elevated plus maze, marble burying, and prepulse inhibition.

The Laboratory Assistant will prepare and administer experimental biodrugs to rats during testing via several routes of administration, which includes oral gavaging (predominantly); and intraperitoneal, subcutaneous, and intragastric (occasionally); will perform serial blood draws; and will extract, dissect, process, and section brain and cecal tissue from rats; and collect fecal samples. The Laboratory Assistant will also be expected to assist with or perform (if competent) survival surgeries involving, but not limited to: vagotomy and implantation of intracranial recording and stimulating electrodes for electrophysiological assessments. The Laboratory Assistant will collect, manage, analyze, and present data from all laboratory testing instruments.

Responsibilities will also include general lab maintenance, including maintaining clean and safe testing areas according to IACUC and EH&S policies and regulations, maintaining testing equipment, assisting with protocol amendments and routine lab inspections, and assisting with ordering and stocking of supplies. Depending on level of independence and intellectual input, there will be opportunities for the Laboratory Assistant to present research at scientific conferences, co-author scientific publications, and receive training and guidance for a career in academic or industry research.


  • Graduation from high school or a GED and two (2) years of laboratory experience or two (2) years of college including courses in the natural, physical or social sciences and one (1) year of laboratory experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience and knowledge and abilities essential to the successful performance of the duties assigned to the position.

  • Thorough knowledge of or experience with sterile/aseptic technique.

  • Proven ability to follow written and verbal protocols, techniques, and instructions. Strong organizational and troubleshooting skills, cooperative, enthusiastic and team-oriented, attention to detail and thoroughness in record keeping, ability to take initiative in maintaining and improving lab operations.

  • Ability to use basic laboratory equipment including centrifuges, balances, pH meters, fume hoods, and biosafety cabinets.

  • Knowledge of bio and chemical safety techniques and practices. Ability to follow established Safety and Biohazardous Material Guidelines and implement measures to ensure compliance and maintain associated records.

  • Proficient experience with the operation of a personal computer and software applications, such as Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access), Photoshop, Acrobat.

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Interact professionally and effectively in the work environment in person, on the phone, and in writing to diverse population; including persons from foreign countries, business community, academicians, students and staff with high degree of diplomacy, mature judgment, tact, and flexibility.

  • Strong knowledge of proper formats, grammar, and spelling in English. Proofreading ability sufficient to compose, edit, and publish professional correspondence and effectively and accurately document research procedures. Ability to read, comprehend, discuss, and present research materials.


  • Experience with rat handling, behavioral testing, injections (gavage and IP), euthanasia, blood collection, and tissue harvest.


  • Employment is subject to a criminal background check.
  • Must be willing to work with laboratory animals, including rodents.
  • Must be willing to work with animal tissues.
  • Must be willing to work with hazardous materials.
  • Must be willing to work occasional evenings, weekend days, and holidays, as required.

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.

Application Instructions

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