Job Description

Payroll Title:
Salary Range
Commensurate with Experience
Appointment Type:
Appointment Percent:
RX 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.

#116347 Research Assistant

Extended Deadline: Fri 7/8/2022

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 05/26/2022 for consideration with preference for rehire. All layoff applicants should contact their Employment Advisor.

Special Selection Applicants: Apply by 06/07/2022. Eligible Special Selection clients should contact their Disability Counselor for assistance.


An exciting opportunity for a research assistant to join a vibrant, energetic, newly-established laboratory focused on breast cancer metastasis, situated on the UCSD medical school campus.

This position will work closely with the PI, assisting with planning and conducting projects as well as develop and pro-actively manage the laboratory’s operational infrastructure. Perfect for highly-motivated individuals seeking a career in cancer research, and who wish to play an instrumental role in developing a new laboratory.

The incumbent will assist in potential projects by employing established breast cancer cell lines and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models to examine stem-like breast cancer cell survival and 3D clonogenicity in vitro, as well as tumor initiation, recurrence and metastasis in mice +/- delivery of experimental therapeutics. Cutting-edge technologies such as single-cell RNA-Seq, proteomics and fresh patient tissues will also be used in future studies. Experience with these or similar techniques is highly desirable. The incumbent will assist in analyzing RNA and protein levels by QPCR or Western blot respectively, detecting proteins by antibody staining in live or fixed cells and tissues, tissue culture and aseptic technique, modifying gene expression with cDNA, shRNA or CRISPR and assays measuring cell survival and proliferation.

Experience handling, maintaining or injecting mice is preferred. Must possess skills to thrive in a fast-paced and dynamic research environment, including the ability to coordinate and manage multiple tasks simultaneously, work under constant deadlines and practice good time-management. Competitive candidates will be well-organized, detail-oriented and have outstanding communication skills. While primarily focused on research, additional duties include writing and updating protocols, maintaining lab stocks and equipment, as well as ensuring a safe working environment.


  • Enthusiasm for learning and a genuine interest in scientific research. Willingness and ability to learn new skills, research methods and scientific principles.

  • Detail-oriented. Ability to work with little supervision, follow verbal and/or written instructions and accurately record data.

  • Strong communication skills (both verbal and written) needed to interact professionally and effectively in the work environment. Ability to read, comprehend and discuss research materials.

  • Experienced with aseptic technique and mammalian tissue culture including preparing media, passaging cells with trypsin, and cryo-preserving cells in liquid nitrogen.

  • Ability and willingness to handle and work with small animals.

  • Familiar with basic methods of assessing RNA and protein levels, including harvest, calculating concentrations and analyzing by QPCR or Western Blot respectively.

  • Theoretical knowledge of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology.

  • Ability to adhere to established UCSD guidelines for safety and environmental issues including proper handling of chemical and biohazard materials.

  • Good computer skills including competency with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

  • Familiar with the care and use of basic laboratory equipment such as centrifuges, balances, pH meters, autoclaves and electrophoresis equipment.


  • Ability to perform antibody staining on cells or fixed tissues to detect proteins by flow cytometry or immunohistochemistry respectively.
  • Generally familiar with the care and use of microscopes, with specific experience in confocal microscopy to visualize protein localization in cells or tissues.
  • Experience working with controlled substances, such as anesthetics.
  • Experience performing minor mouse surgery, including anesthesia, cauterization, suture and wound-clip.
  • Familiar with different methods of drug administration in mice, such as intraperitoneal injection, oral gavage and intravenous delivery.
  • Specific experience with basic tumor biology techniques including soft agar clonogenic assays and tumor xenografts in mice.
  • Experience maintaining a mouse breeding colony.
  • Familiar with the UCSD online ordering system


  • Employment is subject to a criminal background check.
  • Must be willing and able to work with hazardous materials (biological and chemical).
  • Must be willing and able to work with small animals (mice).

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

If applicable, life-support certifications (BLS, NRP, ACLS, etc.) must include hands-on practice and in-person skills assessment; online-only certification is not acceptable.

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.

To foster the best possible working and learning environment, UC San Diego strives to cultivate a rich and diverse environment, inclusive and supportive of all students, faculty, staff and visitors. For more information, please visit UC San Diego Principles of Community.

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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