Job Description

Payroll Title:
Hiring Pay Scale
$24.88 - $27.28 / Hour
East Campus
Appointment Type:
Appointment Percent:
RX Contract
Total Openings:
Work Schedule:
Days, 8 hrs/day, Monday-Friday

#122098 Staff Research Associate

Initial Review Date: Wed 3/29/2023

UC San Diego values equity, diversity, and inclusion. If you are interested in being part of our team, possess the needed licensure and certifications, and feel that you have most of the qualifications and/or transferable skills for a job opening, we strongly encourage you to apply.

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 03/17/2023 for consideration with preference for rehire. All layoff applicants should contact their Employment Advisor.

Special Selection Applicants: Apply by 03/29/2023. Eligible Special Selection clients should contact their Disability Counselor for assistance.


The School of MedicineThe UCSD School of Medicine is one of the nation’s most prestigious medical schools and a preeminent institution for education, biomedical research, and clinical care. The School of Medicine’s faculty of 1,400 physicians and researchers are consistently ranked in the top two nationally in research funding per faculty member. UC San Diego Health Sciences encompasses the School of Medicine, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and UCSD Medical Center. As a top-tier academic medical center, its role is to provide leadership in improving health through research, education and patient care. UC San Diego Health Sciences has long been at the forefront of "bench-to-bedside" research, transforming patient care through discovery and innovation leading to new drugs and technologies.

Facility/EnvironmentThe Zarrinpar laboratory is located in the new and beautifully built Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) at UCSD. The laboratory environment consists of over 3500 ft2 of contiguous space and includes new state of the art laboratory resources; benches, common equipment, tissue culture rooms, cold room, and procedure rooms. The open lab structure of ACTRI fosters constant scientific exchange among some of the most talented researchers. The floor is shared with Alan Saltiel, a world-renowned diabetes and obesity expert and the Director of the Institute for Diabetes and Metabolic Health (IDMH), and the laboratory collaborates closely with Rob Knight, Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation.

The Zarrinpar laboratory is part of the IDMH, as well as the Center for Human Nutrition, Center for Microbiome Innovation, UCSD Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI), Moores Cancer Center, and UCSD Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (DERC). All of this provides a rich and diverse environment which allows for great innovative discovery.

Incumbent will work as Staff Research Associate in the laboratory of Amir Zarrinpar, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, which studies how gut physiology and the gut microbiota interact to cause metabolic disorders, like diabetes, obesity, or atherosclerosis (heart disease). The gut microbiota play important roles in both normal physiological processes and pathological conditions as varied as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. The aim is to understand what the microbes do to drive these conditions. In addition to the gut microbiome, the lab studies which factors in the intestinal lumen and gut gene expression are important for an animal’s metabolism. The lab performs experiments to help determine what the gut microbiome, and intestinal signaling, are doing to protect against ailments or to worsen disease.

Under supervision, assist staff personnel with performing studies on human and rodent samples from multiple projects, using standard protocol for RNA/DNA isolation, ELISAs and multiplex assays, PCR/q-PCR/qRT-PCR, preparing RNA and DNA libraries for next generation sequencing, and protocols for histology and immunohistochemistry. Assist with in vivo and in vitro microbiome/microbiology studies performing routine protocols using sterile technique, making solid media plates, collecting and culturing stool samples, and bacterial colony counting. Assist with maintaining mouse colony for breeding for the lab and genotyping transgenic mice. Assist with lab maintenance, ordering and maintaining supplies, and equipment. Prepare buffers and solutions as needed. Assist with laboratory environmental health and safety activities, including, chemical waste and biological waste disposal.


  • Theoretical knowledge of Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Microbiology, or a related field.

  • Experience performing scientific experiments with mice and/or mice tissue.

  • Experience with basic laboratory equipment such as pipetting devices, centrifuges, electrophoresis equipment, balances, pH meters, spectrophotometers, dishwashers, and autoclaves, which include experience in performing mathematical calculations including computing molarities, dilutions, etc. Skill, ability and willingness to learn new laboratory techniques and use of new lab equipment rapidly and as needed.

  • Enthusiasm for learning and genuine interest in scientific research. Willingness and ability to learn new skills, research methods, and scientific principles. Ability to take direction, be detail-oriented and follow step-wise instruction.

  • Excellent organizational skills including ability to keep clear and accurate records, organize a varied workload, and give oral presentations on the progress of research.

  • Ability to work independently or collaboratively on a research project. Ability to maintain a high level of motivation to contribute to cutting edge research, and seek and learn new experimental methods as required.

  • Experience with molecular biology techniques (e.g., PCR, qRT-PCR, DNA/RNA purification, gel electrophoresis, protein isolation) with the ability to carry out a variety of technical procedures with minimal instruction or supervision.


  • Experience maintaining mouse colonies and genotyping mice for the lab including maintenance of transgenic lines and knowledge of humane methods of caring for lab animals. Sensitivity to the needs of laboratory animals in compliance to AAALAC standards.
  • Experience performing metabolic experiments in mice including performing glucose and insulin tolerance tests, genotyping, submandibular bleeds, tail bleeds, oral gavage, intraperitoneal injections, subcutaneous injections, proper euthanasia techniques, animal dissection and organ harvesting, and using available equipment for body composition assessment.
  • Experience in preparing multiplex immunoassays and using multiplex systems.
  • Experience with bacteriological techniques, aseptic handling of bacteria, and maintaining a contamination free laboratory environment.
  • Experience with bacterial transformation, transduction, and/or conjugation.


  • Employment is subject to a criminal background check.
  • Must be willing to work with mice as an experimental model.
  • Must be willing to work occasional evenings and weekends (for circadian experiments).
  • Must be willing to work with biohazardous material including bacteria and samples from mice and humans.

Pay Transparency Act

Annual Full Pay Range: $51,949 - $61,972 (will be prorated if the appointment percentage is less than 100%)

Hourly Equivalent: $24.88 - $29.68

Factors in determining the appropriate compensation for a role include experience, skills, knowledge, abilities, education, licensure and certifications, and other business and organizational needs. The Hiring Pay Scale referenced in the job posting is the budgeted salary or hourly range that the University reasonably expects to pay for this position. The Annual Full Pay Range may be broader than what the University anticipates to pay for this position, based on internal equity, budget, and collective bargaining agreements (when applicable).

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.

UC San Diego Health maintains a marijuana and drug free environment. Employees may be subject to drug screening.

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