Job Description

Payroll Title:
Hiring Pay Scale
$30.89 - $49.68 / Hour
La Jolla
Appointment Type:
Appointment Percent:
RX Contract
Total Openings:
Work Schedule:
Days, 8 hour shifts, Monday - Friday

#125879 Staff Researcher

Filing Deadline: Tue 12/12/2023

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.

UCSD Layoff from Career Appointment: Apply by 10/13/2023 for consideration with preference for rehire. All layoff applicants should contact their Employment Advisor.

Special Selection Applicants: Apply by 10/25/2023. Eligible Special Selection clients should contact their Disability Counselor for assistance.


The Milk Analytics Core (MAC) is part of the Human Milk Institute (HMI), UC San Diego’s central hub to advance human milk from molecular discoveries to local and global public health impact.

At HMI, we bring organizations at the forefront of human milk research, clinical care, milk banking, education, and public and global health together to expand our understanding of human milk so we can apply that knowledge and improve lifelong health worldwide.

Our mission is to transform the approach to lifelong health for all people through human milk. We will pursue our mission through close collaboration with our partners and holding fast to our core values. We envision a future where human milk is the first and critical foundation for human life and equitable access to better health for the global community. We are laying the foundation for achieving this vision by establishing a world-class institute and creating a sustainable model for ongoing research into human milk.

One of HMI’s core pillars is its Milk Analytics Core (MAC). Human milk is dynamic, complex, and unique. Analyzing its composition is not trivial, and many of the current tools fail to provide the data researchers need. MAC is the source for human milk-specific protocols, assay development, and assay validation from the world’s leading experts. MAC fills the gap in human milk innovation, empowering our internal and external partners to transform human milk research and care.

Human milk is a complex tissue that requires specific collection protocols and analytical tools to characterize its composition accurately. Therefore, analytical platforms used to measure analytes in blood, plasma, or urine must be re-evaluated and validated to apply to human milk. Our goal is to offer assays that utilize already-established analytical platforms calibrated and validated for the unique nature of human milk.

We are designing a workflow that streamlines initiating and completing projects with ready-to-ship sample collection kits and collection protocols. On campus, we currently partner with the UC San Diego Microbiome Core for milk microbiome analysis and collaborate with the Pharmacometrics and Analytical Chemistry Core to measure drugs and metabolites in milk.

Our goal is for MAC to become a comprehensive human milk analytics resource, offering knowledge, skills, and technologies for the global research community, including UC San Diego collaborators, other academic institutions as well as commercial organizations.

Under general supervision, the research associate will independently perform all analysis and validation of human milk samples, including design and validation of assays and the design and analysis of experiments to measure human milk macronutrients (lipids, proteins, lactose) and micronutrients, bioactives including growth factors, hormones, cytokines, and chemokines, and unique human milk molecules, such as oligosaccharides (HMOs). The incumbent, under the supervision of the Executive Director, will help set up, maintain, and manage the Milk Analytics Core and be responsible for all data analyses, protocol standardization and writing best practices, development and standardization of new assays, project prioritization, ordering/quoting equipment, organizing equipment/supplies, equipment maintenance, and training new personnel. We expect the incumbent to make contributions to the innovative research of the MAC, including authorship on papers and assistance with writing of grant proposals. Performs other duties as assigned.

The SRA will report to the HMI Executive Director with guidance from the HMI Director, Dr. Lars Bode.


  • Advanced theoretical knowledge of biochemistry, biology, molecular biology or nutrition science as typically attained by an advanced degree.

  • Proven ability to perform scientific procedures including mass spec (specifically, ICP-MS), molecular biology techniques, immunoassays, blotting, HPLC.

  • Demonstrated experience with biospecimen processing and analysis.

  • Proven experience of sample preparation of for analysis of macromolecules, micromolecules, and bioactives in liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, data acquisition, and interpretation of mass spectra using different bioinformatic tools.

  • Demonstrated experience in high-throughput screening and proteomic/peptidomic analyses.

  • Demonstrated experience analyzing research projects, gather and evaluate data, determine solutions, and provide recommendations.

  • Extensive experience in experimental design. Ability to create compliance manuals and study guides, and ensure staff compliance to these manuals, as well as recommend and design methods for improving research quality.

  • Advanced knowledge in the use of MAC and window platforms: (e.g., Excel, Prism, Adobe, Word, Endnote, Power Point, etc).

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Ability to conduct presentations and draft professional, scientific manuscripts. Independently prepare summary reports regarding data quality.

  • Demonstrated experience in analyzing research experiments on gene and protein expression.

  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and rapidly learn from others and the literature.

  • Exceptional organizational, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, and long-range planning skills with meticulous attention to detail, ability to identify future contingencies, and the ability to effectively prioritize workload and meet required deadlines despite frequent interruptions and competing demands.

  • Demonstrated leadership ability and ability to meet deadlines and objectives.


  • PhD. in biological sciences, molecular biology biochemistry and/or analytical chemistry.

  • Experience with analysis of human milk.

  • Good social interaction skills and ability to speak lay language about lab research.


  • Employment is subject to a criminal background check.

  • Occasional evenings and weekends may be required.

  • Available to work extensive hours.

  • Must work with hazardous materials.

Pay Transparency Act

Annual Full Pay Range: $64,506 - $103,727 (will be prorated if the appointment percentage is less than 100%)

Hourly Equivalent: $30.89 - $49.68

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).

If employed by the University of California, you will be required to comply with our Policy on Vaccination Programs, which may be amended or revised from time to time. Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

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!

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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:

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