Research Associate I - Molecular Biology/Bioengineering

Cambridge, Massachusetts
We offer a competitive compensation and benefits package.
February 22 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

Research Associate I - Molecular Biology/Bioengineering​

Job Description

The Zhang Lab ( develops novel tools for reading and writing biology and applies these tools to study diseases including neurological disorders and cancer. We are looking to recruit a sharp, motivated research associate to work with a mentor on a project developing a novel form of oligonucleotide therapeutic.

The candidate should have a B.S. degree in the life sciences with at least 1 year of relevant undergraduate research experience, possessing a working understanding of molecular biology principles and research techniques. The candidate will be primarily involved with learning and applying molecular biology, cell biology, optical, computational, biochemical, and genetic techniques in the context of a larger project to engineer base editing enzymes. Experience with cell culture, such as sterile technique, cell maintenance, cell transfection, and gDNA and/or RNA preparation is beneficial but not necessary. The ideal candidate will be a quick learner and hard worker, detail-oriented, adaptable, and intellectually curious. This position offers an opportunity to learn a variety of cutting-edge methods and gain valuable experience in a fast-paced, result-driven, and collaborative lab environment with access to state-of-the-art research facilities.

The Zhang lab is a member of the Broad Institute and McGovern Institute at MIT, and a part of the greater Boston life-science community including MIT and Harvard, with support from NIH, HHMI, and various foundations and philanthropies. The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard offers an outstanding place to work. The workplace culture is dynamic, progressive, and supports a healthy work-life balance. To support this mission, we strive for a workplace culture that supports diversity, intellectual curiosity,
flexibility, and integrity. Details on our benefits package can be found here:

Project Summary

Adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR) is a protein that catalyzes conversion of adenosine to inosine in double-stranded RNA. In 2017, our lab invented a targeted RNA base editing technology by fusing ADAR to the RNA targeting protein Cas13 and termed this system REPAIR (RNA editing for programmable A-to-I replacement). RNA editing presents a technique for editing the genetic code in cell types in which it is traditionally difficult to perform genome editing (i.e. post-mitotic cells such as neurons), and to induce temporary edits rather than permanent ones. REPAIR is efficient at targeted editing, but also performs a large number of off-target edits throughout the transcriptome. We are applying both rational design and directed evolution to improve the editing specificity of REPAIR, with the ultimate goal of applying Cas13-based RNA editing as a therapeutic tool.

Characteristic Duties

  • Perform molecular cloning (DNA purification, digestion, amplification, ligation, transformation, electrophoresis, quantification)
  • Learn additional techniques as required by the project, such as next-generation sequencing approaches, adeno-associated virus production, fluorescence microscopy, and flow cytometry
  • Present experimental results, both in written and oral formats, with an emphasis on clarity
  • Keep up with relevant literature and discuss science with others in the group, both in formal lab meetings and informal conversations


  • Bachelor’s degree in life science-related field
  • At least 1 year of experience in a research laboratory (during undergraduate education is ok) focusing on molecular/cellular biology work
  • General curiosity about science and desire to learn new skills
  • Exceptional organizational and critical thinking skills, lab notebook practices and attention to detail

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