Research Specialist II - Reck-Peterson Lab

San Diego, CA
October 26 2020
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is an independent, ever-evolving philanthropy that supports basic biomedical scientists and educators with the potential for transformative impact. We make long-term investments in people, not just projects, because we believe in the power of individuals to make breakthroughs over time. HHMI scientists have radically advanced the understanding of cells, the brain, the immune system, the development of organs, and how to treat many diseases.  Founded in 1953 by aviator and industrialist Howard R. Hughes, HHMI is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and employs more than 2,500 people across the U.S.

At HHMI, you are not just an employee – you are a part of a creative and talented team with colleagues whose expertise ranges from biomedical research to investment management, from information technology to law. We encourage collaborative and results-driven working styles and offer an adaptable environment where employees can do their best work. As HHMI scientists continue to push boundaries in laboratories and classrooms, you can be sure that your contributions while working at HHMI are making a difference.

We are currently looking for a highly collaborative Research Specialist II to join the laboratory of Dr. Samara Reck-Peterson at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in San Diego, California.

Dr. Reck-Peterson’s laboratory studies the mechanisms of microtubule-based transport within cells. The microtubule cytoskeleton and associated transport machinery is responsible for organizing intracellular contents spatially and temporally. The Reck-Peterson lab strives to understand how this system works at molecular, cellular, and organismal scales, and to determine why defects in transport cause neurological diseases, including Parkinson's Disease. They use a combination of approaches including protein biochemistry and in vitro reconstitution, single-molecule biophysics, proteomics, fungal genetics, mammalian cell culture including of ES cells, gene-editing of mammalian cells, and state-of-the-art live-cell imaging. Through collaborations they have access to cryo-electron microscopy and cryo-electron tomography to pursue structural studies of the transport machinery. More information about the Reck-Peterson lab can be found here:

This is a dynamic role that will be responsible for contributing broadly to the Reck-Peterson lab research program and will be a senior lab team member. The ideal candidate will have a strong desire to serve as a trusted resource and a mentor for the other staff within the lab.

Essential Responsibilities

  • Supports the collaborative research environment and provides guidance on technical and operational aspects of research.
  • Develops and implements research projects; identifies methodological problems in research protocols and develops solutions to those problems. 
  • Reviews research activities to determine where new information, methods, or collaborations could positively impact projects.
  • Routinely develops innovative techniques and systems required to meet research goals.
  • Coordinates with and trains lab members on specialized research methods such as various microscopy techniques, in vitro reconstitution, and gene-editing cell lines. 
  • Trains others in the use of specialized equipment as necessary – such as plate readers, TIRF microscopes, and spinning disk confocal microscopes
  • Uses software applications to assemble, format and/or perform statistical analyses of data. 
  • Mentors graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, and other staff.
  • Reads and reviews scientific literature. 
  • Writes and edits manuscripts, fellowship applications, and shared equipment grants.


Ph.D. in the biological, biomedical, biochemical, or biophysical sciences is required.


A minimum of 2+ years of relevant postdoctoral research experience is strongly preferred.

A strong publication record is required.

Experience with mammalian and insect cell culture and transfections is required.

Experience with CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing is required, and experience in genome-wide CRISPR screens is preferred.

Advanced experience with light microscopy techniques (spinning disk confocal, total internal reflection, etc.) is required.

Advanced biochemistry and molecular biology experience is required.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Advanced knowledge of cell biology of the cytoskeleton and intracellular trafficking.

Strong mentoring and teaching skills for trainees of all levels.

Strong verbal and written communication skills.

Strong attention to detail and high degree of accuracy in work.

Ability to work well both independently and collaboratively as part of a team.

Ability to be flexible and adapt to shifting priorities.


HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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