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Research Assistant II - Melanoma Medical Oncology / Research

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Closing date
Dec 18, 2020

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Life Sciences, Cancer Research
Organization Type

Job Details

The Research Assistant II will work under the supervision of the principal investigator or a designate on experiments focusing on the isolation, culture, and analysis of Sarcoma and melanoma cells.

1. Tissue culture and human sample processing:

* Maintains and establishes culture of human and murine (when needed) cells, which require rigorous sterile techniques. Must have the ability to observe and identify cell changes under the microscope, determine cell counts and cell viability.

* Prepares sterile media and solutions. Purify cells by various methods and monitor cells for proliferation and activation by standard laboratory methods.

* Monitors, orders and shelves tissue culture supplies to ensure efficient functioning.

* Processes human blood samples for peripheral blood mononuclear cells and serum isolation and storage using cryogenic storage.

* Processes human tumor samples in a sterile environment to isolate tumor cells and lymphocytes and established tumor cell lines in culture.

* The above requires using the microscope and performing viable cell counts, working for prolonged periods with hands extended under a flow hood and lifting cases (

2. Cellular immunology:

* Requires the ability to be readily trained in various techniques: flow cytometry, ELISA, ELISPOT, proliferation and cytotoxicity assays in high throughout format, magnetic cell preparation and data processing, and multiplex cytokine analysis.

* Staining of tumor cells and lymphocytes subsets using flow cytometry antibodies and sample analysis by multi-color flow cytometry

* The immunological procedures and analysis require accurate vision and standing for long periods of time and keen hand dexterity.

* Should be able to maintain and operate (and/or learn to use) sophisticated equipment such as flow cytometer, cell counter, ELISA reader, and other basic lab instrumentation

* Technical and theoretical experience in PCR and RNA/DNA isolation also preferred.

3. Record keeping and data collection:

* Maintains accurate, detailed records and experimental data and protocols.

* Prepares graphs, slides and tables via photography, computer, or manually.

* Able to work with database, graphing and word processing computer programs such as Microsoft Excel, Power Point, Word and Prism.

* Communicates results to and understands instructions from principal investigator and colleagues. Fluent spoken English is essential.

* Discusses goals of each project with supervisor. With help of supervisor, develops a step-by-step written procedure outlining the specific actions required to conduct the experiment before proceeding.

* Participates in lab meetings and presents data where necessary.

4. Laboratory safety/lab equipment maintenance:

* Demonstrates and practices lab safety precautions.

* Receives verbal and/or written instructions from principal investigator on standards and specialized lab safety procedures.

* Attends annual safety courses required by MDA and other agencies.

* Handles, stores, and disposes of radioactive isotopes, chemically hazardous materials, and biohazardous materials in procedure specified to meet MDA safety guidelines.

* Follows manufacturer's guidelines regarding the handling and maintenance of all lab equipment. Will have working knowledge of equipment operation manuals and procedure manuals whenever necessary.

* Responsible for ordering reagents and materials when needed.

5. Work with animal products:

* May carry out experiments with animal tissues in some cases, but prior experience is not required.
Marginal or Period Functions: * Collects and organizes information for project reports. Other duties as assigned. * Standing for long periods of time, moving around from one area of the laboratory to another to work with different equipment, walking to different floors of the hospital to collect samples and to get patients' records. Steady-hand posture is also necessary. Visually checking for cells in the microscope and ability to use cameras and other photographic and laboratory equipment is also required. Requires keeping handwritten records. May involve occasional exposure to hazardous equipment and materials.
* Must possess the ability to be clearly understood by verbal communication in face-to-face encounters and by telephone, read printed and written data, assimilate pertinent information in order to communicate in written correspondence. Must be able to communicate well verbally and in writing. Must be able to understand verbal and written directions. Must be able to respond and assist other employees and visitors, as required.

* Working conditions are considered acceptable, but may involve occasional exposure to hazardous equipment and materials.

Required: Bachelor's degree with major course works in one of the basic sciences.
Preferred: Master's degree with major course works in one of the basic sciences.

Required: Two years experience in scientific or experimental research work. No experience required with preferred degree.

Preferred: Mouse experience is a plus.

It is the policy of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to provide equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or any other basis protected by institutional policy or by federal, state or local laws unless such distinction is required by law.


The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. It was named the nation's No. 1 hospital for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report's 2023 rankings. It is one of the nation's original three comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute.

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