Research Specialist

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina (US)
Commensurate with qualifications
November 19 2021
Organization Type

Research Specialist

Primary Purpose of Organizational Unit
The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy ( is one of five health science schools (Pharmacy, Nursing, Dentistry, Public Health, Medicine) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is one of the oldest health science academic programs at Chapel Hill. The School teaches approximately 600 PharmD students, 100 PhD students, and 20 Master’s students. The School has built a reputation for its continued pursuit of excellence, rigorous education and training programs, cutting-edge multidisciplinary research, progressive pharmacy practices, efficient business operations, and its outstanding faculty, staff, and students. The School was named the number one School of Pharmacy in the U.S. by the U.S. News and World Report. The School has experienced unprecedented growth and success and continues to strategically position itself for sustained impact, as articulated in the School’s Strategic Plan (

Our vision is to be the preeminent school of pharmacy where leaders in practice, education, and research are developed and nurtured. We are Advancing Medicine for Life through innovation and collaboration in pharmacy practice, education, research, and public service.

The Lai Lab within the school has a strong track record of advancing scientific discoveries into the clinic, with inventions forming the basis of multiple FDA-approved drugs as well as multiple ongoing clinical trials. We strive to continuously develop novel interventions that address unmet medical needs, and advance those interventions into patients’ hands.

Position Summary
The Research Specialist position will serve under the supervision of the Senior Operations Officer. The Research Specialist will support multiple (+) projects in the lab in terms of the cell culture, protein and antibody production needs. To succeed, the candidate must possess the following skills and abilities: 1) extremely organized and detail oriented; 2) capable of working on multiple projects simultaneously; 3) exercises independent judgement in performing specialized experimental procedures such as cell culture, protein production, and replication-deficient virus-like-particles production and characterization; and 4) overseeing lab safety. Overall, this research specialist will maintain accurate and detailed notes on each experiment performed; perform data analysis for accuracy, validity, and integrity; and other related duties.

Minimum Education and Experience Requirements
Bachelor’s degree in a discipline related to the area of assignment; or equivalent combination of training and experience. All degrees must be received from appropriately accredited institutions.

Required Qualifications, Competencies, and Experience
Possess high level skill sets, abilities and understanding of scientific experiments, processes and procedures.
Exercises independent judgement in performing specialized experimental procedures as outlined below:

  • Cell culture – Expand, maintain, split, and make cryo-preserved aliquots of various mammalian cells using aseptic tissue culture techniques
  • Protein production – prepare plasmid DNA in E. coli cultures, perform transient transfection procedure, purify proteins from tissue culture supernatents, characterize the proteins
  • Replication-deficient virus-like-particles production and characterization
    Ability to serve as the technical expert in completing and troubleshooting highly specialized/complex laboratory procedures.
    Technical knowledge to perform preliminary analysis of experimental results and may propose quality control modifications.
    Ability to direct the daily workflow of other staff members by assigning tasks but does not exercise supervisory authority.

Preferred Qualifications, Competencies, and Experience
Previous work experience in a complex lab environment handling multiple projects at once. Substantial cell-culture experience a must, and substantial antibody production and purification experience a strong plus.

Special Instructions
Apply online at with a CV/resume and a list of at least three professional references with their full contact information. A cover letter is optional.

The School’s vision is grounded in our aspiration to be a diverse and inclusive community of people who accelerate new thinking and ideas in education, research, and practice that have a positive impact on human health worldwide. We envision a school that reflects, in all its dimensions, the population it serves.

In your application materials please include a separate diversity statement that outlines examples of your commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, as well as how you will contribute to an inclusive environment at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Upload statement as “Other Document”.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, race, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a protected veteran.

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