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Research Specialist - Ruta Lab

Employer
HHMI.
Location
New York City, New York (US)
Salary
Salary based on experience
Closing date
Feb 24, 2022

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Discipline
Life Sciences, Biochemistry
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Non-Profit
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A Research Specialist position is available in the laboratory of Vanessa Ruta at the Rockefeller University to study the structural basis of odor recognition.  The Ruta Lab applies a broad multidisciplinary approach to examine olfactory processing in insects, from the biophysical basis for odor detection to the behavioral algorithms underlying olfactory plume navigation.  A current focus of the lab is to define the structural and mechanistic basis of odorant signaling in insect olfactory receptors using biochemistry, cryo-EM, computational docking, and functional assays to reveal insight into how this large and highly divergent family of ion channels can recognize the vast chemical world.  In recent work, the Ruta lab determined the first structure of an insect olfactory receptor elucidating their basic architecture (Butterwick et al., Nature, 2018) and revealed insight into the structural basis for promiscuous odor detection (del Marmol et al., Nature, 2021).  Ongoing work, funded by generous support from HHMI, NIAID, and the Gates Foundation will reveal broader principles of how odors are recognized, by determining the structures of additional receptors tuned to different odorants and exploring the underlying structural basis for their chemical tuning through a combination of molecular docking and functional assays.  The goal of this work will be to reveal basic insight into the structural basis of chemical recognition in this family, laying the foundation for the rational design of novel classes of insect repellents and the development of electronic ‘noses’ for detection of environmental chemicals. 

 


This is an ideal opportunity for talented biochemists/structural biologists interested in linking structural biology to sensory neuroscience who would enjoy being embedded in a diverse and highly collaborative group.  This position also provides an opportunity to work in close collaboration with a broader network of computational chemists and bioengineers to translate basic insights about chemical detection to the development of repellents or electronic ‘noses’.  

 

 

 

Primary Responsibilities:

 

  • Perform functional and structural characterization of receptors to explore odorant tuning.

     

  • Employ a variety of techniques including: molecular cloning, mammalian and insect tissue culture, baculovirus production, cell transfection and infection, affinity purification, fluorescence-detection size-exclusion chromatography, cell-based functional assays, electrophysiology cryo-electron microscopy and computational docking.

     

  • Work independently to design, perform, and analyze experiments.

     

  • Participate in weekly laboratory meetings and planning sessions.

     

 

 

Preferred Qualifications:

 

  • A Bachelor's degree (or higher) in biochemistry, structural biology, pharmacology or a closely related field.

     

  • Experience in the following:

     

    • Purifying recombinant proteins from heterologous expression systems

       

    • Standard molecular biology techniques

       

    • Functional and/or pharmacological analysis of proteins

       

  • The ability to perform complex experiments with reliability and accuracy and minimal supervision.

     

  • Excellent organizational, communication and time management skills.

     

 

 

You Are

 

  • Detail-oriented, self-driven and possess the experience and know how to troubleshoot experimental challenges.

     

  • A creative thinker, excited to work in a dynamic interdisciplinary environment and be an active technical and conceptual contributor to a research program.

     

  • Capable of working both independently and within a small team.

     

Physical Requirements

 

Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods of time; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about workspace. The position requires mobility, including the ability to move materials weighing up to several pounds (such as a laptop computer or tablet). Work may involve possible exposure to malodorous vapors, contamination by toxic chemicals and acids and presence of carcinogenic substances.

 

Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this position with reasonable accommodation. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis.

 

Please Note:

 

This job description sets forth the job’s principal duties, responsibilities, and requirements; it should not be construed as an exhaustive statement, however.  Unless they begin with the word “may,” the Essential Duties and Responsibilities described above are “essential functions” of the job, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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