The Research Assistant II will provide technical assistance in translational research laboratory focusing on metastatic disease of the brain and spine. A key component of the laboratory is exploring oncolytic adenoviral therapy, alone and in combination with immune modulating agents, as a tool to generating systemic antitumor immunity against cranial and extracranial metastases. These studies will involve in vitro and in vivo murine studies to create the foundation for clinical trial development. The Research Assistant II will also assist in the lab's effort of exploring the utility of these approaches for metastatic disease involving the spine and primary bone tumors. This work highlights the second component of the lab-spinal oncology. The Research Assistant II will assist with animal modeling and tumor microenvironment characterization of metastatic and primary tumors of the spine with a goal of testing and developing novel therapies for these tumors.
JOB SPECIFIC COMPETENCIES
Conducts research experiments and projects:
The applicant will plan, organize, coordinate and participate in scientific research projects under the direction of a professional staff member. The applicant will collaborate with other research scientists to design experiments involving oncolytic viral treatment for brain and spine metastases, immune and tumor cell profiling from animal models and surgically resected tumors, and in vitro and in vivo animal modeling of spinal tumors. Profiling techniques will include flow cytometry, immune assays, CyTOF, single cell RNA sequencing, and bulk RNA sequencing.
Operates laboratory apparatus and equipment:
Utilizes laboratory equipment to carry out experiments. Ordering drugs and mice for experiments in addition to other consumable items and reagents within the laboratory.
Data gathering and analysis:
Keeps detailed, thorough notes of experiments in a lab notebook/electronic record in English, and routinely discusses data with supervisor. Records and interprets results from in vitro and in vivo experiments. Maintain and update records of cell lines, analytical and tissue samples generated in the laboratory and received from other laboratories. Remains current on literature and techniques relating to the field of investigator.
In vitro laboratory research.
Daily responsibilities will include performing molecular and cell biological techniques including mammalian cell and tissue culture, preparing cells for injection, oncolytic viral efficacy, propagation of osseous tumors in bone grafts, surgical specimen collection and preparation, flow cytometry, PCR, Western Blot, cytotoxicity assays, and various similar assays.
In vivo animal research.
The applicant will be evaluating immunotherapies in murine models of brain and spinal metastases, including establishing subcutaneous, intracranial murine models, and intraosseous models. The candidate will perform regular/daily drug treatments including oncolytic viral administration, tumor measurements, monitoring mice via bioluminescent imaging, necropsies, tissue harvests for histological preparation, and cell isolation for downstream processing and tumor/immune cell profiling. The applicant will oversee the storage of tissue and keeping records of the location of respective samples. The applicant should be willing to learn new techniques as applicable
Scientific growth and autonomy.
Under the guidance of a professional staff member, the applicant will gradually independently carry out experiments and utilize initiative and inventiveness in planning and executing the details of experiments. Performs cell culture experiments under cGLP guidelines. Determines specific goals or objectives to be obtained, evaluates research data and develops and revises techniques or approaches to address problems. Under the direction of the principal investigator or his designee, develops new areas of investigation based upon prior experience.
Keeps detailed, thorough notes of experiments in a lab notebook/electronic record in English, and routinely discusses data with supervisor. Records and interprets results from in vitro and in vivo experiments. Remains current on literature and techniques relating to the field of investigator.
Knowledge of the institution's safety requirements and procedures in general laboratory practice. Complies with departmental and institutional policies regarding biochemical and radiation safety educational requirements. Must follow instruction of laboratory procedures on safe handling and disposal of radioactive and biohazardous materials.
Attend and present data at weekly laboratory meetings within the department. Prepare and present a scientific analysis of the results, and assist in preparation of scientific publications.
Other duties as assigned.
As directed by supervisor, and within the specified time frame. Transport samples and perform experiments in off-site locations when needed.
Bachelor's degree in one of the natural sciences or related field
Master's degree in one of the natural sciences or related field
One year of experience in scientific or experimental research work. No experience required with preferred degree.
One year of experience in scientific or experimental research work with a Master's degree. Background in Immunology, experience with animal modeling, experience in molecular biology ideally within oncology related field (e.g. central nervous system tumors or metastases), strong work-ethic, excellent communication skills, reliability, collaborative spirit, and an eagerness to adapt and learn new techniques.
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. http://www.mdanderson.org/about-us/legal-and-policy/legal-statements/eeo-affirmative-action.html.