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#105137 Lab Assistant (Part Time)

Filing Deadline: Fri 8/14/2020

This position is a limited position with the possibility of extension/career conversion.

Special Selection Applicants: Apply by 08/14/20. Eligible Special Selection clients should contact their Disability Counselor for assistance.


The Laboratory Assistant will be part of a dynamic preclinical behavioral neuroscience and microbiome group studying the gut-brain axis and mechanisms underlying several behaviors that are impaired in psychiatric disorders, like anhedonia, motivational deficits, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and biodrug dependence.

Under supervision, the Laboratory Assistant will be responsible for assisting with and performing routine experimental procedures and testing of laboratory rats (ex. visceral pain model, depression and anxiety models) in various behavioral tasks including, but not limited to: operant tasks such as reinforcement learning, effort-related choice, probabilistic reversal learning, 5-choice serial reaction time task, and intracranial self-stimulation; and behavioral observation tasks such as habituation, grooming, forced swim test, social avoidance, sucrose or alcohol preference, open field test, elevated plus maze, marble burying, and prepulse inhibition. The Laboratory Assistant will assist with preparation and administration of experimental biodrugs to rats during testing via several routes of administration, which includes oral gavaging (predominantly); and intraperitoneal, subcutaneous, and intragastric (occasionally); will assist with or perform serial blood draws; and will extract, dissect, process, and section brain and cecal tissue from rats; and collect fecal samples.

The Laboratory Assistant will also be expected to assist with or perform (if competent) survival surgeries involving, but not limited to: vagotomy, implantation of intracranial recording and stimulating electrodes for electrophysiological assessment, virus administration, and optic probe implantation for optogenetic experiments. The Laboratory Assistant will collect, manage, analyze, and present data from all laboratory testing instruments. Responsibilities will also include general lab maintenance, including maintaining clean and safe testing areas according to IACUC and EH&S policies and regulations, maintaining testing equipment, assisting with protocol amendments and routine lab inspections, and assisting with ordering and stocking of supplies. Depending on level of independence and intellectual input, there will be opportunities for the Laboratory Assistant to present research at scientific conferences, co-author scientific publications, and receive training and guidance for a career in academic or industry research.


  • Graduation from high school or a GED and two (2) years of laboratory experience or two (2) years of college including courses in the natural, physical or social sciences and one (1) year of laboratory experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Must possess a knowledge and abilities essential to the successful performance of the duties assigned to the position.

  • Demonstrated experience with rat or mouse handling, surgeries, anesthesia, injections, euthanasia, tissue harvest, and mouse genotyping.

  • Demonstrated knowledge of or experience with sterile/aseptic technique.

  • Thorough knowledge of or experience in gel electrophoresis and transfers, various gel and membrane stains, western blots, analysis of resulting data.

  • Ability to follow written and verbal protocols, techniques, and instructions. Proven organizational and troubleshooting skills, cooperative, enthusiastic and team-oriented, attention to detail and thoroughness in record keeping. Ability to take initiative in maintaining and improving lab operations.

  • Proven ability to use basic laboratory equipment including centrifuges, spectrophotometers, balances, pH meters, electrophoresis equipment, fume hoods, and biosafety cabinets.

  • Knowledge of bio and chemical safety techniques and practices. Ability to follow established Safety and Biohazardous Material Guidelines and implement measures to ensure compliance and maintain associated records. Ability to adhere to established UCSD guidelines for safety and environmental issues.

  • Demonstrated ability to perform basic PCR, ELISA and cloning techniques.

  • Proficient knowledge and experience with the operation of a personal computer and software applications, such as Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access), Photoshop, Acrobat.

  • Experience making independent decisions, analyzing situations, problem solving, and initiating action for laboratory maintenance. Ability to work independently.

  • Strong knowledge of proper formats, grammar, and spelling in English and proofreading ability sufficient to compose, edit, and publish professional correspondence, effectively and accurately document research procedures. Ability to read, comprehend, discuss, and present research materials.

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills over a wide range of situations and individuals needed to interact professionally and effectively in person, on phone, and in writing to a diverse population; including persons from foreign countries, business community, academicians, students and staff with a high degree of diplomacy, mature judgment, tact, and flexibility.


Experience in microbiology, immunology, and molecular biology techniques.


  • Employment is subject to a criminal background check.
  • Must be willing to work with animals/human tissues.
  • Must be willing to work with hazardous materials.
  • Must be able to work occasional evenings and weekend days, as required.

UC San Diego Health is the only academic health system in the San Diego region, providing leading-edge care in patient care, biomedical research, education, and community service. Our facilities include two university hospitals, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Shiley Eye Institute, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, and several outpatient clinics. UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest is a designated Level I Trauma Center and has the only Burn Center in the county. We invite you to join our dynamic team!


Applications/Resumes are accepted for current job openings only. For full consideration on any job, applications must be received prior to the initial closing date. If a job has an extended deadline, applications/resumes will be considered during the extension period; however, a job may be filled before the extended date is reached.


UC San Diego Health is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, gender identity or sexual orientation. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: http://www-hr.ucsd.edu/saa/nondiscr.html

UC San Diego is a smoke and tobacco free environment. Please visit smokefree.ucsd.edu for more information.

UC San Diego School of Medicine
Payroll Title:
Salary Range
Commensurate with Experience
Appointment Type:
Limited Appointment
Appointment Percent:
TX Contract
Total Openings:
Work Schedule:
Days, Variable, Monday - Friday


As a federally-funded institution, UC San Diego Health maintains a marijuana and drug free campus. New employees are subject to drug screening.