Research Scientist in Plant and Microbial Biology

University of California Berkeley

United States

Assistant/Associate Project Scientist - Merchant Lab - QB3

Job #JPF02867
  • VC Res Other Research Units - QB3 Institute

Recruitment Period

Open date: January 30th, 2021

Next review date: Saturday, Feb 13, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Wednesday, Mar 10, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description


The Merchant laboratory in the Plant and Microbial Biology Department at UC Berkeley is seeking a highly motivated individual to participate in research projects in the areas of trace metal nutrition, algal physiology and metabolism, comparative genomics and algal-bacterial symbiosis, using state of the art genomic methodologies and systems biology. This position provides a unique opportunity to participate in the expansion of an internationally-renowned program. By taking charge of a range of instruments and their operation, and by training and supervising other researchers, the Assistant/Associate Project Scientist will contribute meaningfully to the laboratory’s research, organization and collaborative culture. The Assistant/Associate Project Scientist will work with undergraduate and Ph.D. students, post-doctoral researchers and other academic staff.


The responsibilities of the Assistant/Associate Project Scientist will be to design and perform research, acquire and analyze data, prepare results for publication and contribute to laboratory maintenance and organization. The appointee will use equipment for elemental analysis (ICP-MS/MS, TOC/TN), develop methods for new analyses, interpret results and plan follow-up experiments. The appointee will also be responsible for growth of algal cells and isolation of nucleic acids and proteins for genome wide analysis. In addition to research, the Assistant/Associate Project Scientist will be responsible for the laboratory’s compliance with safety regulations. This includes monitoring safety training requirements for students and staff members, updating training on a regular basis, guiding regular safety discussions, managing the chemical inventory, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other safety-related documentation, preparing for safety inspections, and enforcing safety standards. The Assistant/Associate Project Scientist will also have responsibility for purchasing decisions for all supplies and equipment.

Minimum/Basic Qualifications required at the time of application:

• The candidate must have a Ph.D. or equivalent international degree.

Additional Qualifications must be met by the start of the job:

• At least five years of research experience in research laboratory.

Preferred Qualifications:

• At least five years of experience working in a biochemistry research laboratory, including analytical instrumentation
• Expertise with MS Office Suite (e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint), scientific graphing and data analysis software (e.g. OriginPro, Chem(Bio)Draw, PyMOL) and Adobe Creative Suite (e.g. Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator).
• Expertise with laboratory safety regulations and compliance
• Expertise with generating and maintaining chemical inventory
• Expertise with extraction of RNA, DNA, protein, metabolites and trace elements from algae
• Expertise with assessment of photosynthetic parameters
• Expertise with specialized software, platforms and databases (e.g. JGI Genome Portal, Phytozome)
• Expertise with algal cell cultures and sterile techniques for slow-growing eukaryotes
• Expertise with trace-elemental analysis by ICP-MS/MS, including instrument maintenance, data acquisition and analysis
• Expertise with transcriptome analysis on the Illumina platform, including data generation and analysis
• Demonstrated writing skills (e.g. first author publication)
• Ability and desire to work independently and to learn and adapt to new techniques and technologies
• Ability to coordinate a variety of simultaneous responsibilities, strong problem solving and prioritization skills

Salary: This is a full-time position. Salary is commensurate with experience.

How to apply:

To apply, please go to the following link:

All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including when letters are provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service or career center), to the UC Berkeley statement of confidentiality: prior to submitting their letters.

This position will be open until filled. The anticipated start date is spring 2021. The appointment is for a duration of 2 years and with the possibility of extension based on satisfactory performance and availability of funds. . Please address inquiries to Sabeeha Merchant,

This position is covered by the UC-UAW collective bargaining agreement for Academic Researchers. The current contract can be found here: Additional information can be found on the website:

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter
  • Statement of Research Interests and Career Goals - One-page summary of research interests
Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)

In your application, please refer to


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