The Light Microscopy Specialist aids the Biophotonics Director in the operation of the Biophotonics Core Facility. This is a multi-faceted job that involves the following components:
1) User Training - educating facility users in the use of facility instrumentation and methods used therein. 2) Research Design and Participation - aiding the Director and independently assisting users in the design of experiments involving light microscopy methods including confocal and live cell microscopy, lightsheet microscopy, total-internal-reflection (TIRF) microscopy, multi-photon microscopy, and super-resolution microscopy (PALM/STORM, SIM, and Airyscan). Incumbent will also assist with advanced tissue preparation methods (e.g. tissue clearing, expansion microscopy), image processing (e.g. deconvolution), and data analysis methods (e.g. ImageJ and Imaris software). 3) Core Facility Maintenance - maintaining the functionality of facility instrumentation. 4) Data Collection and Presentation - collecting and managing data collected on facility instrumentation, helping to prepare data for publication and presentation. 5) Assisting in the design and configuration of custom microscope equipment and hardware.
(50%) Core Facility User Training
Provide advanced level instruction and work direction to Institute laboratory staff on Biophotonics Core Facility instrumentation and procedures used in the various light microscopy methods supported by the core.
Train facility users in the appropriate use of data analysis packages and methods, micrograph production, and quantification of data.
Train laboratory staff on different experimental techniques used in the core facility.
Develop reference tools for lab staff including handouts.
Provide advanced level instruction on an individual level with undergraduate students, graduate students, post-docs, and collaborators on core facility equipment and procedures for state-of-the-art confocal, two-photon, TIRF, slide-scanning, lightsheet, and super-resolution microscopes.
(20%) Research Design and Participation
Design, and carry out experiments involving collection and processing of tissues and tissue culture cells and their analysis by immunofluorescence, live-cell imaging, confocal, two-photon, lightsheet, TIRF and super-resolution microscopy.
Provide innovative contributions to the design and construction of experiments for multiple research projects, obtain data, and analyze light micrographs.
Participate in the collection and analysis of images and application of protocols for quantification of data.
Keep informed of new developments and technical advances in light microscopy in the fields of molecular and cell biology by reading primary literature and microscopy and manufacturer websites.
Test monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies and evaluate their suitability for use in immunocytochemical labeling of cells. Carry out immunocytochemical labeling of tissues and cell cultures.
Perform advanced sample preparation for high resolution light microscopy techniques, such as tissue clearing and expansion microscopy.
Responsible for image analysis, e.g. image averaging, filtering, alignment, quantitative analysis and reconstruction of 3D datasets.
Responsible for assisting the Director in the operation and configuration of advanced or custom microscope equipment.
(20%) Core Facility Maintenance and Management
Maintain stocks of reagents for methods involving tissue culture, antibody reagents, buffers, etc.
Maintain a monthly freezer inventory of primary and secondary antibodies, seras, toxins and dyes. Defrost and keep general used antibodies stocked. Aliquot new antibodies, assign freezer rack and box, enter new antibodies into the database.
Keep database of scientific core facility records.
Perform general maintenance of facilities light microscopes.
Liaise with lab manager and manufacturers with regard to instrument preventative maintenance.
Ensure assigned areas, and various pieces of equipment are clean and prepared.
Keep a log sheet for controlled substances, check usage of controlled substances regularly and order supplies as needed.
Use scheduling software to prepare monthly invoices for facility user recharges.
Use scheduling software to keep track of equipment usage to prepare monthly status reports for Core Director.
Maintain records of equipment usage and report maintenance issues of various equipment.
Ensure core facility is in compliance with EH&S protocols and procedures.
(10%) Data Collection and Presentation
Prepare data for publication, grant applications, posters and other presentations using darkroom and digital facilities.
Present data at department or Institute meetings.
Prepare images/movies for presentations.
Assist in preparation of manuscripts, grants, progress reports and annual protocols.
Prepare publication quality micrographs and plates.
Maintain lab notebook, including experimental design, time, methods, materials and results.
Minimum 3 years of relevant experience, including training users in a core facility or similar environment
Biological or biophysical sciences or biomedical engineering background with experience in advanced light microscopy techniques, including superresolution microscopy.
Tissue cell culture experience and sterile culture techniques.
Experience with fluorescence based immunohistochemistry labeling
BS degree in biological or biophysical sciences or biomedical engineering, or equivalent.
MS or PhD degree in biological or biophysical sciences or biomedical engineering.
SKILLS AND ABILITIES
Demonstrated skill and experience in the high resolution operation of electron and light microscopes including confocal, superresolution, and two-photon immunofluorescence imaging.
Theoretical and practical knowledge of biology or related scientific field and of tissue structure on an anatomical, cellular, and molecular level.
Theoretical and practical knowledge of sterile cell culture techniques and practices.
Understanding both the theory and practice of various immunochemical localization labeling techniques for light, confocal, superresolution, and two-photon microscopy.
Experience in performing experimental protocols unsupervised and in recommending modifications to procedures and protocols to meet the needs of research projects.
Demonstrated ability to contribute to experimental design and assist with the analysis and interpretation of results.
Proven organizational and time management skills to successfully set priorities, meet established deadlines and recognize new problems with constantly changing priorities and frequent interruptions.
Strong communication skills (both verbal and written) needed to interact professionally and effectively in the work environment. Ability to read, comprehend, and discuss research materials. Proven ability to write, edit and proofread research results. Skill at explaining difficult concepts and training users and students.
Ability to diplomatically and professionally with all levels of Institute staff and external contacts.
Proven ability to perform minor maintenance on light microscopes.
Comprehensive knowledge of photographic techniques including visual arts production, copy work, photographic printing and enlarging, and slide making.
SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT
Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support research needs.
Successful completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
Willing to sign a confidentiality agreement.
This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, handling, hearing, reaching, talking and working inside.
Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities
The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)
Salk scientists are dedicated to innovative biological research. The Salk Institute consistently ranks among the leading research institutions in the world for its faculty's contributions and the impact of their findings. Focused both on discovery and on mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer's, diabetes and infectious diseases by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines. "We lead biological research. We prize discovery. Salk is where cures begin."Overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, the Salk Institute offers a warm, collegial and collaborative work environment, where employees enjoy a generous benefits program. Social activities on campus encourage interaction as a community.