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Education / Graduate Education / PREP Program / Duties Outline

Duties Outline

General Purpose

The department of Microbiology and Immunology is seeking a full-time Graduate Research Assistant to work in a basic science laboratory, to conduct microbiological and/or immunological research.

The individual will work on studies, which have as their goal the understanding of basic mechanisms involved in microbial and viral pathogenesis, immune responses to infectious agents, and microbial evolution. The individual will also participate in a special training program, which is designed to prepare the successful applicant for admission to a Ph.D. program within one year.


The individual will be supervised by the project director, Edith Lord,Ph.D. Additional training and supervision will be provided by other faculty members in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, as needed, and training in specific laboratory techniques and methods will also be provided by other laboratory staff members.

Equipment Used

Laminar flow cabinet, electrophoresis equipment (gel boxes, power supplies), inverted light and fluorescence microscopes, centrifuges (mini-, regular and ultra-), cell culture equipment and freezers (-20, -80, LN2). Use of other equipment may also be required, in which case special training will be provided.

Typical Duties

Initially, this individual will conduct experiments, working with daily supervision from the Project Director or her designate. Over time, the individual will develop more independence in planning and conducting experiments, and will be expected to plan and perform many experiments on an independent basis. The position will require some background in cell and molecular biology and/or microbiology and immunology.

  • Perform molecular biology experiments, including DNA cloning, protein expression and gene transfer
  • Propagate bacterial and mammalian cells and cell lines.
  • Generate and maintain recombinant virus vectors for gene transfer and/or recombinant bacterial strains.
  • Perform analyses of protein and gene expression, using techniques that may include PCR amplification, RT-PCR amplification (for analysis of RNA) and immunocytochemistry and immunoblot analyses (for analysis of protein).
  • Additional methods and duties may include the use of ELISA and flow cytometry assays, to examine cell surface markers and to assess cytokine gene expression.
  • Some experiments may involve the use of small animals (mice and/or rats). Training will be provided prior to initiation of such work.
  • Use some theoretical knowledge to interpret data and to trouble-shoot experiments. Independence in problem-solving is highly encouraged.
  • Perform general laboratory duties such as preparing reagents and re-stocking supplies, and/or propagating important cells and cell lines.
  • Complete necessary and relevant coursework, and participate in program seminars and enrichment activities.
  • Prepare and present data, at laboratory meetings and at local/national research gatherings.


A B.S. degree in a related field. Previous instruction in theoretical aspects of cell and molecular biology, or microbiology and immunology, is highly desirable. Extensive prior research experience is not necessary, although it may be helpful. The successful candidate should have a strong interest in future graduate studies.

Additional Special Requirements

This position has a one year tenure only, and is specifically intended to prepare the successful candidate for future training at the doctoral (Ph.D.) level. The successful candidate must have completed their B.S. degree within no more than 3 years from the time at which they apply for the position. The successful candidate will be also be required to complete a small amount of relevant coursework as part of their training, and will receive opportunities to present the results of their work at local and national meetings and seminars. The successful candidate must also meet the requirements which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have defined as being necessary for receipt of this special training opportunity. These are defined on the program website.


$27,200 per annum