HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
  • 08-Sep-2017 to 08-Oct-2017 (CST)
  • Huntsville, AL, USA
  • Full Time

INSTITUTE OVERVIEW                                         

HudsonAlpha Institute ( is a non-profit facility with the mission to use biotechnology and basic biological research to make important discoveries, improve human health, stimulate economic development and inspire young people to seek careers in science. Located in Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, Alabama, one of the world's leading science and technology business parks, the four-story, 270,000 square foot building contains state-of-the-art laboratories for biological research and development in the areas of genomics, genetics and personalized medicine.


The Swaminathan laboratory develops and applies functional genomics technologies to uncover genes whose activity is important for sustainable traits in crops. Projects range from building basic genomic resources for bioenergy feedstocks to using genomic, molecular and biotech tools to understand the molecular basis of traits like perennially, carbon partitioning habit and nutrient recycling in grasses like miscanthus, sugarcane and sorghum.

The laboratory is currently looking for a talented plant biotechnology technician interested in applying cutting edge tools in crop biotechnology to develop plant transformation and tissue culture pipelines focused on grasses like sorghum and miscanthus. The individual will also be a key contributor in the wet lab, helping postdocs and students process large numbers of samples for sequencing.  It is therefore extremely important that the individual has excellent organizational and communication skills.


The Research Associate carries out research protocols as determined by the Principal Investigator. The Associate follows procedures exactly as outlined, ensuring the consistency of research practices and, ultimately, helping ensure the consistency and integrity of project outcomes. The Associate also provides feedback in the case that procedures are not producing as expected.

The Research Associate must understand laboratory procedure and safety. In addition to a general knowledge of the overall objectives of the research project, the Associate must have an understanding of the tactical methodology in particular. The Associate works under the direction of a graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, research associate with supervisory responsibilities, senior scientist, or the lab Principal Investigator, communicating progress and advising of any issues that arise. The Associate must be able to adapt to modifications in protocol, changes in equipment or upgrades in software, as well as adjustments to the scope of research projects.

Research Associate positions fall among several levels that are generally progressive and reflect increasing proficiency. However, it is not to be expected that a Research Associate will continually promote upward. The assigned level depends on the complexity of actual duties and responsibilities and is not necessarily a reflection of tenure.

Research Associates may work directly with materials or with data.

Basic Expectations for this position

  • Proficient in all aspects of plant biotech laboratory procedure including ability to modify and adapt protocols to develop gene editing and transformation pipelines for Sorghum, Switchgrass and Miscanthus.
  • Manage concurrent tasks in various stages of completion
  • Provides assistance and back-up as needed to other research team members, including collecting and prepping large numbers of samples for sequencing.
  • Maintains an accurate and up-to-date laboratory notebook or tracks work as required by the project or supervisor
  • Assists with general lab maintenance such as cleaning freezers, shared lab space and equipment, and ordering and stocking shared reagents and consumables
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Bachelors or Master's degree with proven proficiency in plant biotechnology, requiring experience in transforming grasses like maize and sorghum using both biolistic and agrobacterium mediated transformation. Experience with cutting edge tools for genome editing is a plus.
  • Meticulous attention to detail, both in actual laboratory practice and in documentation
  • Excellent general molecular biology laboratory skills, including proficiency in pipetting, documentation, and procedure
  • Ability to accurately convert measurements and prepare chemical solutions and buffers as required
  • Ability to understand protocols, modify and clarify them, and perform protocols with consistency, as demonstrated through previous laboratory experience
  • Experience with high throughput molecular biology techniques and the ability to operate specialized and general equipment (biolistic particle delivery systems, fluorescent microscopes PCR and q-PCR machines, gel electrophoresis, tabletop centrifuge, etc.)


The physical requirements and environmental conditions of this position consist primarily of:

  • Sustained standing and sitting
  • Frequent walking and moving between work areas
  • Ability to occasionally lift up to 50 pounds
  • Work in the field to collect samples and measurements from field tests as needed.
  • Travel for approximately a week at a time, a few times a year, to sample at other locations. This may require the individual to drive themselves and others to these locations.
  • Continuous mental and visual attention, requiring sustained attention and observations
  • Excellent fine motor skills and hand control in order to pipette accurately
  • Ability to sustain focus during research procedures (to maintain protocol such as order of operations,
  • Ability to visually observe results and record outcomes on lab logs and/or PC

It is the policy of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, in accordance with all applicable laws, to recruit, hire, train, and promote persons in all job titles without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
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