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Junior Specialist - Brown Lab

Recruitment Period

Open date: June 19th, 2020

Last review date: Friday, Jul 3, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.

Final date: Friday, Jul 31, 2020 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.


The Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, seeks to hire a full-time employee as a Junior Specialist to perform research functions in the laboratory of Dr. Nadean Brown, investigating the roles of multiple transcription factors, Notch and/or Hedgehog signaling during embryonic retinal development.

This position will be involved in interdisciplinary studies that focus on hypotheses about embryonic development, tissue growth and formation, and human structural birth defects. The candidate must have a degree in Genetics, Biochemistry or a related field with a minimum of one year of research experience in a laboratory. The Junior Specialist will collaboratively and creatively conduct experiments using genetics, mouse models, immunohistochemistry, microscopy, molecular biology and protein biochemistry. Other general responsibilities include reviewing journal articles and engaging in discussion of research and the interpretation of research results; participating and presenting in vision group, departmental (Research in Progress talks) and/or campus-wide seminars, as well as at national research conferences; reviewing research proposals, journal manuscripts and publications related to Brown lab research areas.

Successful candidates are expected to participate in three major categories of activities listed below:

The Junior Specialist is expected to work closely with the Principle Investigator (PI) to help complete experiments investigating the roles of Hes1, Hes3 and Hes5 bHLH transcription factors during embryonic stages of retinal development, including RGC and cone neuron formation, as well as the roles of Shh signaling, Notch signaling, Hes1 and Pax2--during optic nerve head formation. The specific roles and duties include generation of conditional, single, double and/or triple mutant embryos, analysis of mouse mutant anatomical and histologic defects and testing an extensive panel of developmental markers among the various genotypes of tissues generated. All findings will be presented in national conferences and published as peer-reviewed research article(s) in internationally recognized scientific journals.

The Junior Specialist is expected to study the current literature and attend scientific conferences, think critically and creatively, and meet with the PI on a regular basis (once per week) to formulate research hypothesis and design experiments. The Junior Specialist will be responsible for executing experiments, collecting and interpreting the results first independently, and then discuss the results and conclusions with the PI. The Junior Specialist will formulate future hypotheses based on the obtained data, and design/revise future experimental plans in consultation with the PI.

The Junior Specialist is expected to gain a strong knowledge base about bHLH transcription factors, Pax family transcription factors, retinal development, neurogenesis, signal transduction and retinal cell fate changes through independent study and literature reading. Through these exercises, the Junior Specialist will identify knowledge gaps in the field, generate new hypotheses and collaboratively design the most informative and creative experiments to test hypotheses. The Junior Specialist will study and understand the rationales behind experimental procedures, creatively tailor protocols to our specific experimental conditions. The Junior Specialist will also independently and creatively troubleshoot any technical hurdles that may be encountered during the experiments. In many cases, the Junior Specialist will also be expected to design and carry out completely new experimental procedures.

The Junior Specialist will outline and write manuscripts with PI supervision. The Junior Specialist will also prepare figures and tables for manuscripts, discuss any needed revisions and modify manuscripts accordingly in consultation with the PI.

The Junior Specialist will write portions of manuscripts and critically and creatively interpret and discuss the findings in the context of the current literature in the field. In the manuscript, the Junior Specialist will articulate the significance of the work and describe logically how the work helps move the field forward. Scientific and scholarly review of the literature will be performed through public databases such as PubMed.

The Junior Specialist will give oral or poster presentations at regional and/or national conferences, such as the Society for Developmental Biology Meeting, Visual Systems Development GRC Meeting. They will also participate in all other associated activities of these conferences, such as career workshops.

The Junior Specialist will be a member of the Society for Developmental Biology.

The Brown lab has multiple undergraduate researchers and expects to recruit more in the coming year. We also periodically mentor Davis High School Biotechnology intern students. The Junior Specialist is expected to take on the mentorship of these students. The Junior Specialist will also share expertise in mouse breeding and genetics, immunohistochemistry, histology, and multiple molecular techniques with other research groups in the department and/or university.

• Bachelor degree in biology or a related field with a minimum of one year of research laboratory experience is required. Must receive bachelor’s degree by June 30, 2020.

• Experience working with genetically modified mice that may include breeding mutant mouse lines and PCR genotyping.

• Experience in histology, preparation tissues for antibody labeling and/or microscope wild field or confocal imaging

• Experience with immunohistochemistry (antibody multiple labeling) and/or in situ hybridation

• Experience in molecular biology assays such as (but not limited to) restriction-enzyme based ligation, subcloning, quantification of nucleic acids, Sanger sequencing

• The ideal candidate will have strong interpersonal, communication, and decision-making skills; as well as the ability to work well independently and as part of a team.

• Display strong organizational skills that are needed to maintain databases of inventories and details of multiple simultaneous experiments

• Familiarity with principles of veterbrate eye formation and genetic hierachies regulating these processes is an asset. Prior experience imaging with Leica microscope systems or the use of a cryostat, as well as post-imaging processing of confocal images is also preferred.

TERM OF APPOINTMENT: Full-Time 100% appointment, 12 months (initial) reappointment is pending satisfactory performance, needs of the research project, and sufficient funding. Expected start date is August 1, 2020.

To apply, please go to the following link: For full considerations applications must be completed by July 8, 2020; however, the position will remain open until filled through July 31, 2020.

Qualified applicants should submit:
• Cover letter detailing their qualification for this position
• CV
• Contact information for 3 references

UC Davis commits to inclusion excellence by advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do. We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact the recruiting department.

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available

UC Davis is a smoke & tobacco-free campus (

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Job location

Davis, Ca


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter (Optional)

Reference requirements
  • 1-3 required (contact information only)