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Assistant/Associate Specialist - IDeA Lab

Application Window

Open date: March 30th, 2021

Last review date: Wednesday, Jun 9, 2021 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, Dec 31, 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 Imaging of Dementia & Aging Laboratory (IDeA Lab) at the University of California, Davis, is seeking a full-time Assistant/Associate Specialist. The purpose of this position is to provide support and contributions to the research studies of the lab.

In direct collaboration with the Principle Investigator(s), this position will be involved in investigation of the biological basis of neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive changes associated with aging; in particular, the study of Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular Dementia, and Parkinson's Disease. This position requires specialization in data engineering for the on-premises computational and data infrastructure. The primary imaging techniques used in the lab are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).

The Specialist will work alongside a machine learning engineer and an applications engineer to migrate data archives to a managed data system that the incumbent will design, implement and maintain. The system will include workflow management of ETL (extract, transform, load) and analysis pipelines, and require involvement in related responsibilities such as user access, data storage, quality assurance, documentation, and administration. This is a critical position that will become integral to the success of the IDeA Lab and the scientific and scholarly contributions to the research enterprise of the University. The position of Specialist has a narrow focus in a specialized area and provides technical or specialized expertise(e.g., with instrumentation and research equipment or with social science research methods) in the planning and execution of a research project.

The position of Specialist has a narrow focus in a specialized area and provides technical or specialized expertise (e.g., with instrumentation and research equipment or with social science research methods) in the planning and execution of a research project. The Specialist stays apprised of emerging issues and problems and maintains technical competence in the designated area(s) of specialization. Within this defined area and when appropriate, the Specialist is expected to provide leadership, facilitate teamwork and develop collaborative relationships with colleagues and to supply input into the planning of research and educational programs. Normally, Specialists do not have Principal Investigator (PI) status but may obtain permission by exception and/or collaborate with a PI in preparing research proposals for extramural funding. The Specialist is evaluated for merit and promotion using three basic criteria outlined below.

Research (80% effort)

• Design an integrated imaging analysis workflow and data management system to replace existing aging solutions.
• Collaborate with engineering team to survey existing lab systems and lab staff to obtain system requirements.
• Research and apply industry practices and department policies and procedures relating to work assignments to create a reliable, scalable, maintainable, and accessible data management system.
• Collect, analyze, and recommended solutions for approval by preparing system and implementation design documentation.
• Collect and analyze recommendations for approval by preparing system ad programming design documentations.
• Implement approved changes in development and maintenance of department systems.
• Build and implement interfaces for a variety of internal and external users.

• Execute moderately complex test plans for users as well as conversion and system implementation plans.
• Implement and launch approved system using a combination of open source, proprietary, and custom software.
• Create interfaces for a variety of internal and external users.
• Migrate existing data archives and workflows to new system.
• Deploy active system monitoring to ensure high integrity, availability, performance, and security. Implement approved changes for system enhancement and maintenance.
• Install and configure new hardware and software. Apply software updates. Manage user accounts (adding, removing, updating, resetting passwords). Perform system monitoring and performance tuning.

Professional Competence (10%)
• Negotiate project plans with stakeholders in research groups.
• Train users in conversion and implementation of system.
• Train and assist internal and external users with system use.
• Collaborate with engineering team to implement underlying on-premises data servers.
• Collaborate with lab staff to incorporate additional workflows and data.
• Attend teleconferences, lab meetings, regional/national conferences, etc.

University and Public Service (10% effort)
• Mentor undergraduate and graduate students and educate them on how to operate in the laboratory
• Attend basic science meetings in the Department of Neurology, attend journal clubs and other relevant presentations

Required Qualifications:
• BS in Computer Science or related field with 3-5 years of relevant data engineering experience (Assistant level)
• MS in Computer Science or related field with 5-10 years of relevant data engineering experience (Associate level)
• 3+ years of experience developing in Python
• 2+ years of experience in building and maintaining databases
• 1+ years of experience developing ETL (extract, transform, load) pipelines
• 1+ years of experience with workflow management systems (i.e. Airflow)
• Excellent problem solving and communication skills
• Interest in expanding data engineering skills by researching, testing, and adopting new software, concepts, and practices
• Ability to work independently and cooperatively, under limited direction, in a multi-disciplinary team environment
• Ability to apply best practices of software development and data security throughout your work
• Ability to pick up and/or delegate a small number of ad-hoc tasks while staying focused on the critical path of a project

Preferred Qualifications:
• Experience with highly available internal cloud service model
• Experience with distributed systems and service-oriented architectures
• Experience working in a Linux command line environment
• Experience with many parts of web development stack

For full consideration, applications must be received by April 29, 2021; however, the position will remain open until filled through December 31, 2021. Qualified applicants should apply online at

Applicants should submit cover letter, curriculum vitae and contact information 2 references. Documents/materials must be submitted as PDF files. Please direct questions to Joe Valadez @

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 an 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 UCD 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 (

If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact the recruiting department.

Application Requirements

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

  • Cover Letter (Optional)

Reference requirements
  • 2 required (contact information only)

Job location

Davis, CA