Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Research Specialist - Irvine Lab

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Cambridge, United States

We are currently seeking Research Specialist with a strong chemistry background to join a dynamic team of researchers for an exciting opportunity in the laboratory of Darrell Irvine, Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Engineering approaches grounded in immunology hold the key to the discovery and development of novel treatments for cancer, infectious disease, and autoimmunity. To this end, the overarching goal of the Irvine laboratory is to engineer immunity through a fusion of immunology with biotechnology and materials chemistry, employing a materials science-centric approach to create new therapies based on the controlled modulation of the immune system.  The lab’s work toward this goal divides into three complementary themes, all focused on adapting engineering principles to enhance the ability of the immune system to prevent and treat human disease.  More information can be found on their website.

Within the lab, this role will involve synthesis of new small molecules, bioconjugates, and nanomaterials for use as vaccine adjuvants and immunotherapies, working collaboratively across teams to continue to move the collective goals of the lab forward.  Ideal candidates will be self-driven and thrive in environments where they are empowered to run with projects and considered to be an integral part of the team.  The Irvine Lab believes in the power of teamwork, and significant contributions will be appropriately recognized by authorship on subsequent publications.


  • Perform chemical synthesis and characterization of novel vaccine and immunotherapy materials for animal studies

  • Coordinate collaborative projects with other laboratories

  • Conduct in vitro/in vivo studies of novel vaccine/immunotherapy materials with support from lab technicians

  • Identify methodological problems in research protocols and assist in implementing modifications to optimize experimental results.

  • Discuss work with principal investigator and the rest of the team. Provide substantive intellectual input to experimental design and/or research directions.

  • Participate in teams across different disciplines. Disseminate new protocols and acquired expertise, and in turn, benefit from the expertise of others.


  • PhD in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, Immunology or related area

  • A minimum of one year of postdoctoral work experience in these fields

    • Experience with fields related to immunology are preferred but not required

  • Excellent organizational skills

  • Meticulous attention to detail

  • Excellent communication skills (verbal and written), as well as strong interpersonal skills

  • Ability to work independently, as well as part of a team

  • Demonstrated commitment to exceeding quality standards and providing exceptional services

  • Practiced documentation, record-keeping skills

  • Commitment to producing accurate and high-quality work

  • Knowledge of standard laboratory procedures/protocols is required, as well as a commitment to following safety procedures to maintain a safe work environment

Physical Requirements

Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods of time; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about workspace. The position requires mobility, including the ability to move materials weighing up to several pounds (such as a laptop computer or tablet). Work may involve possible exposure to malodorous vapors, low dose radiation, contamination by toxic chemicals and acids and presence of carcinogenic substances.

Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this position with reasonable accommodation. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Please Note:

This job description sets forth the job’s principal duties, responsibilities, and requirements; it should not be construed as an exhaustive statement, however.  Unless they begin with the word “may,” the Essential Duties and Responsibilities described above are “essential functions” of the job, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: R-298