Research Specialist - Quantitative Genomics

Research Specialist - Quantitative Genomics

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Ashburn, VA, United States

Job Description

HHMI's Janelia Research Campus is a pioneering research center near Washington, D.C., where scientists from many disciplines develop and use emerging and innovative technologies to pursue science's most challenging problems. In particular, Janelia is focused on technologies for biological imaging and understanding neural circuits. Established in 2006, Janelia was modeled after institutes like Bell Labs, with small groups collaborating on high-risk, high-reward, innovative science.


The Quantitative Genomics Shared Resource department has an immediate opening for a talented Drosophila biologist with experience in tissue microdissection, cell isolation, and next-generation sequencing (NGS) library preparation methods for Illumina platforms. The Quantitative Genomics team provides a complete sample to sequence service for the campus that includes rare cell isolation from complex tissues, library preparation and sequencing, and new protocol development such as methods for single-cell transcriptome profiling.


The ideal candidate for this position has a minimum of three years’ experience with Drosophila biology (genetics and husbandry), demonstrated mastery of tissue dissection and cell isolation from model organisms, extreme focus at the bench working with challenging and precious samples, excellent recordkeeping habits, and a willingness to collaborate with others.  Experience with neurobiology and NGS is strongly preferred.


The primary focus of this position is to collect specific populations of neurons in Drosophila for transcriptional profiling, and includes the responsibility for ensuring the success and timeliness of the fly research program.  This position will also contribute to neuron isolation in our vertebrate research program.


Principal Responsibilities:

  • Maintenance of fly stocks with many different genotypes.
  • Scheduling and performing fly crosses to ensure the proper age and developmental time point.
  • Dissection of fly nervous system (brain, VNC) from larvae and adult flies.
  • Compare fluorescently labelled cell patterns to expected result from prior imaging experiments to confirm cell identities.
  • Prepare cell suspensions from digested nervous system tissues and isolate fluorescently labeled cells of interest.
  • Nucleic acid isolation, quantification, and quality assessment of collected samples.
  • Sample and library preparation for multiple NGS-based analysis protocols (ex. RNA-seq, ATAC-seq).
  • Maintain database of sample collection and processing steps from flies to fastqs.
  • Regularly update our partner labs with progress, issues, and results.

Required Skills

  • Daily use of fine motor skills to pipette and manipulate small objects.
  • Perform complex motor tasks with speed and precision.
  • Focus attention on a repetitive task for extended periods.
  • Regularly sits for up to three hours at a microscope.
  • Safely and accurately perform laboratory bench work.
  • Strong interest in research subjects.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Keep accurate and organized records.
  • Regularly reaches and grasps with arms and hands.
  • Long periods of standing and/or sitting.

Required Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in the life sciences is required, MS or PhD preferred.
  • At least 3 years of laboratory experience working with Drosophila.
  • Ability to score genotypes based on observed phenotypes (ex. balancer chromosomes CyO, TM6B), determine fly sex, collect virgin females, and determine developmental stage.
  • At least 1 years’ demonstrated capability with next-generation sequencing (NGS) methods is strongly preferred (ex. library prep, instrument operation).
  • Familiarity with NGS data analysis methods is preferred.
  • Experience with RNA isolation is required.
  • Demonstrated ability working with small sample volumes in glass capillary pipettes is strongly preferred.


HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)-hhmi-881-908