University of Wisconsin - Madison

Position Vacancy Listing

PVL # 227894

Position Summary:
The Associate Research Specialist position will work with the Principal Investigator in Cancer Biology and Biomarkers in the UW Laboratory of Josh Lang, M.D. at the UW Carbone Cancer Center, as part of the Circulating Biomarker Core (CBC). The focus of the CBC is to provide sample processing and analysis services to members of the UW Cancer Center, as well as the wider non-UW research community, in-line with the development and clinical translation of biomarkers from liquid biospecimens that can predict or detect therapeutic resistance in patients with cancer. Circulating biomarkers are evaluated on clinical specimens, primarily patient blood, through a series of complex sample processing steps, including ficoll density centrifugation, magnetic depletion of normal blood cells using standard MACS columns, magnetic enrichment and protein staining or nucleic acid (DNA/mRNA) extraction of metastatic tumor cells using microfluidic technologies. Analytical systems include fluorescence microscopy, raw image conversion into quantitative data using both automated image processing algorithms and manual review of identified cells, gene expression analysis, and DNA sequencing among others. With the ultimate goal of achieving clinical implementation of these circulating biomarker diagnostics, the CBC is also actively developing systems that demonstrate and enable routine daily monitoring of the performance of the methodologies per regulatory agency requirements. Our team of highly cooperative research specialists coordinate the receipt, processing and analysis of 10-20 patient samples each week, testing a number of different protein and nucleic acid biomarkers, for different projects involving basic research and clinical trials.

The School of Medicine and Public Health has a deep and profound commitment to diversity both as an end in itself but also as a valuable means for eliminating health disparities. As such, we strongly encourage applications from candidates who foster and promote the values of diversity and inclusion.

Principal duties:
1) 70% - The main responsibilities of the research specialist position are to process patient samples and analyze results from multiple different biomarker tests. This work will involve laboratory techniques such as cell culture, fluorescence microscopy, image analysis and RT-qPCR. These studies include processing of human and animal samples, including blood and tissue. Training will be provided for these techniques; however, previous experience with these laboratory techniques is desired.

2) 20%- Additional activities will include the development of new methods, and new systems to characterize and monitor the performance of those methods. These activities will include experimental design, execution, data analysis, figure generation, and writing methods and results for manuscript sections. Project progress will be discussed weekly during one-on-one meetings with the supervisor, and quarterly during presentations at lab meeting.

3) 5%-Assist in the daily maintenance of the laboratory including, but not limited to, preparing reagents/solutions, ordering, autoclaving waste and database maintenance.

4) 5%-Research specialists also participate in a weekly journal club, where they select and guide a lab-wide discussion about a research article that has recently been published that is related to their work.

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