Synthetic Genomics – Genome Engineering Research Assistant (Harvard Medical School)

Harvard Medical School

Boston , MA

ID: 7086674
Posted: October 6, 2021
Application Deadline: December 5, 2021

Job Description

The laboratory of George M. Church at Harvard Medical School ( is engineering fundamental cellular processes to repurpose cells’ biosynthetic capabilities to create new repertoires of molecules and functions that subserve human utility. Specifically, we are constructing a radically modified bacterial genome that relies only on 57 genetic codons and will allow viral resistance, escape-free biocontainment, and the production of proteins with new-to-nature building blocks. We are looking for one Research Assistant to join our team and contribute to this research.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

This is a full-time, hands-on research position working alongside a postdoctoral researcher. The candidate, under supervision, will perform bacterial genome editing and directed evolution experiments, PCR screening, and analyze results. The candidate will prepare samples, perform next-generation sequencing on both Illumina and Nanopore platforms and analyze results. The candidate will be responsible for the genetic manipulations of E. coli strains, perform cell culture, DNA extraction, and cloning. The position will require the use of standard microbiology techniques and the development of new experimental methods, so understanding the underlying fundamental microbiological and molecular biology principles is required.

This position offers a unique opportunity to play a critical role in developing new bacterial genome engineering, directed evolution, and genome-synthesis tools while working within the laboratory of George M. Church and learning cutting-edge technologies such as bacterial genome assembly, CRISPR, MAGE, DIvERGE, functional metagenomics, and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). The position will involve extensive molecular biology, microbiology (phage and bacterial), as well as NGS techniques. This position is ideal for highly organized, motivated, and hard-working individuals seeking to launch their careers as future scientists in academia or industry.

Basic Qualifications

At least one year of related work experience in a molecular biology laboratory (relevant coursework may count towards experience).

Additional Qualifications and Skills

BS degree in biology, biochemistry, biomedical science, or related field preferred; directly related work experience may substitute. Highly independent and result-oriented, able to efficiently execute experiments in a dynamic environment and critically evaluate experimental results. Enthusiasm for learning and developing new skills and expertise. Hardworking, able to cooperate with a team of researchers. Strong written and verbal communication skills. Organized and able to maintain precise records of work electronically. The candidate must have prior experience in wet-lab microbiology and molecular biology techniques. Essential skills include genetic manipulation of E. coli, such as DNA transformation, plasmid extraction, PCR, and cloning. Candidates having experience with bacteriophages, Next Generation Sequencing (Illumina, Oxford Nanopore), and sequence analysis software (i.e., Breseq, Geneious), as well as familiarity with programming languages (R and Python), will be viewed favorably. Preference will be given to candidates that can commit for two years.

Additional Information

This is a one-year term position from date of hire with possibility of extension, contingent on work performance and continued funding to support the position.

Harvard will require COVID vaccination for all Harvard community members who will have any on-campus presence. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. More information regarding the University’s COVID vaccination requirement and exceptions may be found at the University’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” webpage:

Please note that we are currently conducting a majority of interviews and onboarding remotely and virtually. We appreciate your understanding.

We are committed to cultivating an inclusive workplace culture of faculty, staff, and students with diverse backgrounds, styles, abilities, and motivations. We appreciate and leverage the capabilities, insights, and ideas of all individuals. Harvard Medical School Mission and Community Values

Harvard University offers an outstanding benefits package including:

Time Off: 3 – 4 weeks paid vacation, paid holiday break, 12 paid sick days, 12.5 paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days per year.
Medical/Dental/Vision: We offer a variety of excellent medical plans, dental & vision plans, all coverage begins as of your start date.
Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service.
Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive tuition assistance program, incredibly affordable classes directly at the Harvard Extension School, and discounted options through participating Harvard grad schools.
Transportation: Harvard offers a 50% discounted MBTA pass as well as additional options to assist employees in their daily commute.
Wellness options: Harvard offers programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, massages, nutrition, meditation, and complementary health services.

Harvard access to athletic facilities, libraries, campus events, and many discounts throughout metro Boston.

The Harvard Medical School is not able to provide visa sponsorship for this position.

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Tagged as: Chemistry, Life Sciences, Genetics, Genome engineering, Synthetic biology