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Research Assistant

Northern Arizona University
Arizona, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Feb 2, 2023

Research Assistant

Location: School of Forestry
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Job ID: 606954
Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Workplace Culture

NAU aims to be the nation's preeminent engine of opportunity, vehicle of economic mobility, and driver of social impact by delivering equitable postsecondary value in Arizona and beyond.

Special Information

  • This position is subject to the availability of funding. The incumbent is not eligible for Service Professional non-renewal notice, or Classified Staff layoff or recall status.
  • This position is an on-site position which requires the incumbent to complete their work primarily at an NAU site, campus, or facility with or without accommodation. Opportunities for remote work are rare.
  • Per grant requirement selected candidate must be willing and able to:
    • Pass a Department of Justice Select Agent Program Security Risk Assessment.
    • Participate in occupational health monitoring required by Northern Arizona University.

Job Description

The School of Forestry and Pathogen and Microbiome Institute (PMI) at Northern Arizona University seeks a Research Assistant to perform basic and applied research largely focused on vertebrate and pathogen genetics. This will be a position in Dr. Faith Walker's lab ( with emphasis on the Species from Feces program ( A Research Assistant 1) undertakes standardized research assignments involving detailed and controlled research and laboratory procedures related to species detection using genetic tools, 2) conducts a variety of standardized procedures, such as extracting and PCR-amplifying DNA, preparing reagents, and operating standard laboratory equipment of moderate complexity, and 3) records data and provides analyses, interpretation, and troubleshooting of protocol issues. The top candidates for this position should be highly motivated and have genetics experience.

Lab Work - 75%
  • DNA extraction from diverse sample types.
  • DNA metabarcoding.
  • PCR/qPCR sample screening.
  • Sanger sequencing.
  • Next-Generation library preparations.
  • Working under BSL2 conditions.
  • Working in a team-based environment.
  • Working safely with potentially hazardous materials, such as laboratory chemicals and disease-causing organisms.

Sample organization and tracking - 10%
  • Freezer organization, spreadsheet tracking, working with R scripts.

Data Analysis - 5%
  • Statistical analysis.
  • Preparation of figures.

Mentoring - 5%
  • Mentoring undergraduate students in genetic techniques.

Other - 5%

  • Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in Biology or related field.
  • 2-4 years of research support experience.
  • A combination of related education, experience, and training may be used as an equivalent to the above Minimum Requirements.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master's degree.
  • Experience with genetic techniques such as DNA extraction, PCR, qPCR, Sanger sequencing, library preparation for next-generation sequencing, DNA metabarcoding, and target enrichment.
  • Experience with Microsoft Access.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills.
  • Experience mentoring undergraduate students in lab techniques.
  • Experience with data entry and analysis.
  • Experience with laboratory safety and the ability to safely handle hazardous materials (laboratory chemicals and biohazardous materials).

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities

  • Knowledge of the principles and techniques used in molecular genetic analysis.

  • Intermediate technical understanding and proficiency related to conducting relevant research procedures.

  • Ability to work safely with hazardous chemicals and biohazardous materials.
  • Candidate must be well-organized, with an eye for detail.
  • Experience with analyzing and evaluating scientific data.
  • Ability to work successfully within a laboratory group.
  • Ability to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing.
  • Promotes a diverse, inclusive environment..

Background Information

This position has been identified as a safety/security sensitive position. Therefore, per AZ Revised Statute, Northern Arizona University requires satisfactory results for the following: a criminal background investigation, employment history investigation, degree verification (in some cases) and fingerprinting. If you are applying for a job that requires a CDL, you will be required to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse and adhere to the clearinghouse requirements. Additionally, as an employer in the state of Arizona, NAU is required to participate in the federal E-Verify program that assists employers with verifying new employees' right to work in the United States. Finally, each year Northern Arizona University releases an Annual Security Report. The report is a result of a federal law known as the Clery Act. The report includes Clery reportable crime statistics for the three most recent completed calendar years and discloses procedures, practices and programs NAU uses to keep students and employees safe including how to report crimes or other emergencies occurring on campus. In addition, the Fire Safety Report is combined with the Annual Security Report for the NAU Flagstaff Mountain Campus as this campus has on-campus student housing. This report discloses fire safety policies and procedures related to on-campus student housing and statistics for fires that occurred in those facilities. If you would like a free paper copy of the report, please contact the NAUPD Records Department at (928) 523-8884 or by visiting the department at 525 E. Pine Knoll Drive in Flagstaff.


Anticipated salary range is $47,634 to $59,542. Annual salary commensurate with candidate's qualifications and related experience.

FLSA Status

This position is exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and therefore will not earn overtime or compensatory time for additional time worked.


This is a Classified Staff (CLS) position. NAU offers an excellent benefit package including generous health, dental and vision insurance; participation in the Arizona State Retirement System; paid vacation and 10 holidays per year; and tuition reduction for employees and qualified dependents. More information on benefits at NAU is available on the Human Resources benefits website. Classified Staff employees are in a probationary status for their first six months at NAU. NAU is a tobacco and smoke-free campus. Employees offered a position will be eligible for state health plans (including NAU's BCBS Plan). New employees are eligible for benefits on the first day of the pay period following their enrollment, after their employment date. Employees will have 31 days from their start date to enroll in benefits. Additionally, new employees will begin participating in the Arizona State Retirement System, and the long-term disability coverage that accompanies it, on the first of the pay period following 6 months after the new employee's start date.

Learning and Development

Your career at Northern Arizona University includes the opportunity for professional development. New employee on-boarding training includes courses to be completed within the first 30 days.

Immigration Suppt/Sponsorship

NAU will not provide any U.S. immigration support or sponsorship for this position.

Application Deadline

February 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, please click on the "Apply" button on this page. You must submit your application by clicking on the "Submit" button by midnight of the application deadline. If you need assistance completing your application there are instructions available on the Human Resources website or in person in the Human Resources Department located in Building 91 on the NAU Campus - on the corner of Beaver and DuPont Streets.

If you are an individual with a disability and need reasonable accommodation to participate in the hiring process, please contact the Disability Resources Office at 928-523-8773,, or PO Box 5633, Flagstaff AZ 86011.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Northern Arizona University is a committed Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. NAU is responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

Know Your Rights Poster and Supplements

NAU is an Employer of National Service. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other National Service alumni are encouraged to apply.

To apply, visit


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