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Research Specialist A, Penn Biology

University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, United States
Salary Not specified
Date posted
May 20, 2024

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Position Type
Administrative, Academic Affairs, Research Administration
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Job Details

Research Specialist A, Penn Biology

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Large Employers in 2023.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title
Research Specialist A, Penn Biology

Job Profile Title
Research Specialist A

Job Description Summary
The Schmidt Laboratory wishes to hire a Research Specialist A who can interface with both biologists and engineers in the project to assist with tasks from aviary maintenance to data collection and analysis.

Job Description

In the Department of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, we are building upon our internationally recognized research and education program to meet the goals of preparing students and discovering knowledge. Our department includes all basic biological sciences including ecology and evolution, plant sciences, molecular and cellular biology, genomics, quantitative biology, and neuroscience. We value interdisciplinary collaboration and collegiality, and strive to integrate biology across scales, from molecules to social assemblies; across technologies, from nanoengineering to robotic vision; and across approaches, from laboratory experiments to data modeling; to transcend the traditional boundaries of biological studies.

The Schmidt laboratory studies behavioral dynamics in a social songbird. In a collaboration with several engineering labs, they have established a large outdoor “smart” aviary where they plan to track moment-to-moment behavior in each individual in the group over the entire breeding season. The Schmidt Laboratory is interested in the neural mechanisms that underlie courtship display. Much of our current work is focused on studying vocal and non-vocal displays in the brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater), a highly gregarious species whose complex social structure is necessary for group cohesion, mating and reproductive success. The work in the laboratory ranges from neural circuits level experiments to computational-based approaches for tracking group behavior.

Job Description

The Schmidt Laboratory wishes to hire a person who can interface with both biologists and engineers in the project to assist with tasks from aviary maintenance to data collection and analysis. This person would be involved in animal care as well as helping to develop technologies to record the neural activity in these animals. Other regular tasks would include making sure the laboratory is in regulatory compliance with required protocols, ensuring lab is properly stocked with necessary items, and assisting with the oversight of undergraduate research assistants. This position will work closely with senior researchers and the Primary Investigator to achieve agreed upon research and development goals.

  • Bachelor's Degree, preferable in biology, with 0-1 years of experience in a research setting or equivalent education and experience is required.
  • The ideal candidate will have experience with computer programming and basic electronics.
  • The ideal candidate will also be comfortable and familiar with working with birds and have a strong background in avian behavior..
  • A background in acoustics is a plus.

Working Conditions
Laboratory; Requires extensive safety training; Exposure to chemicals

Physical Effort
Typically sitting at a desk or table; Occasional lifting 25 lb. or less; Intermittently sitting/standing/stooping; Using tools requiring high dexterity.

This position is a grant funded one-year term appointment.

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
School of Arts and Sciences

Pay Range
$36,368.00 - $44,000.00 Annual Rate
Salary offers are made based on the candidate's qualifications, experience, skills, and education as they directly relate to the requirements of the position, as well as internal and market factors and grade profile.

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits
  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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