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Research Associate/Staff Scientist

University of Oregon
Oregon, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted date
Nov 9, 2021

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Science, Technology & Mathematics, Biology & Life Sciences
Employment Level
Non-Tenured Track
Employment Type
Full Time
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Research Associate/Staff Scientist

Job no: 527813
Work type: Faculty - Pro Tempore
Location: Eugene, OR
Categories: Biology/Life Sciences, Research/Scientific/Grants

Department: Knight Campus
Rank: Research Associate
Annual Basis: 12 Month

Review of Applications Begins
November 1, 2021; position open until filled

Special Instructions to Applicants
Along with your online application, please upload a CV and cover letter.

Department Summary
The Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact is a billion-dollar initiative designed to fast-track scientific discoveries and the process of turning those discoveries into innovations that improve the quality of life for people in Oregon, the nation and beyond. The Knight Campus will reshape the higher education landscape in Oregon by training the next generations of scientists, forging tighter ties with industry and entrepreneurs and creating new educational opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students.

Position Summary
The Plesa research lab is seeking an experienced research associate / staff scientist to focus on the development of novel gene synthesis methods for building large gene libraries as well as novel methods for characterizing and engineering proteins at scale. Candidates interested in entrepreneurial opportunities are encouraged to apply.

Our lab aims to accelerate the pace at which we understand and engineer biological systems, particularly proteins. We are interested in uncovering the rules for the engineering of novel protein function, particularly in the areas of sensing and interfacing with engineering. Towards this end, we develop new technologies for gene synthesis, multiplex functional assays, in-vivo mutagenesis, and genotype-phenotype linkages. These allow us to both access the huge sequence diversity present in natural systems as well as carry out testing of rationally designed hypotheses encoded onto DNA at much larger scales than previously possible. Using these approaches, we aim to quickly characterize and engineer entire protein families, rather than focusing on individual proteins. Our work is highly interdisciplinary and touches on aspects from many fields including bioengineering, protein engineering, biochemistry, synthetic biology, molecular biology, microbiology, structural biology, genetics, bioinformatics, and quantitative biology.

The research associate / staff scientist will be responsible for conducting research and technical activities related to sponsored projects in the lab, with a strong emphasis on technology development. Research work will include designing and optimizing new scalable gene synthesis methods to enable longer genes, higher yields, and lower cost. Other research work may include developing novel multiplex in-vivo assays and methods. Essential responsibilities will include designing and conducting experiments, interpreting data, writing manuscripts, writing research proposals, assembling and delivering research presentations locally and nationally, assisting and training other researchers in the laboratory, and maintaining laboratory equipment. This position will work closely with other lab researchers (students, postdocs, and technicians) and with Dr. Plesa. The position will be given a level of independence depending on the level of candidate experience.

Special Instructions to Applicants:
Please submit a cover letter, CV and contact information for three professional references.

Minimum Requirements
  • PhD in molecular biology, genomics, bioengineering, biochemistry, cellular biology, biophysics, physics, chemistry, chemical engineering or related disciplines.
  • Four years of relevant experience in academia or industry

    Professional Competencies
    Candidates should have strong skills in the following areas:
  • Molecular biology techniques (cloning, PCR, DNA extraction, gel electrophoresis)
  • Bacterial cell culture (E. coli)
  • Functional genomics
  • Python and R scientific programming languages for data analysis
  • Preparation of NGS libraries
  • Bioinformatic analysis of next-gen sequencing data
  • Excellent organizational, written, and verbal communication skills
  • Strong quantitative skills and a strong interest in developing new technologies to advance protein science.

    Preferred Qualifications
    Experience in some of the following areas:
  • Large-scale experimental approaches particularly multiplexed assays probing sequence-function relationships (deep mutational scanning, MPRAs, ...)
  • Sequence analysis (phylogenetic tree generation, multiple sequence alignment, BLAST, etc.)

    The University of Oregon is proud to offer a robust benefits package to eligible employees, including health insurance, retirement plans and paid time off. For more information about benefits, visit

    The University of Oregon is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the ADA. The University encourages all qualified individuals to apply, and does not discriminate on the basis of any protected status, including veteran and disability status. The University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities. To request an accommodation in connection with the application process, please contact us at or 541-346-5112.

    UO prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in all programs, activities and employment practices as required by Title IX, other applicable laws, and policies. Retaliation is prohibited by UO policy. Questions may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator, Office of Civil Rights Compliance, or to the Office for Civil Rights. Contact information, related policies, and complaint procedures are listed on the statement of non-discrimination.

    In compliance with federal law, the University of Oregon prepares an annual report on campus security and fire safety programs and services. The Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report is available online at

    To apply, visit

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